the joys of parenting

Chris Buckley: Book Not a ‘Tell-All’ About My Parents. Seriously. I Mean It.

No matter how many times Chris Buckley says that his upcoming memoir, Remembering Mum and Pup, isn’t going to be a tell-all that paints his late parents, William F. and Pat Buckley, in a harsh light, we still don’t quite believe him. This morning “Page Six” quoted from a W profile on the writer: “This is not Daddy Dearest or Mommie Dearest, this is a love story,” Buckley said, referencing the classic exposé on Joan Crawford written by her adopted daughter Christina. “It just happens to be … a complex one.” But the W profile lifts sections of the book that would indicate otherwise:

Buckley pens a similarly mixed portrait of his father. WFB, as he was widely referred to, comes through as a great man who didn’t always have time for his son. Ten minutes into Christopher’s Yale graduation ceremony, Buckley Senior grew bored and took the other family members to lunch, leaving Christopher to wander the campus in search of them.


As Buckley’s own career and stature as a writer grew, his father was sometimes stinting in his approval. “This one didn’t work for me. Sorry,” he wrote in the postscript of an e-mail to his son, referring to Buckley’s new novel, which was receiving rave reviews. Recently, however, going through the numerous e-mails he’d received from his father, Buckley found compliments on his pieces in The New Yorker and other publications. “I may have been a little hard on [my father] — but not by much,” he says.

It’s Chris Buckley’s right to write whatever he wants about his parents and his childhood. He already has, in a way, by crafting characters in his novels who have uncaring fathers. But the more he says he’s not going to write a tell-all, the more people (like us) are going to look for evidence that that’s in fact exactly what he’s done.

Meet the Parents [W]

Chris Buckley: Book Not a ‘Tell-All’ About My Parents. Seriously. I Mean It.