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Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade

(Auntie Mame #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  8,026 ratings  ·  959 reviews
Wildly successful when it was first published in 1955, Patrick Dennis' Auntie Mame sold over two million copies and stayed put on the New York Times bestseller list for 112 weeks. It was made into a play, a Broadway as well as a Hollywood musical, and a fabulous movie starring Rosalind Russell. Since then, Mame has taken her rightful place in the pantheon of Great and Important Peo ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Broadway Books (first published December 1st 1955)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  8,026 ratings  ·  959 reviews

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Nick Pageant
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giulio-books, classic
BR with my girl Mishy and my boy Giulio!!! WOOT!!!


This book is part of Giulio's continuing efforts to give Mishy and I a little culture so we don't embarrass him at parties. Is Giulio always right? Yes, he is. This book is hilarious!

The plot concerns a boy who is orphaned and sent into the questionable care of his Auntie Mame. Mame is probably my favorite character in any book EVER. You cannot keep this crazy bitch down! Mame takes her young charge firmly in hand by deserting all forms of traditional parenting an
Richard Derus
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sparklingly witty, irreverently satirical, this 1955 novel manages to remain timelessly relevant in its cutting send-up of conformity, conservatism, and cupidity. Mame Dennis first swam into my ken during the long, hot, boring summer of 1973, an anodyne to the astoundingly dreary Watergate hearings on TV. I complained to my mother about the absence of entertainment, and she snorted mightily: "How can *anyone* be bored in this house full of books? Here, read this," and she handed me "Auntie Mame. ...more
Carl Kleinebecker
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
So... There I was quietly minding my own business...growing up in New England when who... one snowy night... should land square in my lap on the "late late movie," but Mame Dennis herself wrapped in the incomparable roz russell... I stayed up until 3:00 am watching and enraptured ... the next morning I pounced on my mum first thing and told her I had a new favorite movie... She told me if I liked that I would love the book... We checked at the local book store and alas... It was OUT of print!!! ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've always been a fan of the Rosalind Russell film, Auntie Mame, and after recently watching the dreadfully sub-par Mame, starring Lucille Ball, I decided it was finally time to read the book and discover madcap Mame's true story for myself. This book is absolutely hilarious, hands-down one of the funniest, most charming books I've ever read. The Rosalind Russell film is a gem, but the book takes everything wonderful about the film and multiplies it about ten times over. The book is quite a bit ...more
Kathryn in FL
Read at age 10(?) and I had not much of an understanding the adult incidents, despite this I still enjoyed it.

I saw the movie at least 5x and decided that it was worth another read in my late 20's early 30's. I was really shocked that this was published when it was.

What a wonderful coming of age story! The innocent interpretation of Patrick Dennis's childhood in the 1930's (?) or 1940's. As an adult reader the subtle hints to the things witnessed during these times will have you lau
Leslie Hickman
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to laugh
Recommended to Leslie by: strolling the library shelves
On a scale of 1 to 10, this book is a solid 12!!! Strangley enough after reading this book I want to go through ALL my other ratings and lower them by one! I discovered this book while strolling through the shelves at the library looking for my book club book by Dickens. I was scanning the shelves with my eyes looking for a name of the author to guesstimate where to stop and the spine of the second in the series (Around the World with Auntie Mame) jumped out at me. So I grabbed it read the cover ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Like I always say "Never Judge a Book by Its Movie." You had better believe nothing can be less true that with this book.

If you have ever seen the movie "Auntie Mame" made with Rosalind Russell and enjoyed it - you will enjoy this book just as much. Perhaps a little more actually!

Although at times it is difficult to follow, since we are talking about the late 1920's and we only go about 20 or so years into the future from there, that means a lot of the language and expressions
Vanessa S.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
Auntie Mame sure is one quirky, crazy character, but I loved her and this book! I love how light and easy to read this book is, and I have already ordered Around the World with Auntie Mame. Very pleasurable read.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've been an AUNTIE MAME fan for over 40 years, since I first encountered the Roz Russell film accidentally one afternoon. They showed it in two parts and I couldn't WAIT for the next afternoon to see the second part!

