LOSING MUM AND PUP: A Well Written and Entertaining Memoir by Christopher Buckley

Dear Reader,

From the get-go, author Christopher Buckley says Losing Mum and Pup is not a memoir about his famous parents William F. Buckley and Patricia Taylor Buckley but what it was like to lose both his parents within twelve months. (His mother died in 2007, his father in 2008.) The reader learns about the Buckley’s anyway. (Before reading this book, I knew little, except that William F. seemed to flaunt his extensive vocabulary and intellect with undisguised smugness.) Christopher also has a quite a vocabulary; a pleasure to read really. He also has a fantastic sense of humor, as illustrated by my favorite lines in the book, found on pages 55 and 56, in which he talks about his mother’s “fibbing” skills.

“When Mum was in full prevarication, Pup would assume an expression somewhere between Jack Benny stare and the stoic grimace of a thirteenth-century saint being buried alive at the stake.… The funny thing was that he rarely challenged her when she was in the midst of one of her glorious confections. For that matter, no one did. They wouldn’t have dared. Mum had a regal way about her that did not brook contradiction. The only time she ever threatened to spank me was when I told her, age seven, in front of others, following one of her more absurd claims, “Oh, come off it!” Her fluent mendacity, combined with adamantine confidence, made her truly indomitable.”

I wonder what Christopher Buckley’s first spoken words were. I’m guessing not mama or dada.

Who will like this book? Fans of Christopher Buckley’s writing, William F. Buckley followers and foes (it gives everyone a new perspective, I’m sure), people whose parents died within months of one another, men and women whose difficult parents are always right, and readers who simply enjoy a well written memoir.


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June 2009
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Photo Credits: Header - Barbara McNichol, Author - Bernadette Garcia

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