Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant

Having a crummy day and need something to lift your spirits? What you need is a little Cary Grant in your life. What you need is some Good Stuff. Grant was fond of this phrase and used it whenever he was happy about something, and it’s also the title of the book written about him by his only child, daughter Jennifer Grant. Now, if you’re looking for dirty family secrets and tabloid fodder, look elsewhere. You won’t find any of that in Good Stuff. In Jennifer’s eyes, Grant was a thoughtful and loving father, and she absolutely adored him. That adoration positively shines through on every page of this slim volume, making it a glowing tribute to one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. While most people are only familiar with Grant as the charming movie star and ladies' man, Jennifer saw a much more intimate side of him. She knew him as a man who could grow teary-eyed at the singing of the national anthem, a homebody who often ate dinner in front of the television with her while watching their favorite sitcoms, and a father who was never afraid or embarrassed to tell her how much he loved her. That he doted on Jennifer is an understatement; indeed, he gave up his movie career to focus solely on raising her.  But while he made sure she never wanted for anything, he also taught her the value working hard and earning one’s way in the world. Good Stuff is filled with family anecdotes, pictures, and snippets from the “Jennifer Grant Archives.” Yes, her father kept meticulous records of her childhood, everything from tape recordings to letters to Super 8 movies; practically anything she touched was fair game to be filed away for safekeeping. It’s through these mementos that he speaks to her still, “a little grumble with a Cheshire cat sparkle in the mix,” and gives us a glimpse of the type of man and father he truly was. Trust me, it really is good stuff, and it will make you smile.

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