Not very long after, equally accidentally, I came across the original Patrick Dennis novel in the 25-Cent bin at a used bookstore. Both serendipitous events signaled the introduction of a character who has remained with me ever since in her various incarnations, a love a
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A quick preface: I’m never sure if including comments on books read in the distant past is strictly kosher on this list. Seen one way, including these books seems a pathetic attempt to build my public shelf. Seen another way, including them seems a perfect way to introduce to others material no longer in the public popular eye but still a wonderful reading experience. Until someone tells me to “shut up”, I am going to continue to add the odd personal blast from the past as seems useful to do so. ...more
Antonio Arch
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Since it was reprinted, the topic of Mame Dennis has crept into a lot of online reviews and conversations over cocktails. I recently got into a screaming match on an airplane over the topic of Mame's relevance today. Even some of the reviews on this site are less than flattering and I want to answer them all by suggesting that the authors (and readers) read the book again.
Mame is an icon, even today. She is our Alice in Wonderland all grown up, smarter, wittier and more interesting than Ma
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
If there was a way I could have given this 2 1/2 stars I would have, but gave it 3, to round up...and make it an "average" read.

Oddly, this book made me feel like I was reading a story very similar...or something that I could compare it to, Breakfast at Tiffany's..but with a kid thrown in.

I've read Breakfast at Tiffany's and seen the movie adaption staring the late and great Audrey Hepburn. Maybe it was just me, but the eccentricities of Mame, and her approach on life rem
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. It was very predictable, but that's ok because Dennis entertained me anyway. I can't say I wish I had an Auntie Mame, but I kind of wish my children had one!
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I read this for book group and ended up enjoying it more than I expected to. We should all have an Auntie Mame in our families.
Laurie Notaro
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Want to read everything by Patrick Dennis.
Wade WDM
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! The Rosalind Russel version of the movie is one of my all time favorite movies. I just love it. I think it's because, in a weird way, I relate to Auntie Mame. I long ago, after seeing the movie for the first time, that I was going to do everything possible to be like the Auntie Mame in the movie - charismatic, outgoing, crazy. But not a lush, I can't hold my liquor at all.

Anyway, I learned that the movie was based on a book. I was so excited to find out because I k
Mireille Lapensee
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I enjoyed reading this book as it was amusing, particularly at the beginning. Dennis has the ability to create wonderfully vivid scenes in his writing. However, I didn't feel like the book lived up to the great expectations created by so many of the reviews. The novel was largely episodic, and like many, I found the 'Reader's Digest' portions were boring and didn't succeed in tying the stories together. As it went on, the narrative grew more and more disjointed and left the reader wondering what ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-from-1955
Madcap is not my favorite genre and madcap this is. In fact, I found it downright silly and formulaic. It was a huge bestseller and ended the year, 1955, at #2 on the bestseller list.

Ten year old Patrick is adopted by his wild and wacky aunt after his father's death. He grows up in a breathless rush of parties and adventures with his aunt among the wealthy, artistic and famous in New York City. Between times he has to go to a drab boarding school because the conservative executor of
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Rosalind Russell will always be Auntie Mame to me. I had to be around 10 when I first saw the movie. I was enchanted and fell in love with the character as portrayed by Ms. Russell. I thought I had read the book a long time ago, but once I started reading it, I realized I hadn't. I enjoyed it, but... I was a bit surprised because I do not think that Mame comes off 'bigger than life' or totally irresistable in the book. I wasn't as drawn to her and did not fall in love with her character. Either ...more
Christopher Hicks
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a completely fantastic book from start to finish. I've always loved the movie starring Rosalind Russell and the musical starring Lucille Ball. The book has elements from both and goes even further. I will totally read this book again in a couple years. It was a super fun, entertaining read.
Jacqueline J
A fun, OTT read. Liked that the vocabulary usage was extensive. So many modern books use a stripped down word choice. Sure they tell the story but English has so much more to offer. Some social commentary that seems just as relevant today as when it was written in the 1950s. Some pretty good double entendres.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How had I never heard of this book before? It was apparently one of the bestselling books of the 20th century. Written in 1955, this is an absolutely hilarious story about a young boy who's adopted by his wealthy, slightly insane aunt. Adventures ensue. Also, the author himself had a fascinating life. After selling millions of copies of his books, he became a *butler*... for Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's! And Kroc had no idea. Fascinating all around.
I am definitely a half of century too late to the party. While there were some hilarious moments in this book, I found the eccentric escapades of the most Unforgettable Character rather exhausting and egoistic than funny, and Patrick as a narrator very old-fashioned and as a person extremely boring. He was a sweetie when he was ten year old and a proud owner of a vocabulary pad, but not later.
Simon Mcleish
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
First published on my blog here.

