In this ``fond remembrance of a cherished father-daughter relationship,'' the elder daughter of Groucho Marx (1891-1977) reprints and briefly comments on letters she received from her father from 1938, when she was 11, to 1967, when she returned to California (where he lived) and their correspondence ceased. Writing about his successes and disappointments, Groucho also criticizes associates and his three wives, including his first, the author's mother, as he reveals what Allen calls his ``sneering intelligence.'' He throws out quips that vividly recall his presence on stage: offering his daughter belated wishes for a happy birthday, he adds, ``If you have another one, let me know in advance.'' While Allen claims enduring love for her father, readers will suspect more ambivalence. Now in her 60s, she recalls her expulsion from Bennington College, her ongoing psychotherapy, her broken marriage and the alcoholism from which she began to recover during the year of her father's death. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Groucho's daughter has collected his correspondence to her in this volume, which reveals a different man from the leering, womanizing persona he cultivated on stage. He seems to have been a sincerely caring parent, who regularly wrote his daughter witty and encouraging letters, the bulk of them between 1945 and 1955, while Miriam was at Bennington College and later at the Menninger Clinic being treated for alcoholism. Allen's cursory notes do little to explain the contents of the letters, and in any case Groucho's comments on his radio show and Hollywood friends are so entertaining on their own that they hardly require annotation. Not a necessary purchase, but fun to read.--Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.