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Brewster's Millions

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  417 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Would you be able to spend a million dollars in cash and leave yourself penniless, if it meant you would then be given many more millions? That's poor Monty Brewster's dilemma in this charming 1903 tale which has been made into a movie six times, the most recent starring Richard Pryor and John Candy.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Indiana University Press (first published 1902)
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Todd Cannon
Feb 27, 2013 Todd Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I purchased this book for Free from It is one of the thousands of Public Domain books they offer in Kindle format.

I remember seeing the Movie Brewster's Million's starring Richard Pryor in the late 1980s. Lately I have been wanting to see it again and the search for the movie led to me discovering that it was based upon this book. It also led me to discover that there have been several movies based upon this book. The first one released in 1914.

As with most Book v. Movie comparisons,
Sep 18, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know, it's funny how we often forget how exceptional truly talented authors are. By that I mean those authors who can tell a story which is inventive, interesting, engaging, and timeless. All too often today, we get caught up with both what I call "series work", where the author continues developing a character through a series of novels (and expects you to continue to buy the series regardless of whether he/she is able to write well), or by novels that are sensational, yet only in the conte ...more
To say this is a bit of light reading would be an understatement. It is not just a comedy, it is a farce. Many people are familiar with the story because of the 1985 movie with Richard Pryor. Other than the concept, they are hardly recognizable as being related, and this is one of the few instances where the movie is better than the book. Actually there have been several movies and a stage play adapted from this book. The concept, you may recall, is that Brewster has inherited a million dollars ...more
Rob Slaven
May 11, 2015 Rob Slaven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book from a local bookshop after having seen the movie years ago. I’m glad I did.

On the positive side, the book is a great snapshot of life in the early 1900s. It’s filled with timely references to just how people spend their money and what a life of ease was like. It does require a few trips to the dictionary so be prepared for that. The story is easily readable in a long afternoon and keeps things quite entertaining. It also boasts a fun twist and the end and has a moral point
Aug 13, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1902, this story is familiar to many because of the 1985 movie starring Richard Pryor. There was at least one more movie based on this book in 1945 starring Dennis Okeefe. Both movies vary quite a bit from the book in several aspects, but the main theme stays true: young man must spend a huge amount of money (with several stipulations) in a short time in order to inherit a grand fortune. In the book, as New Yorker Brewster attempts to empty his bank account in the allotted tim ...more
Aug 25, 2012 L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since it was originally written in the early 1900s, I don't imagine too many people nowadays have read this book without having heard of it through the 1985 Richard Pryor movie adaptation. But if you enjoy the film, as I do, then I'd recommend the novel if you can find it.

About all I'll say in comparing the 2 versions is this: the one and only similarity is they both center around a man named Montgomery Brewster having to dispose of a certain sum of willed money within a specified time period, w
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
Apr 07, 2014 Bree (AnotherLookBook) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of P.G. Wodehouse
A novel about a man who is tasked with spending every penny of a million dollar inheritance within a year. 1903.

Full review (and recommendations!) at Another look book

I don't know why it took me so long to review this...Maybe it was just nice to have a review in reserves? I don't know! But I DO know that this was a really solid, enjoyable read. I'd recommend this one if you like the idea of an American P.G. Wodehouse, and a Wooster and a Jeeves all rolled up into one main character. Plus, after
Jun 22, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the inspiration for at least two late 20th century movies, I believe (Eddie Murphy starred in one). I actually prefer the book by a large margin. However, those reading the book need to remember the time period in which it takes place, which puts it in perspective.
Nov 15, 2016 Z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, librivox
First, a review of the narration, as this was a Librivox recording. Recognizing that narrators are volunteers, not professionals, this is meant to inform not criticize.

The narrator reads like a newscaster, which in the course of a novel, becomes artillery fire, words shooting out in rat-a-tat repetition. The story gets lost in the noise of the words, so like the news, short bursts are manageable.

