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Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir
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Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,111 ratings  ·  503 reviews
In twelve months between 2007 and 2008, Christopher Buckley coped with the passing of his father, William F. Buckley, the father of the modern conservative movement, and his mother, Patricia Taylor Buckley, one of New York's most glamorous and colorful socialites. He was their only child and their relationship was close and complicated. Writes Buckley: "They were not - wit ...more
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Published May 6th 2009 by Twelve (first published April 22nd 2009)
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Christopher Buckley was the only son of the Messiah of Conservatism, William F. Buckley, and his wife, the style icon and socialite Pat Buckley. When he lost these two larger-than-life characters within a year of each other, he felt compelled to pen this short memoir of that painful year. I confess that I was no fan of either parent, but this memoir is actually quite lovely. Buckley writes of both of these difficult, complicated people with wry honesty, genuine affection, and a complete and (to ...more
Jocelynne Broderick
I consider myself a very smart person, and this book was full of words even *I* didn't know! Sheesh! Talk about writing for the common folk. Seriously, if I Post-it flagged every word to look up, this would look like a freakin divorce decree with all the "sign-here"s. Also, this bonehead goes right into the story ASSUMING we know who his "famous" parents are. He never says. What he does do though is list the famous people his parents hung around with. So what? He's all "I don't want to be a name ...more

“I looked at Mum and realized -- twang! -- that she was telling an untruth. A big untruth. And I remember thinking in that instant how thrilling and grown-up it must be to say something so completely untrue, as opposed to the little amateur fibs I was already practiced at -- horrid little apprentice sinner that I was --like the ones about you'd already said your prayers or washed under the fingernails. Yes, I was impressed."
― Christopher Buckley, Losing Mum and Pup

The imag
Christopher Buckley's bittersweet memoir of his final year with his stylish mother and famously conservative father lends a human scale to a couple that so often appeared larger than life. Personally, I was never particularly enamoured of William F. Buckley, Jr.'s politics or even his books, despite being piqued by God and Man at Yale and amused on occasion by the capers of fictional CIA agent Blackford Oakes. However, from the time I was a small boy who loved big words, I was flattered to be c ...more
I adore Christopher Buckley's writing. Have been a big fan for a while now, especially with his novels and pos-NR stuff. Had read excerpts of this book in various places, then my mom took a nosedive in her health and I forgot about reading the book. Enter my good friend Liz, my book-lending savior, with a copy of Losing Mum and Pup.

What a truly moving memoir. Humor, honesty and a helluva vocabulary (not to mention a fabulous writing skill and the ability to tell a story) made this one of my fav
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley is an unforgettable memoir that is endearing, enchanting and spoken from the heart. A story of dedication, love, honesty, irritable moments and just plain stubbornness. A serious story but with so many light moments that you can't help but chuckle out loud. Oh don't get me wrong as you will still need a hankie for the tear jerking renditions of what we deal with when a loved one dies, but that is more back story and the pleasant, jovial moments of life a ...more
What I’ve read of Christopher Buckley’s fiction is funny and incisive, as he takes on the hypocrisies, corruption, foibles and follies of the American political universe (or should that be “biverse”?)—the lobbyists, lawyers, candidates, spin doctors, players, kingmakers, etc., etc. And he should know this world, since he’s the son of William F. Buckley, conservative icon, author of over 50 books, creator and host for 30 years of “Firing Line” and founder of “National Review,” both prominent defe ...more
Laughed out loud at the WFB medical updates ("Urine-wise...") and a few other passages, but it is hard to get away from the sense that this book is payback, albeit potentially well-deserved payback, particularly to dear old "mum." As for pup, and for most that is why we are reading the book, there are some insights and new details learned, but more than anything the book reminded me of WFB's incredible love of life, and the way he lived it so fully...wonderfully captured in Overdrive, and Atlant ...more
I found this book fascinating! It was my Christmas vacation read this year. Christopher Buckley writes about his famous father, William F. Buckley, “considered the father of the modern conservative movement”, and his mother, Patricia, who was “one of New York’s most glamorous and colorful socialites.” He concentrates on details during their final years leading to their deaths, but also dips back into their history for interesting stories. And there are lots of them...these were colorful people w ...more
This book is skinny so it is a fast read. Plus, Christopher Buckley, the son of the aforementioned "Mum and Pup," is a good writer. Pup, is William F. Buckley, the ultra-conservative and Mum is, his wife, Pat Buckley, a socialite. Ultra-conservatives and socialites are not exactly the kind of people that I am crazy about but this memoir is the tale of parents, as they slip, not too quietly into old age and death. Also, it is a retrospective, of a sort, of what these difficult people were like in ...more
I was interested in what he had to say and in the discussion on handling a parent's death.[return][return]Christopher Buckley writes well and is very funny. And what a life and cast of characters to discuss. My parents were really nice people, but they weren't "great" people so I didn't live with the pressure of having an intellectual powerhouse or social phenomenon for a parent. Chris Buckley did, but I never felt like I couldn't relate to his life. He tells the stories so matter-of-factly that ...more
Written by the only child of Pat and William F. Buckley Jr., this is the story of the 10 month period when first his mother, and then his father died 2 years ago. Having lost my own parents within 5 months of each other five years ago, I was intrigued.

