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Paperback Harpo Speaks! Book

ISBN: 1774645122

ISBN13: 9781774645123

Harpo Speaks!

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

"Adolph Marx Harpo] squashed his formal education at the age of eight when he was dumped out of the 2nd grade window at P.S. 86 for the last time by two Irish classmates. He never went back. But his informal education blossomed on the streets of New York's Upper East Side; as a piano player in the Happy Times Tavern, on the vaudeville circuit of the early 1900's, at all-night poker games in the Algonquin Hotel. This is a racy autobiography by...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Quite amusing

I'm only a third of the way through this very interesting bio and what a life these boys had. I'm finding that I am smiling and even laughing a good deal as I read this. It is quite entertaining. But I am also commiserating as I read it as well, they in many ways had quite a hard life and it is a story of perseverance and strength as well as success and triumph.

I couldn't put this book down!

The stories are captivating and you feel like you are in the same room as him. This collection of memories from Harpo is filled with laughter and knowledge about this incredible man and his wild, extremely talented, family.

An Unsung Classic

This book is a true must-read for anyone, Marxist or not. Full of good humor, incredible experiences, an amazing childhood, and life in vaudeville, its message is one of warmth and hilarity. I first read it at 18 years of age, and still revisit its pages twelve years later. I hope that's always the case, for each time, I find something new.As you read through this book, you'll find yourself thinking, "There just aren't people like this guy anymore" - Harpo Marx was the cheerful, resourceful product of turn-of-the-century New York, and vaudeville, at that. His childhood of scrapping out a survival of relative destitution (the jobs he took are hilarious, and fascinating, to read about), in a loving, albeit quirky, family couldn't be found in fiction - it's too wacky to have been invented. And his introduction to life on the stage - well, you'll have to read for yourself.Harpo Marx's life seems never to have had a dull moment - from a hugely successful life on stage and screen, to his intimate friendships with members of the legendary Algonquin Round Table (the croquet fixation among those folks is a book in itself) - it's practically a life worthy of fairytale status. His stories about Alexander Woollcott are absolutely hysterical, and a great treat by themselves. And don't even get me started on the section about Oscar Levant - just thinking about it makes me laugh out loud. Finally, we read about Harpo's marriage to Susan Fleming, and their adoption of five children. The warmth and humanity that were such a huge part of Harpo can be summed up by the reason he chose to adopt five children - so that when he came home every day, there would be a face in each window to greet him. What a great, great man.My review only skims the surface of this great book's content - it's a fascinating read, and will definitely open your eyes to a new way of seeing the world. It's worth every penny, and chances are you'll want to hold onto your copy for a good, long time. I sure have.

Simply perfect

This is quite simply one of the best books I've ever read. Harpo tells his story with such enthusiasm, it's hard to put down. Whether telling the story of how he (quite literally) got booted out of school in the second grade, how he fell in love with and was pursued by his wife Susan, how a reveiwer put an end to his talking onstage, or his addiction to black jelly beans (!), he never loses his sense of humor.The book focuses as much (if not more) on his personal life outside of the Marx Brothers circle. Some of the people he became friends with, the places he went, and the things he did are increadible to read about.This book is beautifully written and makes Harpo even more endearing than he already was in all of the Marx Brothers films. Even if you are not a Harpo fan, you will find something to appreciate in this funny and touching autobiography.

Harpo's Peaks !

....you'll laugh , you'll cry , you'll throw a Gookie ! Harpo turns out to be everything we'd hoped him to be and more . Though he enjoyed being a beloved mascot to the celebrity intellectuals of 30's NYC , his fame has outlasted them all. The great surprise is finding out he had a hilarious 'verbal' sense of humor , too! My rating: 4 honks and 2 legs up.

An excellent read about one of the lesser known Marxes

Harpo's life story is fascinating and entertaining, and this book also gives those of us not around in the early 20th century a look at Vaudeville and other hallmarks of that era. The Marx Brothers' films are entertaining, but equipped with a knowledge of their history contained in this book, films like Horsefeathers and Animal Crackers take on a whole new dimension. Harpo dropped out of school in the second grade, but through a life of adventure, and through his associations with Alexander Woollcott, Dorothy Parker and other literary figures, Harpo became highly educated. He was a quietly blazing star.

One of the best books I've read by anyone on any subject.

_Harpo Speaks_ is deffinitely one of the best books I have ever read by anyone, anywhere, not just among books about the Marx Brothers, but among books on any subject. Even though it was several hundreds of pages long, I wanted several hundred more pages when I got to the end. It was so totally engrosing. Harpo seems to have an almost inexhaustable supply of hilarious true stories. I wonder why more of these hysterically funny tales and practical jokes were not used in Marx Brothers movies. There are, it must be said, also several serious passages -- some heartbreaking, some suspenseful, some inspirational. There are parts of this book which read like a wonderful manual on how to have a great marriage and adopt and raise four great kids, which is exactly what Harpo and Susan did. Harpo was an extremely interesting person who surrounded himself with many extremely interesting friends. Harp has many lessons to teach on how to get the most out of every moment, and out of life. This book makes you wish you had met Harpo; it makes you wish you had been one of his friends. He shares so much in this book that is personal that reading it makes you feel almost as if you are one of his friends. Rowland Barber helped Harp get his great story across in a fairly orderly manner, but the content of the book is all from Harpo's fascinating mind, big heart, and his numerous, diverse, extaordinary experiences. This book is about Harp's and his brothers' career(s) in show business, but it is about so much more than that; there are amazing true stories about poverty & affluence, tough urban street life, Vaudville, Broadway, Hollywood, international espionage, love, family, friendship, life & death, crime & punishment, failure & success, anti-Semitism, and more. There are also some wonderful photographs.
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