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Harpo Speaks...About New York

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Long before vaudeville, Broadway, and the silver screen, Harpo Marx had triumphed on the greatest stage of all: New York City. For a kid on the streets in 1902, every day demanded wit and improvisation. Beyond the door of the tenement at 179 East 93rd Street lay rival gangs, lucky breaks, failed hustles. While his mother, Minnie, was occupied elsewhere—planning her unruly ...more
Hardcover, 58 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Little Bookroom
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Tony
Oct 31, 2011 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
HARPO SPEAKS...ABOUT NEW YORK. (2000). Harpo Marx and Rowland Barber, with an introduction by E. L. Doctrow. ***.
This is really a bogus book. It is an extract by Harpo’s book, “Harpo Speaks,” published in 1961. Maybe it’s because the original is so hard to find, or for a reason I haven’t figured out yet, this small publishing company put this together and – voila! – put a book on the stand. Doctorow’s introduction adds nothing special. After we read it we know that he likes the Marx brothers. W
...more
Michele Hush
Jun 19, 2014 Michele Hush rated it really liked it
Although this book is brief — 55 pages — it holds a ton of enjoyment. Harpo's memories of growing up poor on the streets of New York City at the end of the 1800s and the early days of the 1900s are vivid and unforgettable. I got it from my local library on the recommendation of a friend. Ask for it.
Joyce
A gem! Funny and concise. Summary: Long before vaudeville, Broadway, and the silver screen, Harpo Marx had triumphed on the greatest stage of all: New York City. For a kid on the streets in 1902, every day demanded wit and improvisation. Beyond the door of the tenement at 179 East 93rd Street lay rival gangs, lucky breaks, failed hustles. While his mother, Minnie, was occupied elsewhere--planning her unruly brood's ultimate destiny--Harpo roamed the streets doing what any self-respecting second- ...more
Autumn
May 04, 2015 Autumn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
This was a quick and engrossing read. I couldn't put it down. I saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt what life was like in that time period for a little Jewish boy in New York. The only downfall to it was that it was so short. I wanted to learn more about his life. Time to check out other books.
Suzanne
Feb 21, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book and savoured each page of it. It was well written and a quick read.

If you are interested about New York in the early 1900's you probably would enjoy this short read about the times of young man growing up poor but who was making life an adventure no less.

I would have also loved it to have gone on to the size of a normal book at least.

Diane
Sep 14, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I have always liked reading about actors, especially funny ones (actors, I mean, not books). Their lives outside out of their movies are so much more interesting!

I most especially liked Harpo's "Rules of the House" that he listed in the book.
Michael
Sep 14, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
I didn't realize that this was pretty much a chopped up version of Harpo Speaks, where it just talked about New York. I can't bitch about that because Speaks is one of my favorite books. I just wish it was just more.
Kitty Myers
Jul 30, 2012 Kitty Myers rated it it was amazing
At 55 pages, this memoir was pure enjoyment. An absolute gem!
George Huner
Aug 30, 2010 George Huner rated it really liked it
Short but sweet.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
A real life "Ragged Dick" story that takes you to a NY that has vanished.
Britt, Book Habitue
Jan 08, 2015 Britt, Book Habitue rated it liked it
It feels pretty generous calling this a book, when really it's just a portion of the full memoir, but I did enjoy it. Sadly it's the closest my library has to the full Harpo Speaks.

I LOVE the Marx Brothers and this was an interesting snippet of what their life (specifically Harpo, of course) was like as children.
Angela
Mar 09, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
While not a big fan of the Marx brothers, their early life if very interesting. This book is really just a short essay on living in NYC at the turn of the century from the Jewish immigrant perspective.
Joey
Dec 11, 2009 Joey is currently reading it
Great read about one of the most talented funny men in show biz. I wouldn't want to be reading anything else at this time right now, it's helping me get through the rough patches. I wish the would come out with an audio version so my 96 year old grandmother could listen too it.
Meg
Sep 24, 2015 Meg rated it it was amazing
A lovely, super-short (read in one hour) slice-of-life portrait of growing up in the poor ethnic neighborhoods of upper NYC at the turn of the last century.
Susan
Sep 16, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
Very short and funny and poignant.
Siany
Sep 08, 2007 Siany rated it really liked it
It's hard to imagine Harpo with a voice!
Lea
Jun 14, 2014 Lea rated it it was ok
It was really interesting and had me running to my computer to research 1890s New York City, but it was way too short. Isn't there a longer autobiography?
Siobhan
Nov 12, 2007 Siobhan rated it really liked it
Just read "Harpo Speaks". This is excerpts.
Frodis
Jan 30, 2017 Frodis rated it it was amazing
Nice little travel book. Basically a snapshot from Harpo Speaks but it was small enough to take to the laundromat.
Miriam Baker
Miriam Baker rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2013
Mingus
Mingus rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2012
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Mar 17, 2009
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Phil Vasquez
Phil Vasquez rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2013
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Pam rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2012
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Jun 25, 2008
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Dec 04, 2015
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Jul 29, 2014
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Marla Smith rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2008
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