The Spoiling of “Losing Mum and Pup”

Since William Buckley died, I have been sporadically reading all  of his output I can get my hands on.  And there’s plenty of it:  over 50 books, and almost 50 years of columns that would fill another 45 volumes.  Particulalry, I found Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription to be one of the most entertaining reads I’ve had in a very long time.

It was with great anticipation, then, that I opened Christopher Buckley’s memoir, Losing Mum and PupMy eagerness had been stoked by a wonderful if slightly rose-tinted  Vanity Fair profile of the Buckleys’ relationship, and by an excerpt of the book that ran in the Times Magazine last weekend. 

But here’s the problem:  the Times Mag piece wasn’t an exceprt (e.g. a chapter) as we usually think of it.  Instead, it was a very tight condensation of the entire book.  Think Reader’s Digest on a diet.  My wife caught this in the moment, I didn’t.  But as a result, reading the book is an act of terrific anti-climax.   It also leaves me to ponder how many books actually want to be magazine articles.

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