Patrick Dennis •
Around the World with Auntie Mame •
Bet you didn’t even know there was a sequel to Auntie Mame.
Patrick Dennis, now grown, is anticipating another gloomy Christmas without his seven-year-old son. At least Michael was seven when the world’s most notorious aunt whisked him away on “a little outing” . . . two and a half years ago.
To console his despairing wife, Patrick assures her that during his own travels with Auntie Mame—the grand tour of Europe and points east they undertook when he was 17—nothing happened.
Nothing, that is, unless you count Mame appearing onstage at the Folies Bergère with a gigantic fan and a pack of Russian wolfhounds. Or blowing up an Austrian castle. Or parachuting from a plane to avoid a groping gigolo. (“Where did you land?” “On my rear end, I’m sorry to say.”)
And everywhere Mame goes, Patrick trails along, mixing cocktails, foiling a jewel heist, appropriating a motorboat to escape the Black Shirts and their mustard enemas. Naturally it falls to him to wrangle the wolfhounds—Sascha, Jascha, Vanya, Pavel, Boris, and Morris. (“They all sound like Santa Claus’s reindeer.”) No one can say he’s not getting an education!
Chameleon like, Auntie Mame embraces the customs of each new locale. Depending on which Phase she’s currently in, her preferred term of endearment for Patrick morphs from “my little love” into mon petit trésor, dushka, or Liebchen, just as her wardrobe veers from Tyrolean dirndls (“the natural child of William Tell out of Heidi”) to Gainsborough gowns to bush jacket and pith helmet. Whatever Mame’s faults, she certainly isn’t boring. “As wearing and irritating as she can be,” Patrick concedes as she drags him around a dreary Soviet collective, “I’ve always been spellbound in her company.”
The book is dedicated to Rosalind Russell.