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Marx, Patricia (Patricia A. Marx)

Marx, Patricia (Patricia A. Marx)

PERSONAL:

Born in Abingdon, PA. Education: Harvard University, graduated, 1975.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY.

CAREER:

Author and humorist. New York University, New York, NY, teaches sketch comedy. Former staff member, Harvard Lampoon.

WRITINGS:

(With Charlotte Stuart) How to Regain Your Virginity … and 99 Other Recent Discoveries about Sex, Workman Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.

You Can Never Go Wrong by Lying: And Other Solutions to the Moral and Social Dilemmas of Our Time, illustrated by Jim Carson, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1985.

(With Douglas G. McGrath) Blockbuster, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1988.

You Know You're a Workaholic When—, illustrated by Lee Lorenz, Workman Publishing (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman, and David Owen) 1003 Great Things about Getting Older, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Kids, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1998.

(With Susan Sistrom) The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows about Dieting (and Won't Tell You!), Dell (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Friends, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1999.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Teachers, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2000.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about America, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2002.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Moms, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2002.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things to Smile About, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2004.

(With Ann Hodgman) You Know You're 40 When—,illustrated by Taylor Lee, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Being a Woman, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2005.

(With Lisa Birnbach and Ann Hodgman) 1,003 Great Things about Being Jewish, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2006.

Him Her Him Again the End of Him (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of "Patricia Marx" Web log. Contributor to periodicals, including New Yorker, New York Times, Vogue, and Atlantic.

FOR CHILDREN

(With Jane Read Martin) Now Everybody Really Hates Me, illustrated by Roz Chast, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Ann Hodgman) How to Survive Junior High, illustrated by Mena Dolobowsky, Troll Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 1994.

(With Jane Read Martin) Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table, illustrated by Roz Chast, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

Joey T. and the Missing Cookie, illustrated by Mavis Smith, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1997.

Meet My Staff, illustrated by Roz Chast, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

FOR TELEVISION

(With others) Saturday Night Live, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1980-81.

"A Visit from Lipschitz/What the Big People Do," Rugrats, Nickelodeon, 1992.

"Too Good to Be True," Aliens in the Family, Nickelodeon, 1996.

"A Star Is Boring," Space Cases, Nickelodeon, 1997.

Also contributor of episodes to The Little Lulu Show, 1995.

SIDELIGHTS:

Patricia Marx is a former writer for Saturday Night Live who is the author of Him Her Him Again the End of Him and other humorous works. "Sometimes it seems that the hardest thing for me or any other editor to find is the genuinely, lastingly funny thing, and Patty is the genuine article," New Yorker editor David Remnick told Jon Friedman in MarketWatch. "She has the gift and she's a real writer."

Him Her Him Again the End of Him, Marx's debut novel, centers on a young woman's inexplicable attraction to a shallow boyfriend. The unnamed narrator, a twenty-one-year-old American graduate student at Cambridge University, falls for Eugene Obello, a pretentious narcissist who teaches philosophy and offers her cheesy but creative compliments. Even when Eugene leaves her for another woman, the narrator pines for him so obsessively that she never finishes her thesis. Though she eventually returns to the United States, where she lands a job writing television sketch comedy, the narrator cannot forget her former lover. When the now-married Eugene resurfaces years later, they begin a passionate affair.

Him Her Him Again the End of Him received many positive reviews. Library Journal contributor Robin Nesbitt praised the novel's "wacky and slightly off-kilter characters," and Booklist critic Rebecca Singer remarked that "there are some laugh-out-loud moments." According to Washington Post Book World contributor Caroline Deane, the author "makes the most of her characters' time at Cambridge." Despite the callousness of Eugene's character, Deane observed: "The novel's start is so fiercely funny that you don't really care that nobody could pine for a guy this obnoxious." New York Times Book Review contributor Bliss Broyard similarly noted that "Marx wrings a lot of humor from academic life. While some jokes will be familiar—Eugene gives a talk titled ‘The Fallacy of Fallacies Is a Fallacy’—the supporting characters, mostly drawn from the students rather than the professors, won't." Broyard added: "Memorable mostly for their neuroses and zingers, this kooky cast nevertheless helps to make Marx's rendering of the experience of studying abroad recognizable in the best possible way."