His writing is funny and touching. He says he had promised himself NOT to write about his parents (he's written several other books) but he had to do this book, as a way of delaying the moment of letting them go. He starts out with a thought that
Chris Buckley is a wonderful writer, and the vignettes he offers of his mother and father are as beautiful as they are revelatory. The Buckleys were not ideal parents; great men (and this includes women) rarely have time to be. And it is at times, remarkable, that CB would offer such personal details about his parents. Even WFB, Lion of the Right and one of the most notable Catholics on the planet, considered suicide in his last year of life. The sort of suffering he endured in his final months, ...more
I read this cos it's an Oprah recommendation.
What a waste of time.
How self-satisfied and self-important the author is - and his parents seem to have been. How much money they have at their disposal - for wine, dinners, funerals, boats, whatever they fancy. Where did it all come from? The story about losing a chest of jewellery (buried as a prank) is given to illustrate how amusing they are - not how the American approach to spending and saving has triggered a meltdown of the worlds finances.
I k
Losing Mum and Pup: a memoir by Christopher Buckley. Some time last year, when I was speaking with my "pup" on the phone, he remarked, "I thought of you the other day when that guy you used to watch on tv died." It took me a couple of minutes to figure out who he was talking about. "That guy" was William F. Buckley, Jr. (WFB) I used to watch "Firing Line" when I was young (now my weekly political addiction is "The McLaughlin Group"). In this memoir, Christopher Buckley talks about the two year p ...more
The problem with this book is that it is a book in which someone says a lot of nice things about a person whose political ideology I find pretty abhorrent (and that's before we even get to the nice things the author says about Henry Kissinger-PS: the nice things he says about Kissinger make me kind of wonder how he and Christopher Hitchens remained such good friends). Also, there is a lot of irritating rich WASP b.s. that I suppose is unavoidable when you are writing a memoir and that's your bac ...more
"To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde. Christopher Buckley lost both of his parents in the span of 12 months and became an orphan at the age of 55. In this memoir, Christopher tells the story of taking his mother off life support and tending to his father during the last year of his life while musing on stories of their past as a family. Some of the stories in the book were priceless--such as turning down the offer from the White ...more
In Losing Mum and Pup Christopher Buckley writes about the year when both of his parents died: first his mother Patricia to complications from surgery, then his father, conservative icon William F. Buckley, after a long illness. As an only child in a famous family, Buckley did his grieving in a more public sphere, and with more famous friends than most of his readers will experience. At times the book felt like a "how the other half die" sort of book, with descriptions of friends and parties and ...more
Witty insight into living with a "great man" (father William F. Buckley, Jr.) and very dramatic mother, and losing both within a year. Although I cringed at the general hagiography of both, as well as of Kissinger, who delivered a eulogy for WFB, it did take guts for the author son to reveal what he did about his sometimes contentious relationship with both his parents. Christopher Buckley's work generally is so bright and urbane that I go through his books like popcorn.

WFB could be such an idio
No one would expect me to love the "Lion of the Conservative Movement' but I certainly admire his son, and in this telling, WFB, too. Christopher Buckely has written a sophisticated, poignant, entertaining remembrance of his parents, William F Buckley JR and his stylish wife, Pat. I listened to the audio version, narrated by the author.

