The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
originally published 1964
Green Mansion Press, 1st printing, 2002
Genre: Literary fiction, humor
Synopsis & Review: Daddy always said that Christmas is a joyous season when suicides and hold-ups and shoplifting and like that reach a new high and that the best place to spend the whole thing is a Moslem country.
Nearly-eleven-year-old Kerry (“which is short for Kerrington, for cripes sake, spelled with a K and an E and not with a C and an A”) and his little sister Missy have been shipped off from their Manhattan home to spend the summer with their Gran in East Haddock (“Boresville, USA”). The reason for their exile is their parents’ divorce, and event Kerry describes in great detail. It all begins on Christmas Day, when Kerry and Missy accidentally wake up their parents while trying out Missy’s new Martian Outer Space Gun. Only Daddy thinks there’s a burglar in the apartment, and bursts in on them with a loaded gun. Then their Uncle HA regifts an ancient chemistry set to Kerry, and while those stale chemicals cook, grandmothers Gran and Ga-ga show up with some of the worst presents ever, and Mom finds out that daddy never mailed the two hundred Christmas cards she addressed by hand. When the chemistry set explodes in Kerry’s bedroom, tempers do too, and HA is the recipient of a shiner from Daddy–and then Mom throws Daddy out.
Over the next six months, Kerry observes (and eavesdrops) as Mommy is wooed by her divorce lawyer, the staid Sam Reynolds, and daddy pursued by chic fashion editor Dorian Glen. Caught between their parents and their families, Kerry and Missy carry through the mess with aplomb.
I love Auntie Mame. Love it. Adore it. I grew up watching it and wanting to be just like Mame Dennis. I finally read Patrick Dennis’ novel Auntie Mame in intermediate school (not having realized that it was based on a novel for some time), and thought it hilarious. And I must say, it baffles me that I never noticed that Patrick Dennis had written not just a few, but several other novels (did you know that he’s the only writer to have three books on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously?). How does such a travesty happen? I am mystified, and more than a little hurt. Read the rest of this entry »