DEAR PUSSYCAT: Mash Notes and Missives from the Desk of Cosmopolitan's Legendary Editor

Helen Gurley Brown, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (358p) ISBN 978-0-312-31757-7

Brown is still, at 82, exuberantly stringing words together in her trademark style of emphasis through ellipses, italics, capitals and underlines. In this, her ninth book, she bares more of her irreverent self through letters written over the years to friends, family, celebrities, advertisers, doctors, lovers and Cosmo staffers. Brown gathered almost 300 letters—some from Cosmo archives, many borrowed from the original recipients—and annotates each with a brief caption. Divided into 20 chapters ("Dear Doctor, Please Get Me Fixed [and Thank You for What You Already Did!]"; "I'm Pissed!"; "Dear Staff"; "Deepest Sympathy"; etc.), the book begins with a letter Brown wrote to Franklin D. Roosevelt when she was 15; she asked him to please write to her hospitalized sister, who "has polio just like you do." (He did.) Brown's missives to her Cosmo colleagues provide a peek into the magazine's history, and many of her letters rail against conservatism, as in her diplomatic yet no-nonsense letter to an "ultra-conservative" advertiser clarifying Cosmo 's mission. Most poignant is a lengthy 1978 letter to Brown's mother on her 85th birthday; it's filled with daughterly reminiscences and appreciation ("I was so busy TAKING everything I never had time to think how ANYTHING was for you") and candidly muses on "what would you have been if you had had the same chances and encouragement from YOUR mother." While this isn't intended as a how-to-write-letters book, readers will, by osmosis, glean something from Brown, whose grace, style and candor will always be a template for polishing one's art of communication. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4668-2940-4
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