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Book Name: Groucho And Me

Author: Groucho Marx

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Overall Rating: (4.13/5) View all reviews (total 8 reviews)
Description

The one, the only Groucho here offers his own life story, which, of course, includes his famous brothers (LJ 10/15/58). Though filled with laughs throughout, the book reveals the struggle of the Marxes to break from the poverty of New York's East Side to achieve success and stardom. A good companion to last year's reprint of The Groucho Letters (Classic Returns, LJCopyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Reviews

Ersatz Groucho is just as funny

by Andrew McCaffrey
(4/5)

GROUCHO AND ME is the autobiography of Groucho Marx -- sort of. The book is certainly written by Groucho, contains his inimitable style and sense of humor, and does tell a few stories about his life. But anyone looking for any sort of detail surrounding Groucho's life would be well advised to try someplace else.But instead of criticizing the book for what it isn't, I'd rather spend this review talking about what it does well. Groucho is an engaging and hilarious writer. He admits right at the very beginning that most of the stories and anecdotes may not be entirely accurate. To publish a truthful and precise account is something that he says he would not be comfortable doing unless he was dead. Since a live Groucho writes infinitely better than a dead Groucho, we are left with this "pure ersatz Groucho", as he calls it. And to be honest, the lack of detail doesn't particularly hurt the book. Without having to deal with all the messiness that reality brings, Groucho is able to jump into all sorts of hilarious stories and asides. Marx is much more interested in telling a funny story than he is about historical accuracy, and I certainly can't complain, given how amused I was by his hilarious lunacy.Groucho tells a lot of stories and he tells them well. Telling a linear autobiography is not one of his priorities, as he bounces between decades with as much enthusiasm as Harpo chasing after a particularly beautiful blonde. His stories range from the time that he wrote the book (1959) back to his childhood in New York. The stories are occasionally tender, but most of the time they are just very funny. Groucho tells an anecdote in such a way that not only is the punch line funny, but so are most of the lines leading up to it. His family appears in many of his more memorable stories, not just his famous brothers, but also his young daughter, Melinda. Much of his career is made mention of, from his later success at radio and television to his earlier triumphs in vaudeville.If you're looking for a fun autobiography, then you could do much worse than reading GROUCHO AND ME. Even if you go into the book expecting a frank and intimate life-story, you'll more than likely be won over by Groucho's hilarious writing style. It's a fun and random journey through a life not totally dissimilar to Groucho's own, and one that more than makes up for in entertainment what it may lack in authenticity.


They held a gun to his head

by Anibal Lopes
(3/5)

I am sure Groucho regretted agreeing to writing the book as soon as he got his first advance and his editor kept asking for some proofs and chapters. This was obvious throughout. But he managed to provide some entertainment, and did regale us with tales of woe and hilarity, spiced with insight. His failed investments after the Depression, the funeral of Harpo, stupidity at customs, insomnia, and the utter ridiculousness of him trying to write this memoir actually wound up making for a good read, made less painful because of its brevity. I've always been a Groucho fan because of his irreverance- a trait I "inherited" from him, much to the chagrin of my employers.


How Not To Write Your Memoir - And Get Away With It

by Bill Slocum
(4/5)

In an age of the obligatory celebrity confessional, it's gratifying to read one famous person's autobiography that doesn't try telling you what a warm and sensitive person the spotlight missed all those years. Yes, the mustache was painted on, but the rest of Groucho Marx was what you saw and heard."Groucho And Me" (1959) suggests a kind of duality that the book itself never delivers on, unless he meant the guy who was commissioned to write his life story and the other guy who filled it with wisecracks and random observations instead. Told he has to be up at five in the morning to catch a fish, Groucho asks: "How do they know when it's five in the morning?" Reading an article about himself in a scandal sheet, he writes the magazine: "If you continue to write nasty pieces about me, I shall be obliged to cancel my subscription."That latter one appears on the same page of my edition as his famous remark about not wanting to belong to a country club that would have him as a member. Though I was disappointed about 50 pages in when I realized this wasn't a memoir as much as a 300-page stand-up act by a guy sitting at his typewriter, the feeling turned more positive as I began making the connection to the famous voice, the wag of his cigar, the Brooklyn-ese accent (though born on the Upper East Side). This is the essence of Groucho. Any purer and they'd be mining this for his DNA.From his early days in regional vaudeville to the movies with his brothers through to his television game show "You Bet Your Life", Groucho was a full-time entertainer. "Groucho And Me" is more concerned with telling you about his various cars and assorted escapades with the opposite sex. Harpo, Chico, and the others get their cameos, but there's little light shed on the Marx Brothers' career, other than the big break when their "I'll Say She Is" made it to Broadway. Even there, Groucho spends most of his time telling about the time he got caught in traffic during intermission trying out his new car dressed as Napoleon. It's a funny story, though.That became a familiar feeling for me reading the book. The more I wanted Groucho to tell me something that really happened, the more I enjoyed his earnest, stubborn refusal to do so. Whether it was dubbing every person who crossed him with the legally-safe surname "Delaney" or changing the subject whenever it got too near any of his marriages, he keeps you enjoying the misdirection with his eloquent, left-field patter.Some interesting observations do pop up. When it comes to entertainers, he claims, no one enjoys another entertainer's success: "It is very disconcerting for a comic to sit in a dressing room and listen to another comedian kill the audience with laughter." His favorite comedian of the time of the book's writing was Red Skelton. And he thought the best two Marx Brothers films were "A Night At The Opera" and "A Day At The Races". Over "Duck Soup" and "Animal Crackers"?Yes, the jokes wear a little after a while, but you try keeping that sort of thing up for 340 pages. With Groucho, it really does seem to come naturally. That makes "Groucho And Me" autobiographical enough for me.