On the plus side, the narrator has a clear, resonant voice, and excellent pronunciation. Most of th
Jim Ross
Nov 12, 2016 Jim Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Young people searching, finding, opening and closing doors with the celerity of a new-found millionaire urged to spend it all--for more, or an empty sack! The pace of this 1902-penned adventure, indeed, the robber-baron world that surrounds spins with remarkable speed considering the bumps it encounters along the way. A must read for all, young and young at heart.
Jun 10, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many others I'm aware of Mr. McCutcheon's work through the 1980's Richard Pryor movie of the same title. Let me assure you, the two are categorically different. The premise is similar, but that's about all. The characters, their make-up, the "bad guy" premise, the actual events. Basically everything is thoroughly different.

As much as I loved Richard Pryor's Brewster, Mr. McCutcheon's is better. I'm a fan of turn of the century humor (love the term "Capital!" for instance). But beyond that…I
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
I had no idea this was a book! My knowledge of it was limited entirely to the movie starring Richard Pryor. For those of you who have seen the movie, the basic plot is pretty much the same, however, pretty much everything else is pretty different. This probably comes as little surprise, if you know that the novel was published in 1902.

Brewster receives an inheritance of 1 million dollars and is, unsurprisingly, incredibly excited. Then, soon after, he learns that he is eligible for a secon
Gottfried Neuner
The classic American story of a young man who has to piss away a fortune to gain another one.
It has been made into movies multiple times, the most famous one being, most likely, the 1985 version with Richard Pryor. All the adaptions had the same basic plot, and here would be the original: Monty Brewster is a young man of limited means, working in a New York bank. He's not himself rich, but he has prospects. That is, by chapter 2 of the novel he doesn't have these prospects as his grandfather die
David Zerangue
Nov 28, 2014 David Zerangue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was able to get my hands on an original copy of this novel. It piqued my interest as I grew up in the '80s knowing Brewster's Millions as the movie starring Richard Pryor and John Candy. The movie is loosely based on the book. Anyway, I though I would give it a go as it is certainly from an era gone by. The read is not difficult, nor is it intellectually stimulating. Back in the day, it would probably be best described as a 'beach read'. It had a couple of moments of wit. It was certainly ligh ...more
I came into this book thinking it would be a fun, madcap story along the lines of PG Wodehouse. It was, albeit less well written. That wouldn't ordinarily be enough for me to give a book a one star rating, but the blatant, repeated and pretty horrific racism throughout the book was certainly enough to do the trick. This book doesn't even have the virtue of representing a novel or important lens on race at the time it was written. It's just casually classist, racist, sexist and overall pretty ter ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are very few people in the world today who read George Barr McCutcheon, but he was one of the most popular authors to come out of Indiana in his heyday. This edition had photos from a stage play based on this story, and there have been at least two motion pictures done.

His books are always a quick read (this took a week because it was the one I was reading at the shop, so I was only really reading a couple of days) and entertaining in a period sort of way. If you want your heroes "manly a
Andrew Garvey
Sep 24, 2014 Andrew Garvey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Obviously very different to the 1980s Richard Pryor film, the original book, written in 1902 is entertaining enough, in a very odd and slightly unsatisfactory way. With an abrupt ending and a cast of largely indistinguishable characters, some of which just disappear with little explanation, there's plenty of weaknesses but it is still a fun, light read with some very nice verbal exchanges.

Charged with spending $1 million in just under a year (clearly much, much harder than it sounds, especially
Cherie Davidson
Jan 13, 2013 Cherie Davidson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when I was 10 years old. I'd found it in an old, musty second hand store. I fell in love with the vocabulary and phrases of my grandparents' youth. The manners and social interactions of the time charmed me, and the whole idea of having to spend an exorbitant amount of money and have nothing to show for it, sent my imagination reeling!

This very charming book was written in a simpler time, about the good things in our human natures. How to be unselfish, that love is often s
Phil Syphe
“Brewster's Millions” is a story of one man’s challenge to spend a million dollars – plus all gained interest – within a year in order to inherit seven million dollars.

I like the idea behind this book but it lacks conflict. What conflict there is tends to get sorted out too quick and easily, especially during a deadly confrontation with some Arabs, which has potential for bringing the story to life, but instead the situation is resolved without much ado.

