Synopses & Reviews
Of all our blood relations, an aunt offers the most potential for uncomplicated friendship. The Complete Book of Aunts is an entertaining and touching exploration of aunts in all their guises and varieties, culled from real-life, literary and historical sources. Bewitching illustrations and anecdotes illuminate various aunt types: Bargain Aunts, Mothering Aunts, Damned Bad Aunts, and X-Rated Aunts. With stories and poems about famous or historical aunts, Christiansen and Brophy attempt to uncover what aunt-ness is.
"British journalist Christiansen (Paris Babylon) offers a curiously dry, encyclopedic look at the evolution of aunts (as in mother's and father's siblings) in this slender gift volume illustrated by Stephanie von Reiswitz. Starting with a 'short history of the aunt' from her barest mention in classical literature to her finest hour in the Victorian era, the author moves into specific examples, from famous people raised or heavily influenced by their aunts (Tolstoy, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, John Lennon) to famous aunts in literature (Aunt Leonie in Proust, the four Dodson sisters in The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre's malevolent Mrs. Reed). Alternating with brief bios of iconic and brand-name aunts are italicized testimonies by nieces and nephews of real-life aunts who've made a lasting impression on young lives, from places as far apart as Canada and Pakistan. Most interesting are the occasional in-depth accounts of heroic or eccentric aunts such as learned astronomer Caroline Herschel, whose relationship with her nephew defined her later years; and Aunt Jessie in Cecil Beaton's My Bolivian Aunt. Aunt Ginny, aka Virginia Woolf, earns a well-fleshed study, as does Aunt Jane Austen." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Of all ones relatives, an aunt offers the most potential for uncomplicated friendship. Rupert Christiansen presents a wise and witty exploration of aunts in all their glorious variety--perfect as a holiday gift and as a cherished, funny, and heartwarming keepsake to be read again and again.Twelve