Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gracie: A Love Story

1988, undated later edition, from G. P. Putnam's Sons
George Burns
Gracie: A Love Story
Original price $16.95, purchase price unknown
Worn hardcover

As the title suggests, Burns talks about his much-missed late wife.  Having watched some episodes again in the last few years, I think their 1950s TV show holds up remarkably well (much better than their friend Jack Benny's show).  Unfortunately, some of Burns's jokes in this book fall flat, bringing it down from a potential B.  I did enjoy reading about his life with Gracie, on and offstage.  He was 92 at the time this book came out and would make it to the 100 years he'd joked about since the '70s.  He survived Gracie by 32 years, but it's clear from this book that she was always on his mind, even when he achieved late-life solo success (as God among other characters).  Although some might see the "Gracie Allen character" (as distinct from the real woman) as a dumb blonde (she actually had black hair but dyed it for the movies), I think her twisted logic was brilliantly surreal.  And although I wouldn't call Burns a feminist per se, there's no doubt that he didn't mind being his wife's sidekick. 

The book could be stronger-- funnier, more detailed, less bitter against Jack Benny's wife, etc.-- but it's definitely worth reading, especially if you're a Gracie fan.

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