I'm a big fan of Patrick Dennis, although the difficulty of finding his books nowadays means I haven't read all that many of them - three out of sixteen (all published under various pseudonyms, his real name being Edward Everett Tanner III). Even the normally reliable Fantastic Fiction only lists the two Auntie Mame books.

This is the third of his books, the first under this name, and was hugely successful in the fifties, made into a play and then a
David Edmonds
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade is one of my favorite books. I stumbled on the reprint edition when it came out in 2001 at my local Barnes & Noble, and the cover caught my eye (yes, I did judge this book by its cover, and I'm so glad that I did, since it caused a love affair with Mame that has lasted for twelve years now). Every couple of years, I need a Mame fix and I pull the book off the shelves and reacquaint myself with all the characters and madcap adventures found within (as well as the s ...more
Tam May
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved the 1953 film of Auntie Mame and I really wanted to love this book. There are definitely some hilarious bits and Auntie Mame comes off as a more complex character here without the dumbed-down sentimentality of the film (not that I hated that sentimentality - it worked brilliantly for the film). But the humor goes too often into hyperbole. Exaggeration is of course a great tool of humorous writing but when it's overused it becomes overkill and no longer funny. Also, there is something ver ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
This book by Patrick Dennis is about his Auntie Mame. it is based on his life with her. I have always loved the movie Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell and I have the soundtrack from the musical with Angela Landsbury. I was curious to read the book. I guess it started out with entries to the Readers digest. soon it became a play. I enjoyed reading Patrick Dennis' book. A lot of the chapters ended up in the stage version and movie. Mame was an eccentric woman who loved life and parties. Patrick c ...more
Linda Baker
I don't know what prompted Brilliance Audio to bring back one of my favorite books ever in a sparkling new audio edition, but all I can do is say...Thank You! Anyone who has seen the stellar Rosalind Russell movie or the smash hit Broadway show knows the story well; the orphaned 10-year-old Patrick Dennis goes to live with his madcap New York socialite Auntie Mame and begins an upbringing unlike any other.

Mame is one of the iconic figures of American literature and the novel was one
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After "Pippi Longstocking" (Astrid Lindgren) and "Daughter of Fortune" (Isabel Allende) "Auntie Mame" became my third favorite book because of the eccentric and strong main female character. In Auntie Mame, there is something similar to the adventurous spirit of Pippi, there is something similar to the strength of Eliza and there is something similar to the peculiarity of Mary Poppins.

While reading the book I started dreaming of becoming the same weird aunt to my nephews teaching them about the
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Edward Everett Tanner III spent the last years of his life as a butler, in spite of having been one of the most popular novelists of the 1950s and 1960s. A bisexual, he had a wife and family, but also pursued relationships with men on the side.

Other books in the series

Auntie Mame (2 books)
  • Around the World with Auntie Mame (Auntie Mame #2)
“Life is a banquet and most poor s.o.b.'s are starving to death." Auntie Mame” 26 likes
“Oh, darling, you know we writers must occasionally stretch a point to heighten the dramatic situation. ” 19 likes
More quotes…