This book covers the early years of the Marx Brothers, with superb portraits of their rather eccentric parents, and a humorous picture of growing up poor but hopeful in New York at the turn of the century, followed by perhaps the best first-hand description of a Vaudeville life ever written. The characters and events are sometimes so much larger than life that readers may question how much exaggeration Groucho is indulging in, but there's something so engaging about his narrative style that makes it hard not to go along with it.
It takes readers from the early days of doing anything to make ends meet (including Chico and Harpo playing piano in brothels) up to the great Hollywood days.
In the end, this whole book just flies of the page and leaves you with the feeling of having been in the company it like being in the presence of one of the great raconteurs and wits of the last century.
This report prepared by Neil McLaren
Groucho's autobiography makes for great reading, packed as it is with his trademark humour, but perhaps it isn't the greatest insight into the secrets of the Marx Brothers. Groucho's jokes are a smokescreen and on the whole his agonies are dismissed with a few gags. But who cares? This is a must read for Groucho-philes and hey, if it was a straight autobiography how would we know Groucho had written it?
This report prepared by Claire Baldwin