Groucho's life

by BRODY
(5/5)

Funny and entertaining book of Groucho's life, some nice pictures of him and his brothers . I enjoyed reading years ago, and now bought it again .


Groucho & Me: A Funny Book About A Funny Man

by Cody Carlson
(5/5)

Groucho Marx has to be one of the greatest comedians of the twentith century, and sadly, many people of my generation, (I'm 23,) couldn't even tell you who he was. In 'Groucho & Me,' written at the height of his fame as M.C. of 'You Bet Your Life,' Groucho tells his life story with wit, charm and sometimes, real human tenderness. Whether it's the story of he and Harpo arriving at a wedding shower naked, or how Irving Thalberg saved the Marx Brother's careers, this is a wonderful journey through the life and times of Groucho Marx. If you enjoy this book you might want to read the play 'Groucho: A Life In Revue' by Arthur Marx & Robert Fisher.


Groucho is unwilling to reveal his later life honestly

by Jack Of Alltrades "Just another soul"
(2/5)

If you can ignore the tired witticisms, the writing isn't bad. Although he tells much about his early life struggle with poverty and vaudeville, Groucho is unwilling to reveal his later life honestly and so the last third of the book descends into funny stories and a comic routine, which really is neither funny nor autobiography. For a real honest autobiography, read Ragman's Son by Kirk Douglas.


Groucho's own voice

by R. J. Marsella
(5/5)

This "autobiography" is largely anecdotal and is far from a scholarly study of the Marx bros. and their contribution to American cultural history. That said it is a rare opportunity to "hear" Groucho tell some hysterically funny stories and voice his opinions on a variety of subjects in the process. It is valuable as a document regarding the vaudeville years and the early days of Hollywood. So if spending a few evenings reading Groucho's musings isn't enough incentive there is something to be learned here as well. Groucho's writing style is very much like his public personna and he always goes for the laugh in every circumstance. After reading this I visited my local video store to rent some Marx Bros. films. The young lady behind the counter didn't know who the MArx Bros. were !! Either I'm getting really old or she should find a different line of work.


Is being funny enough?

by Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman"
(5/5)

As a number of other Amazon reviewers have pointed out this is not a real autobiography. Groucho is not interested in telling the reader about his inner life and self, or about the character of his relations with others. What he does do is be Groucho, and tell in his own inimitable tone a lot of stories and anecdotes which continually crack up the reader. I remember as a child watching Groucho on ' This is Your Life' and I could not understand why he was making the same joke over and over again and laughing at George Fenniman, his announcer, and stooge. That is Groucho like Don Rickles later and maybe like comedians in general did a lot of insulting of others, low, cheap humor, getting a laugh at the expense of the 'fall guy'. This was of course very much a game and part of the show but it is something which personally has always made me a bit reserved about not only Groucho but about that particular kind of humor. On all accounts Groucho was as a ' real person' quite a grouch, a pretty miserable fellow to a lot of people including his three wives, and at some point also to two of his children. But he was also filled with life and energy, tremendously quick- minded, funny as hell, zany and crazy , a tremendous joy to watch or hear, and at times here, even read. He left the English language a whole group of ' remarks 'or 'wisecracks ' which promise to be with us for a long time to come'Even his cruelty in word seemed to have a playfulness about it as if he were a naughty little kid knowing always just how much he could get away with. Reading his autobiography one laughs and at the same time feels a certain sadness and empty. Joke after joke, wisecrack after wisecrack leads eventually to a kind of exhaustion and wondering if there is not more than this. Groucho is funny, one of the funniest but one wonders if that is enough in life except for a great comedian.


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