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Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia…
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Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (original 1942; edition 1963)

by Cornelia Otis Skinner, Emily Kimbrough (Author), Constantin Alajálov (Illustrator)

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3811228,289 (4.13)36
Member:MsCellophane
Title:Our Hearts Were Young and Gay
Authors:Cornelia Otis Skinner (Author)
Other authors:Emily Kimbrough (Author), Constantin Alajálov (Illustrator)
Info:Bantam Pathfinder (1963), Mass Market Paperback, 197 pages
Collections:Your library, Illinois library
Rating:
Tags:fiction

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Our Hearts were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner (1942)

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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The author is the daughter of Otis Skinner, and Maud Durbin Skinner, matinee idols of the early 20th century. Decades after the trip and having established herself as an actress, Cornelia collaborated with her travel partner, Emily Kimbrough with a memoirists' detailed memory, to tell the story of their trip abroad when they were in their late teens. Two cheery women, from Montreal to Paris, with shipwreck, an hysterical game of tennis, measles, inadvertent lodging in a house ill repute, with romantic yearnings and sightseeing.

With a gift for exaggeration bordering on hysteresis, the stories are detailed, nostaligic and innocente. The girls are as companiable and terrifying as girls can be.
  keylawk | Apr 29, 2013 |
Written in 1942, this is a charming recollection of two American college girls going to England and France in the early 1920s. Though insisting on their independence and feeling very adventurous, they are in fact rather innocent girls who frequently fall back on family assistence, the family having very wisely decided to tour Europe at the same time. Europe after the first World War was still an old world place that made me quite nostalgic.

It's a truly hilarious recollection of this memorable trip. Otis Skinner is poking fun at her youthful self who tried to be sophisticated and world-wise but doesn't even know about LIFE and has to be enlightend by medieval artefacts in the Musée Cluny (I would like to see these, actually). But no shipwreck, attack of measles or misunderstanding a brothel for a hostel can deter them from having great fun - and the whole book is breathing that sense of enjoying life we only have when very young adults. I sat several times laughing so hard that tears rolled down my face.

A highly entertaining read for a rainy afternoon, intended for everyone who needs an uplift. Highly recommended! ( )
1 vote 1502Isabella | Mar 8, 2012 |
This is gay in the old sense and genuinely funny. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 16, 2011 |
This book is the tale of two girls aged 19, who decide to travel from Montreal to London to Paris together during the 1920’s. They are both incredible naïve about traveling abroad and the world in general, but that is perhaps what makes this book so hilarious. Their entertaining adventures range from getting measles on board their ship and having to be smuggled into England, getting lost in a maze at Hampton Court, and spending the night at a brothel. This book was given to me by my grandmother a few years ago and ever since then I have been inspired to travel to all these places and experience these adventures for myself. This book transports you back into a time period that no longer exists and it’s always a delight to imagine life with these girls because they are incredibly carefree and amusing. ( )
  lovesbooks12 | Nov 11, 2010 |
Although the book wasn’t published until 1942, the trip to Europe Skinner and Kimbrough describe was taken in the early 20s. Cornelia was 19 and Emily 21 when they left from Montreal on the Montcalm, which promptly ran aground in the St. Lawrence.
They were both equipped with letters of credit from their parents (Skinner’s were also traveling to Europe, but separately) and, slung around their waists, security wallets known as safety pockets. eventually they get to Quebec and end up crossing on the Empress of France. They survive icebergs in the mist and deck tennis, but Cornelia comes down with measles, which has to be concealed (with the help of the young doctor they meet on board) with elaborate costume and makeup, to avoid quarantine. Cornelia convalesces in England with her parents. Emily and Cornelia live in walk-up lodgings, but do a day trip with the Skinners to Hampton court, where they get lost in the boxwood maze. They visit H. G. Wells for an eccentric afternoon.
They go to France, first to St. Valery-en-Caux for an idyllic visit, then to Rouen, where they stand on the spot where Jeanne d’Arc was burned and feel for the first time the touch of history. They are bullied into climbing the Cathedral tower, and end up staying at a brothel, which has been mistakenly recommended to them by Cornelia’s mother’s women’s club.
Though Emily’s purse explodes on the platform as the Paris train pulls up, they make it to Paris. They begin at the tourist hotel where Cornelia’s parents stay, the France et Choiseul, but shortly learn about a pension where there are no Americans. Unfortunately, there are bedbugs, which bite Cornelia, causing her lip to swell and putting a crimp in her and Emily’s date with the young men, including the doctor, they met on the Empress of France.
They both take lessons from members of the Comédie Française, which they attend several nights a week, as well as doing the usual sightseeing and shopping. At the end of the summer, Cornelia sails home on the Empress of France and Emily stays on to visit friends in Deauville and go on an auto trip with them. ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 7, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cornelia Otis Skinnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kimbrough, Emilymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Lest the reader should be in any doubt, we wish
to state that the incidents in this book are all
true and the characters completely non-fictitious
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To our mothers
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We had been planning the trip for over a year.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Actress Cornelia Otis Skinner and journalist Emily Kimbrough offer a lighthearted, hilarious memoir of their European tour in the 1920s, when they were fresh out of college from Bryn Mawr. Some of the more amusing anecdotes involve a pair of rabbit-skin capes that begin shedding at the most inopportune moments and an episode in which the girls are stranded atop Notre Dame cathedral at midnight. And, of course, there's romance, in the form of handsome young doctor Tom Newhall and college "Lothario" Avery Moore. Published in 1942, the book spent five weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list in the winter of 1943 and was made into a motion picture in 1944.… (more)

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