Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review -- Please Don't Eat the Daisies AND The Snake Has All the Lines

The Snake Has All the Lines
Please Don't Eat the Daisies

BooksPlease Don't Eat the Daises AND The Snake Has All the Lines by Jean Kerr

My enjoyment rating:  both -- 4 out of 5 stars -- but an edge to Snake!

 Book source:  Public library

Jean Kerr was a mother of 6, the wife of famed theatre critic, Walter Kerr, a playwright, author, and laugh out loud funny woman. Her essay/anthologies – Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (made famous by Doris Day and David Niven Hollywood style) and The Snake has All the Lines – are delightful vignettes into her life in 1950s suburbia. If blogging had been a staple of society in mid-century America – she would have been Dooce, Pioneer Woman, and Jen Lancaster, all wrapped up in one!

Even though over 50 years have passed since many of these essays were written, most remain timeless. One of her funniest is the opening “index” to Daises – where she rationalizes the reason she wants to become a writer is so she can sleep late in the morning. Sounds perfectly acceptable to me! She also tackles buying a new home (more of a gothic castle, really), dieting (they dieted in the 50s?) and home decorating (lots of wall paper!). Mixed with these are some that didn't fare so well – most notably meeting with your theater producer. Obviously, many of her references are dated – TVs with knobs, letters with $.10 stamps (or was it less?), names of medicines and food that were meaningless to me and Broadway actors long dead. But that didn’t minimize her quick wit and funny anecdotes.

In addition to her writing, cartoonist Whitney Darrow Jr., has perfectly illustrated her books to mirror the craziness of her life.

Over all, I think I preferred Snake to Daises (in Snake, Jean writes an AMAZING tribute to her mother – something I think EVERYONE should read!)– but both were a joy to read, and highly recommended. I recently checked out Penny Candy, another one of Jean Kerr’s books and I look forward to continuing my adventures with Jean Kerr!


Tina's Blog said...

I looked both of these up at my library, but they don't have either one. Bummer. I will have to keep my eyes open for them- they sound like ones I would enjoy.

Stephanie said...

I hate to admit it because of what it says about my age, but I remember 6-cent stamps. And I love Jean Kerr. I can never think of who to say when people ask who from the past I'd like to have lunch with, but your review reminds of me of thinking, as I read her work, that I'd like to have a chance to chat with her.