I like George Barr McCutcheon’s style in o
Apr 24, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read

Written in 1902, this tale has our young hero inheriting a million dollars from his Grandfather. He then finds that he's also inheriting 7 million dollars from his Uncle if he gets rid of every penny that he received from his Grandfather. Why? Because his Uncle hated the Grandfather and doesn't want even a penny of his to mingle with the old man's money. He gives Brewster one year to dispose of the money. This is tricky because his friends keep trying to save him money and the
Apr 13, 2015 Jlsimon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I was predisposed to like this book. I saw the movie when I was a kid. As always things aren't exactly like they were in the movie, they can't be. The book was written originally in 1902 and the movie I remember was not made until 1985. Obviously there were many changes and advancements in 83 years. Still the main plot is the same.

Young Brewster is trying to dispose of a million dollars without donating any of it, or acquiring assets with it. He finds it to be a harder challenge than he
May 03, 2016 Bryce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. The book starts off with the main character, Monty Brewster inheriting one million dollars from his grandfather. However he is also inheriting seven million dollars from his Uncle, but since his Uncle hated his grandfather he said that Monty will only inherit the seven million dollars if he spends all of the money (ever penny) that he received from his Grandfather in a year. This novel was set back in 1902, 1 million dollars is the same as $277,777 today. This ...more
Aug 18, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of us have seen the Richard Pryor movie based on this book. According to IMDB, there were several earlier movies based on it, including one in the '40s that I watched on Netflix a while back. Watching that one made me want to read the book. The basics are pretty much the same: Montgomery Brewster has to get rid of $1 Million dollars in roughly 1 year in order to get $7 Million. There are restrictions on how he can spend it, and he can't tell anyone. The '40s movie is closer to the book, but ...more
Dec 31, 2011 Lorene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Did you think Richard Pryor wrote the story? Wrong, but thanks for playing!! Written in 1902, it was a Broadway play but most of us would only know the story via the RP movie of the same name. It was fun to read it from its original time 110 years ago. The detail is a little over the top at times and some of the extravagances quite reasonable by today's standards, but it was fun to read this Christmas gift from Kyle a couple of years after receiving it. (I've been saving it for just the right ti ...more
Hal Johnson
The book starts off delightfully -- it manages to make the tortured, arbitrary nonsense premise we know from the movie into something that makes logical sense (or at least farce-sense), and it does so very wittily, in a gentle, Wodehousey way.

Unfortunately, the book loses steam during a lengthy "adventuresome" cruise, and the second half grows as tedious as one of Brewster's joyless dinner parties. Still, well worth reading for anyone who thought the premise was irredeemable, or likes turn-of-t
Jamie Fender
Dec 27, 2014 Jamie Fender rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just one of those books that the further you read, the funnier it gets. I truly miss the type of witty vocabulary used in entertainment of this era. This book is a real gem.

If you have seen the movie, do not use that as a guide for this book. The movie almost doesn't make sense and is quite far off the actual story. I guess for some reason Hollywood did not want to bother to portray the true genius of this story.
Aug 17, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O lectura placuta, chiar daca usoara. Richard Greaves are un simt al umorului particular si dovedeste ca, desi subiectul e usurel si poate chiar vodevilistic, il poate duce la capat cu succes, achitandu-de de sarcina extrem de onorabil.
Un roman care se citeste usor, dar care te tine conectat la aventurile tanarului Monty Brewster.
O fabula a inceputului de secol intr-o America a banului si a legaturilor ciudate de famile.
I think I actually spent 99 cents on this one, but it was close to free, and I remember seeing a movie version of this many years ago. The premise was interesting, and the main character is fun. It moved along at a brisk pace, and the love story was expected but still pleasant. The ending left a little to be desired, but it was a good weekend read, and definitely better than the 1980s movie version.
Naulayne Raiche Enders
The book is definitely better than the movie. Brewster, the main character, has to spend 1 million dollars in order to inherit a second inheritance of several million. I thought the main character did a good job of not imploding. I think it would be hard as you approach the end of spending extravagantly to continue spending when the natural inclination would be to save some for a rainy day or just in case.
Jul 11, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
* 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time in a single list.
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Brewster's Millions 1 1 May 12, 2016 05:49AM  
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George Barr McCutcheon was an American popular novelist and playwright. His best known works include the series of novels set in Graustark, a fictional East European country, and the novel Brewster's Millions, which was adapted into a play and several films.
More about George Barr McCutcheon...

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