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GOOD STUFF by Jennifer Grant


A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant

by Jennifer Grant

Pub Date: May 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-26710-8
Publisher: Knopf

Cary Grant was a wonderful father. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Actress Grant’s memoir about life with her famous father is like a cake made entirely of frosting: sweet, insubstantial and sickening in large servings. The author’s reflexive and seemingly unconscious narcissism verges on the risible as she describes, in excruciating detail, the utterly mundane details of her privileged girlhood. Cary Grant was in his 60s and long since retired from movie stardom when he became a father, and the author avers that the icon avoided any discussion of his career. Understandably, Grant has almost nothing to say about the subject either, which begs the question—who could this extended mash note possibly interest outside of the author’s immediate circle of family and friends? It’s perhaps cheering to hear that Cary Grant was apparently as fine a fellow as his image would suggest, but Grant reveals nothing the general reader will not already know about the star. There is no dirt, no surprises, no analysis…just a litany of pleasant outings and a celebration of warm family togetherness. In a peculiarly cloying prose style, overly familiar and made up of informal sentence fragments, girlish exclamations, and soggy platitudes, Grant limns the archetypal movie idol as a cheerful elderly papa, padding contentedly around his well-appointed home and delighting his little girl with affectionate attention. It sounds like a lovely life, but it makes for an irritating reading experience.

Less a memoir than a hagiography—and a dull one at that.