"This is a riotous story which is reasonably mad and as accurate as a Marx brother can make it. Despite only a year and a half of schooling, Harpo, or perhaps his collaborator, is the best writer of the Marx Brother. Highly recommended." -Library Journal
"A funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography done with a sharply professional assist from Rowland Barber." -Ne
Fear of clowns isn't itself very remarkable. It's pretty common, from what I can tell, but my phobia really got turbo-charged in my early adolescence from watching WGN of Chicago's The Bozo Show, which was a weekday morning nightmare-a-tho ...more
This book is NOT about Harpo the movie star. It's about Harpo the human being, and it has depths that no amount of superficial glitz could ever reach. The humor is way beyond the movies. Even his movie alter ego would be cracking up.
The story starts with poverty, and lots of it to spread around. This is a type of poverty everyon ...more
The stories in this book are often difficult, as his tour to Russia in WWII speaks volumes, but they are also uplifting, as in the household rules his family made for each other. All his kids were adopted, and their favorite bedtime story was about how their parents, Harpo and Su ...more
Harpo Marx is a man famous for not speaking, who describes himself as a professional listener, and yet he somehow became far more eloquent and cutting than his brother Groucho, a man reputed as the mouth and wit not only of the family, but possibly of the century.
Harpo Speaks covers the whole of Harpo's life, from his childhood in New York city, where he played piano in a whorehouse, to his beginnings in vaudeville and subsequent friendships with so ...more
It's very g-rated--unlike the Marx brothers' lives--but somehow that rings true for Harpo. He seems to have been a genuinely good person, even escaping some of the darker shenanigans at Wits End, perpetrated by Woolcott, when he was the Emperor of the Algonquin Round Table. I suspect Woolcott had a crush on him.
Anyway, the part that h ...more
He was an uncommon comedian whose talent has yet to be matched. Finally getting a chance to speak, Harpo gives a lengthy but infinitely worthwhile account of his life. He is, in many ways, as endearingly childlike and mischievious in his writing as his on-screen persona, but in many ways he is also alarmingly eloquent.
He provides insight as well as laughs, real history (as he remembers it) as well as zany anecdotes worthy ...more
Someone like that, I told myself, would be worth knowing. So I picked up the autobiography.
It offers a wealth of information on:
- average life in NYC in the 1900s (unsurprisingly not that great. And those ELECTIONS! talk about an experience)
- the glitzy, glamo ...more
I read this one in just a little bit more than 24 hours. That's how good it is. Harpo led a truly fascinating life, and wrote about it with humor, poignancy, and a great deal of whimsy. I was completely transported from almost page one, and I was extraordinarily sad to find myself at the end of the book- I could have kept reading for another 400 pages, ...more
If you like reading about the rich and famous, you'll love this book. Harpo name- ...more
He became a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table during the 1920's and was befriended by theater critic Alexander Woollcott. They had many adventures together including visiting France toget ...more
I love that he avoids ripping anyone apart. If he has something really bad to say about someone, he doesn't name them by name. A great mixture of anecdotes, and insight into the people who influenced his life. It helps you realize the true genius of both Hapro and his brothers, without any bluster.
A book that caused me to learn, reflect, and laugh - a wonderful mixture.