Henry Kissinger gave euologis at both funerals, and Chirsto (as his father called him) gives great advice: eulogies should be no more than 4 minutes. Not 5 minut
Mum and Pup were, of course, the famous and fabulous William F and Pat Buckley. I am a fan of Chris Buckley's writing in general but how he makes an account of both of his parents' death within a year into this extremely personal, loving, witty, wry, and often hilarious account is masterful. I've read it twice and enjoyed it thoroughly both times.
Although, I do not necessarily agree with William F. Buckley, Jr.'s politics, after reading this book, I did come to appreciate what a brilliant man he was. But, this book is actually about his son, Christopher Buckley (author of "Thank You for Smoking" and "Boomsday") lovingly saying good-bye to his parents as they passed on. For such a morose topic, there are laugh out loud moments, with some very honest and touching writing from the child of two very high profile parents. It was a quick and e ...more
The Buckleys live in a whole different world than most of the rest of us. Theirs is a world of fame, privilege, power, intellect, and -- oh, heavens, how I envy them -- a world of big words! (When I speak like they do in my world, I am mocked, albeit gently.) I'd like to say listening to this book was delightful, but it seems wrong to characterize a memoir about the death of two beloved, complex parents as "delightful." In the beginning of the memoir, Christo (the author's family nickname) write ...more
Christopher Buckley is incapable of writing a book that isn't humorous - even when he is writing a memoir of losing both his parents within a year's time. This book is sweet, obviously sad at times, very informative and (did I mention) often laugh out loud funny. I wasn't sure if I would like a book regarding William F. Buckley, Jr. as I lean much more to liberal than conservative - but this told of the man not the politics (mostly) and that I really enjoyed. Buckley's Mum dies first in this boo ...more
What a deeply personal account of his feelings at the time of the deaths of his mother and father! The writing felt very genuine. He shared the things he loved about his parents as well as the things that made him infuriated with them. Although it could have been a very heavy and sad read, Buckley's humor was still present and lightened the mood. I have always been a fan of his novels (the ones that I have read), and I am glad I took a chance on reading this memoir/tribute.
What a book! I saw this book listed on so many "best of" lists of 2009 and knew I liked Christopher Buckley's writing from "Thank you for Smoking" so I picked it up last week. Everyone should read it. Lovely story about a boy and his famous parents. I related to so much despite coming from not-so-famous parents. Buckley's writing is funny and poignant and just a good way to spend time. Highly recommend!
David Nichols
Read this shortly before my Mom died, when she was well into her final period of illness and invalidism. No matter how rich and well-connected you are, you're never the same after losing your folks.
Dick Stapleton
Gag me. The agony of making up the guest list for mum's gala memorial service. And, oh dear, which wine to serve... Buckley is as shallow as a Hart Island grave.
Mary Kay
I was unfamiliar with the storied history behind the life of William F. Buckley, Jr. and was fascinated and amused by his son's reminiscence of his father's life. Christopher Buckley has an amazing vocabulary and a wry wit that I thoroughly enjoyed. I listened to this on audio book and was laughing out loud at some of the stories he shared (in his own voice). I plan to do more research on the family in the future. Very interesting and multi-faceted people!
Also, having lost both of my parents, I
How odd it must be to live in the rarefied atmosphere in which Christopher Buckley was raised. His parents' deaths occurred within a brief span of time, and both were mourned by many famous personalities—that tends to give the book a feeling of name dropping, but I suppose the story isn't complete without including all the relevant people. Christo had a remarkable life with this large personalities, and his grief is very evident in the telling. I don't think I have mourned my father quite as eff ...more
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Christopher Buckley graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1976. He shipped out in the Merchant Marine and at age 24 became managing editor of Esquire magazine. At age 29, he became chief speechwriter to the Vice President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Since 1989 he has been founder and editor-in-chief of Forbes Life magazine.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Good
More about Christopher Buckley...
Thank You for Smoking Boomsday Supreme Courtship No Way to Treat a First Lady Little Green Men

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“I looked at Mum and realized -- twang! -- that she was telling an untruth. A big untruth. And I remember thinking in that instant how thrilling and grown-up it must be to say something so completely untrue, as opposed to the little amateur fibs I was already practiced at -- horrid little apprentice sinner that I was --like the ones about you'd already said your prayers or washed under the fingernails. Yes, I was impressed. I too must learn to say these gorgeous untruths. Imaginary kings and queens would be my houseguests when I was older.” 5 likes
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