None of Cornelia Otis Skinner's many accomplishments as actress or author came close to matching the phenomenal popularity of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, which appeared in 1942 and went through more than twenty printings a total of more than two million copies. A collaboration with her former Bryn Mawr classmate Emily Kimbrough, the memoir charmingly and quite comically details the pair's youthful trip abroad two decades earlier, when they were almost out of their teens and on their own for the first time. From its very beginning, the flavor of the work is deliciously evident, as Emily surprises a naked man in his hotel room before the girls have even embarked. From Montreal to London to Paris, episode follows upon episode, absurdity upon absurdity: shipwreck in the Saint Lawrence River, an astonishingly funny game of deck tennis, Emily hitting a drowning man with a deck chair, Cornelia breaking out with the measles, both girls oblivious to the ill repute of the house in Dieppe where they found lodging one night with sightseeing and romantic yearnings coming in between.
This nostalgic and innocent book is a marvelous voyage, so bright with life and comedy and an air of happy coincidence that it's very hard to put down, and nearly impossible to forget. DELIGHTFUL!!!
5 Stars (Rated G)