Saturday, June 11, 2016

Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis

genre: adult fiction

When Dennis becomes an orphan at the age of 10, he is shuttled off to the New York City apartment of his, shall we say, eclectic Auntie Mame. Auntie Mame is not your typical auntie. She is dramatic and impulsive and bordering on wacko. She puts on personas like outfits depending upon her goals and on the needs of the time. While she doesn't make Dennis's life easy, she certainly keeps it interesting. As Dennis grows up under her watchful eye, she is constantly getting caught up in ridiculous schemes that always involve Dennis in one way or another.

This book! I didn't know anything about it when I bought it on sale so with my fresh eyes I must say I was a little startled by how forward thinking Auntie Mame is. I loved how she stood up for the downtrodden (the LGBT community, prostitutes, refugees, Jews - really, all those who can be scapegoated) even if her defense wasn't in the most conventional manner. I can imagine that it was rather shocking back when it was written, as it pokes fun at so many different kinds of people and parts are a bit racy.  The writing is witty with occasionally hilarious slapstick-type humor but sometimes it was too much for me - Auntie Mame was too much. Obviously she's supposed to feel like a caricature but it made it harder to loose myself in the story at different points. The narrative style is very clever, with Patrick our author himself telling the story and comparing his Auntie Mame to a far more traditional type do-gooder.  Watching Mame turn from a southern belle to an Irish writer to an Indian maiden really did keep the plot moving along as her antics and charm help her weasel her way through all kinds of mishaps.  While I was ready to be done by the end, it was definitely a unique story.

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