When shy young heir Patrick is orphaned at the age of ten, the only family he has is his wealthy and eccentric aunt, a New York socialite named Mame. Prone to dramatic costumes, flights of fancy and expensive whims, Mame will raise Patrick the only way she knows how - with humour, mishaps, unforgettable friends and lots of love. From progressive schooling and Mame's search for a husband to her short-lived literary career and the puncturing of some of Patrick's romances, Auntie Mame is the most magnificent and hilarious work of love, style, wit and the life of a modern American.
And here are some of the many enthusiastic reviews from around Penguin...
‘Auntie Mame is such a fabulous character: hilarious, eccentric, surprising, camp, loving, and frivolous! She made me want to go to New York and live her life. Each chapter made me either laugh out loud, cringe with embarrassment on behalf of Patrick or fill with compassion for Auntie Mame. I couldn't put it down and can't wait until we publish in August’ Lyndsey Ng, Publicity
‘Patrick Dennis has a fun and captivating lightness of touch, instantly pulling you into Auntie Mame's mad-cap, hilarious series of escapades. My favourite - I was literally cackling with laughter - is “Auntie Mame and the Southern Belle”.’ Emily Hill, Editorial
‘It's so hilarious and charming, and when you've read it once it's impossible not to dip in again and again at your favourite stories. Who doesn't need a little Mame in their lives?’ Sam Binnie, Copywriter
‘Completely moreish and an absolute delight to dive into. Although do be prepared to laugh out loud in public spaces…’ Jessie Price, Marketing
'The perfect summer read - fizzes and pops like a bottle of the finest champagne' Sophia Hough, Sales
'Auntie Mame is a unique combination of Samantha from Sex and the City and a grand dame of Oscar Wilde!' Melissa Scarlett
‘I haven’t read a book that’s so much fun for years. I was so sorry when I reached the final page. I’d highly recommend it to just about anyone!’ Ellie Smith, Editorial
'Stylish, frivolous and fashionable fun!' Amy Tipper, Sales
A regular Japanese doll of a woman had strolled into the foyer. Her hair was bobbed very short with straight bangs above her slanting brows; a long robe of embroidered golden silk floated out behind her. Her feet were thrust into tiny gold slippers twinkling with jewels, and jade and ivory bracelets clattered on her arms. She had the longest fingernails I’d ever seen, each lacquered a delicate green. An almost endless bamboo cigarette holder hung languidly from her bright red mouth. Somehow, she looked strangely familiar.
She glanced at Norah and me with an expression of bemused surprise. “Oh,” she said, “the man at Private Procurement didn’t tell me you were bringing a child as well. No matter. He looks like a nice boy. If he misbehaves we can always toss him out into the river.” She laughed, but we didn’t. “I suppose you know what’s expected of you—just a little light slavery around the place, andof course Thursdays you’ll be left to your own devices.”
Norah stared at her, wide-eyed. Her mouth hung open. “You’re a little late, you know,” the Oriental lady said. “I really wanted you in time to serve this mob,” she gestured to where all the noise was coming from. “But it doesn’t really matter. If you have no things with you, I suppose I can get you fitted out into something suitable.” She moved on toward the noise.
“You just wait here, I’ll have Ito show you to your quarters. Ito! Ito!” she called, and swept out of the room. “Motheragod, did you hear what she said—all them words! One of them regular Chinese singsing girls, she was. Whatever can we do, Paddy, whatever can we do?” A sinister-looking couple strode across the foyer. The man looked like a woman, and the woman, except for her tweed skirt, was almost a perfect Ramon Novarro. He said, “I suppose you know they’re sending poor Miriam out to the Coast.” The woman said, “Well, God knows, if they want her killed professionally, they’ve shipped the poor bitch to the right place.” She laughed nastily and they disappeared beyond the opposite screen.
Norah’s eyes popped and so did mine. The noise grew louder and louder. Suddenly a piercing scream rent the air. Both of us jumped. A woman’s voice rose hysterically above the roar. “Oh, Aleck! Stop it, please! You’re slaying me!” There was a great bellow of laughter and then another shrill scream. Norah clutched my arm and held it tight. Two men appeared from behind a screen. One of them had a bright red beard. Between them they were carrying a woman all dressed in black, her head thrown back, her eyes closed, her long hair trailing on the floor behind her. Norah gulped. “Poor Edna,” one of the men said. “Well, I don’t feel so damned sorry for her,” the man with the beard said.
“I told her just this afternoon, I said, ‘Edna, you’re writing your own death warrant drinking all that poison at lunch. You’ll be cold as a mackerel by seven o’clock.’ And here she is, passed out.” Norah crossed herself. There was another scream and a roar of insane laughter. The little Japanese darted out from behind a screen and scampered across the foyer. He was carrying a big knife. Norah moaned.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, preserve us,” she prayed. “Save this little orphan and I from slaughter and worse at the hands of these Chinese cutthroats.” She began to mumble a long ardent prayer so incoherently that I got only a few words like White Slavery and Shanghai and Bloody Murder. The woman-man and man-woman crossed the foyer again. “. . . And of course, Death Comes for the Archbishop,” he was saying. “Have you ever experienced a sensation quite so exciting?” “Glorious God,” Norah cried, “is nothing nor no one safe in this sink of sin!” There was another scream and the hysterical voice cried, “Aleck, don’t! It’s just plain mur-der!” “This is enough,” Norah cried, grasping my hand and pulling me up. “We’ve got to get out of this nest of thieves and slayers while we’ve still a breath in our bodies. Better to die preservin’ me virtue than let the Chinee sell us into slavery. Come on, Paddy, we’ll run fer it and may the Good Lord help us.” With remarkable agility she sprang toward the door dragging me behind her.
“Stop, please.” We were transfixed. It was the little Japanese, grinning ludicrously and still holding the knife. “Madame no find you?” “Look here, sir,” Norah said with desperate valor. “I’m only a poor old woman, but I’m prepared to buy me way out. I got money with me, although I may not look it. Lots of money. Five thousand dollars besides all me life’s savin’s. Surely you could let the child and I escape for that. We done no wrong.” “Oh, no,” he said with an inscrutable smile. “Not right. I fetch Madame. Madame very anxious have little boy in house.” “The vileness!” Norah moaned. The Japanese doll woman reappeared. “Ito,” she said, “I’ve been hunting all over for you. This is the new cook and I want you to . . .”
“No, Missy Dennis,” he said, waggling his finger, “no new cook. New cook in kitchen. This your little boy.” “But no!” she squealed. “Then you must be Norah Muldoon!” “Yessum,” Norah breathed, too spent to find voice. “But why didn’t you tell me you were coming today? I’d never have been giving this party.” “Mum, I wired you . . .” “Yes, but you said July first. Tomorrow. This is the thirty-first of June.”
Norah shook her head balefully. “No, mum, ’tis the first, God curse the evil day.” The tinselly laugh rang out, “But that’s ridiculous! Everyone knows “Thirty days hath September, April, June and . . .’ My God!” There was a moment’s silence. “But darling,” she said dramatically, “I’m your Auntie Mame!” She put her arms around me and kissed me, and I knew I was safe.