Book Review : Memoirs of a Mangy Lover

Let me start by declaring my admiration for the one and only Julius Henry ‘Groucho’ Marx. I’m a huge fan of Marx Brother’s films. Groucho has always been my favorite. I consider him to be one of the three greatest comedians to ever live (the others being John Cleese and Robin Williams).

His humor in films and on tv (You Bet Your Life especially) is a low-key barrage of cutting edge insults sprinkled with just enough self-deprecation to make it genius. It is rare to find someone who knows how to be rude, petty and ribald without being crass. Groucho was the master.

Sadly, this genius does not translate to print.

I wanted to like this book but it didn’t work for me. It has its moments but nothing left me laughing aloud or wanting to repeat it. It’s just okay at best.

The other part about the book that was difficult to deal with was the delivery of some of his humor. The time period and sensibilities were different back then. That rare quality on film where Groucho avoids being crass and truly offensive can’t be hidden by the printed page. There are too many times the subject matter is inappropriate for our culture today. Some things that should not be said, are said.

I really can’t recommend this book to anyone but Groucho’s most diehard fans who just want to experience it. There is some insight into his family and brothers but that’s about all. 2 stars.

ALLEN M WERNER is the author of the epic fantasy series The Crystal Crux

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