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Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  2,607 Ratings  ·  537 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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Jul 07, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2016 Negin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
This is a beautiful and heartwarming memoir of Christopher Buckley’s parents – William F. Buckley and his wife Patricia. Before reading this, I knew very little about them other than the fact that William F. Buckley was a staunch conservative. Regardless of where one stands with his political viewpoints and all, this is a worthwhile and surprisingly entertaining read, despite the sad subject matter (losing one’s parents). I would recommend it to all who have dealt or may soon be about to deal wi ...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
Sep 12, 2009 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 20, 2014 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“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
Jun 14, 2015 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As I have said before, memoirs are hard to rate. For one, you try to be as honest as possible without sounding bias but then you try to remain realistic at the same time. Based on the contents of this book, I honestly thought this was less about his parents and more about what led to his parents demise. I simply did not care about anything else, it just seemed like filler thus me skipping the majority of this book. I did like the pictures, that was probably the only thing that I felt was memorab ...more
Jun 28, 2009 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recentlyread
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
Jun 06, 2009 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 27, 2009 Garry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2013 Emilie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Interesting people and well written, but the nonstop name-dropping got to be unbearable by the end.
Melanie  Hilliard
Ehh ... as far as I'm concerned, this is a forgettable book about an unforgettable couple. Would have liked to hear what Pup had to say about this.
So keen is Christopher Buckley's wit, that I couldn't help laughing ... even though the chuckles were often followed by sighs. The death of your parents isn't normally considered fodder for comedy; I suspect he finds mirth and irony in all of life.

William F. Buckley, Jr. came to my attention in my early twenties. One of my first conscientious self-improvement projects was to read his novels and columns in order to expand my vocabulary.

I was shocked to discover that English was WFB's third lang
Feb 12, 2011 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
May 30, 2009 Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2013 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Oct 06, 2013 Carolinemawer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 29, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2009 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 16, 2009 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 26, 2009 Shelah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2009 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2010 Josie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick Slavin
Jun 05, 2016 Patrick Slavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a series of 800-page (plus) reads, I needed a change of pace and this fit the bill splendidly and evocatively -- Christopher Buckley decides to present an honest portrayal of the death of his celebrity and in the case of his father, historic, parents. He was their only child. The book is full of Buckley's well-known humor and talented prose. He's particularly tough on his Mother, but his story reminded me of my emotional state when my father died - and that was moving and heartfelt.
May 05, 2009 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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.
Feb 23, 2010 Drea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 17, 2014 Davidkantor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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
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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.” 7 likes
“You never remember who came to the funeral, but you never forget who didn’t.” 4 likes
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