Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret

Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret

Book - 2018
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"Rollicking, irresistible, un-put-downable . . . For anyone . . . who swooned to Netflix's The Crown , this book will be manna from heaven." --Hamish Bowles, Vogue

" Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a brilliant, eccentric treat. " --Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal

" I ripped through the book with the avidity of Margaret attacking her morning vodka and orange juice . . . The wisdom of the book, and the artistry, is in how Brown subtly expands his lens from Margaret's misbehavior . . . to those who gawked at her, who huddled around her, pens poised over their diaries, hoping for the show she never denied them. " --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Brown has done something astonishing: He makes the reader care, even sympathize, with perhaps the last subject worthy of such affection . . . His book is big fun, equal measures insightful and hysterical. " --Karen Heller, The Washington Post

A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown's Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2017
ISBN: 9780374906047
Branch Call Number: BIO MARGARET
Characteristics: 423 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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t
tlgsager
Feb 11, 2019

Interesting approach to biography. I never would have read about her otherwise. It's not traditional - it largely relies on anecdotes and there is a strong application of fiction. Sometimes too much so (the whole speculation at the end of what if she had been born first was absurd). Too much time and repetition on the auction of her items. It's interesting that her children are non-existent in the book.
An enjoyable read, I tore through it which is testament to the style of writing, I guess.

w
WannaBWriter
Feb 01, 2019

Complete guilty pleasure for a reader like me who has snarfed up every tidbit of the royals' lives. A traditional biography would not have done Princess Margaret justice. By grouping similar and sometimes well-known antidotes about the "spare" sister, Craig Brown has painted a larger portrait of a unique life.

c
ctkvlk
Jan 30, 2019

Interesting glimpses. A troubled soul. Because of the presentation, hard to separate fact from fiction, so a bit gossip-y.

b
bazure
Jan 22, 2019

I rarely stop reading a book but just couldn't finish this one.

i
Indoorcamping
Jan 01, 2019

The non-traditional format of this book is simply magnificent and does the subject matter extreme justice. The author is brilliant and the writing is delicious, rich, lovely, catty, and naughty.

That said, good luck trying to finish reading about such a self-absorbed, entitled, nasty human being. Someone born a literal princess could not do worse. She sucked up all the good in the room, seems like. A person like this is hilarious, funny, and fascinating to read about. Admittedly this sort of person creates an obsession to average minions, regular people who have a hard time believing princesses really act that way.

The obsession, unfortunately ended way before the reading of the book did for me, at least. I absolutely could not stand to swallow another story about this horrid woman when children are being locked up in cages on the border. Life is really awful for some of us, and for others, such as an entitled princess, life is so easy that to make it interesting, she has to screw it up as much as possible.

It feels as if I own Prince Charles an apology for being such a whiny weasel. At least he has gardens and cares about the planet, even if he can't see past the silver spoon in his mouth. Princess Margaret just smacks people with her entitlement. Which is funny until you realize how much she could have done to make the world a better place. Seems like she did everything to do the opposite.

k
Kathrynsbraunstein
Nov 28, 2018

Princess Margaret's entire life is neatly summed up in the first two pages of this book, in chronological order: her birth,, her announcement not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, her betrothal to Tony Armstrong Jones, her subsequent separation and divorce from him, and 71 years later after suffering from alcoholism, obesity and several stokes, her death.
But what made her go from the radiant, beautiful young woman that we see in a photo of her and Peter Townsend, to the obese woman in a wheelchair? What was it in her life , or indeed in her character that changed her into an angry, nasty woman that even her closest friends were afraid to be around?
I had hoped to find the answer or at least the author's opinion in the book, but he seems not to have the answer and doesn't clearly state his opinion although he does lean toward the forced dissolution of the lover affair between her and Townsend. I was a young woman then, and although living in the US and not the UK, I remember so well the newspaper accounts of the affair and her announcement, and all the people rooting for her before the announcement was made.
It is my opinion that she was hounded by her sister the Queen, by British society as it was then and the clergy to give him up and she regretted it ever since. Her whole personality changed; she became miserable and sullen and felt that everyone should mourn with her. She died an unhappy woman. We think she, as a rich Royal, had everything, but the truth is, she had everything except the one thing that she wanted, that could have made her a happy woman. Rest in Peace, Princess Margaret.
Katie Braunstein

d
das1956
Nov 02, 2018

Such a nasty view of a woman who was so incredibly sad about the hand life had dealt her.
She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled. Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown's Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

w
winston16
Sep 07, 2018

Oh my, what a guilty pleasure!! Dishy, bitchy, informative, sardonic, satiric-- this is a very unconventional biography. The author gathers bits and pieces from past accounts of PM's life but it's the flavor he adds that gives this book its spicy, addictive appeal. I literally couldn't put it down at times! It's also a fine antidote to the "wouldn't it be fun to be a Royal" fantasy. I had mixed feelings about the book throughout, but the format (99 glimpses) and the subjects (royalty, celebrity, aging, love lost) made for an engrossing read.

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