Saturday, June 16, 2012

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

1957, Doubleday, possibly first edition
Jean Kerr
Illustrated by Carl Rose
Please Don't Eat the Daisies
Original and purchase price unknown
Worn hardcover with very worn dustjacket

Kerr's sarcastic honesty makes this book feel fresher than most of the other books of its time.  She admits that her four young sons deliberately drive her crazy, and she thinks dieting and getting up before noon are even crazier.  She married theater critic Walter Kerr and herself wrote some plays, including Mary, Mary, which used to be the longest-running non-musical on Broadway.  They had two more children, including finally a girl, and I first heard of Jean Kerr on the back flap of Freaky Friday, where she said something like "If I'm in any way typical (I am in every way typical), mothers will love this book, too."

She was not typical in the sense that she was a "normal" 1950s wife and mother, but she seems to have been relatable, even now, even for someone who's only been married about 10% of my life and never had kids.  (But then, I was reading Erma Bombeck when I was ten.)  Besides her observations on marriage and motherhood, Kerr also satirizes Mickey Spillane and the "depressed French" genre, the latter piece called "Toujours Tristesse."

This book, which like Bombeck is just a collection of humorous essays, became a movie with Doris Day and David Niven in 1960, and a TV show from 1965 to 1967.  I watched the latter as a child but all I can remember is the theme music was catchy and there were twins.  The movie is more interesting than funny.  Instead, read the book if you can find it.  Plus, the illustrations are funny in their literalness.

No comments:

Post a Comment