Marx has also published a number of highly regarded books for young readers, too. In Now Everybody Really Hates Me, written with Jane Read Martin, a young girl stubbornly refuses to own up to a mistake. After Patty Jane Pepper is banished from a birthday party, she plots revenge on her family. She vows that she will never leave her bedroom, speak English, or clean the house again—until she cannot resist the lure of cake and ice cream. Calling the work a "high-spirited escapade," a critic for Publishers Weekly praised the authors' "comedic talents" and "jaunty text."

The headstrong youngster returns in Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table. In this sequel, Patty Jane matches wits with her older sister, Joy. Joy takes her role as babysitter quite seriously, refusing to let her sibling exit the dining room unless she finishes her spinach. In response, Patty Jane conjures up a number of unhappy scenarios for Joy, which include being sent to live with the elderly couple down the block. "Bouncy, brash, and beguiling" was how Horn Book reviewer Mary M. Burns described the work.

Meet My Staff introduces Walter, a clever but lazy boy with an entourage that handles all of life's unpleasant tasks for him. When Walter does not feel like writing a thank-you letter, he summons Monsieur Monsieur to handle the chore, and when he is presented with an undesirable item on his plate, Walter calls upon Lima Bean Man to consume it. "From their tasks to their titles, the characters will tickle youngsters—and most adults, who secretly covet such a brigade," related a contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Comedy has always played a significant role in Marx's life. As she told Nancy Franklin in the New Yorker: "Being funny was about the most important thing in the world to me. I remember saying to my mother and father about someone, ‘He's not even funny,’ and one of them said, ‘That's not the most important thing in the world.’ It came as a shock to me that humor wasn't the most important thing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 1993, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Now Everybody Really Hates Me, p. 453; August 1, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Meet My Staff, p. 2015; November 15, 2006, Rebecca Singer, review of Him Her Him Again the End of Him, p. 30.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 1, 1998, review of Meet My Staff, p. 138.

Chatelaine, February 1, 2007, "An Affair to Dismember," p. 30.

Entertainment Weekly, March 19, 1999, Clarissa Cruz, review of The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows about Dieting (and Won't Tell You!), p. 98; January 19, 2007, Jessica Shaw, review of Him Her Him Again the End of Him, p. 86.

Horn Book, September 1, 1996, Mary M. Burns, review of Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table, p. 582.

Instructor, March 1, 1999, review of Meet My Staff, p. 20.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Him Her Him Again the End of Him, p. 1095.

Library Journal, November 15, 2006, Robin Nesbitt, review of Him Her Him Again the End of Him, p. 58.

Newsweek, November 30, 1998, review of Meet My Staff, p. 72.

New Yorker, January 15, 2007, Nancy Franklin, "The Beginning of Her."

New York Times Book Review, April 24, 1994, Andrea Barnet, review of Now Everybody Really Hates Me, p. 24; January 14, 2007, Bliss Broyard, "Just Dump Him Already."

O, the Oprah Magazine, January 1, 2007, Patricia Volk, "Girl Meets Rat … Girl Loses Rat," p. 144.

People, June 7, 1999, Paula Chin, review of The Skinny, p. 45.

Publishers Weekly, July 15, 1988, Penny Kaganoff, review of Blockbuster, p. 60; July 12, 1993, review of Now Everybody Really Hates Me, p. 78; March 11, 1996, review of Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table, p. 63; August 10, 1998, review of Meet My Staff, p. 386; October 23, 2006, review of Him Her Him Again the End of Him, p. 32.

School Library Journal, March 1, 1994, Caroline Parr, review of Now Everybody Really Hates Me, p. 205; May 1, 1996, Linda Greengrass, review of Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table, p. 94; December 1, 1998, Sue Norris, review of Meet My Staff, p. 87.

Time, December 7, 1998, review of Meet My Staff, p. 218.

Today's Parent, April 1, 1999, review of Meet My Staff, p. 16.

Wall Street Journal, September 23, 1988, Julie Salamon, review of Blockbuster, p. 16.

Washington Post Book World, January 7, 2007, Caroline Deane, "The Philosopher Cad," p. 7.

ONLINE

MarketWatch,http://www.marketwatch.com/ (May 25, 2007), Jon Friedman, "Patricia Marx Understands Media's Foibles."

Patricia Marx Web log,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patricia-marx (May 25, 2007).

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