I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
We meet the charming and innocent ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously "acceptable" roomers; the antics of their brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt; and the activities of the other brother these require no further description or amplification here. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE is a must for all nonprofessionals, a ready-made comedy hit. (source)
I had never heard of Arsenic and Old Lace before it was added to my tumblr book club's reading list by my friend Lizzy. In fact, even after she added it, I glanced at the title, thought to myself, "Hmm. Wonder what that's about?", and then immediately went on my merry way, not giving the book another thought until we started reading it this past week. It was only then that I found out that Arsenic and Old Lace is not, in fact, a book, but a play, and a darkly hilarious one at that.
This clever comedy features a vibrant cast of character: there's Mortimer, the theater critic who hates plays; his maybe-fiance Elaine, a preacher's daughter who's craving a little bit of scandal; Teddy, Mortimer's harmlessly insane brother who believes that he's Theodore Roosevelt; Jonathan, Mortimer's more dangerously insane brother who oddly resembles Boris Karloff, along with his goofy sidekick, Dr. Einstein (not Albert, sorry to disappoint)... and then there's the aunts, Martha and Abby, who are Brooklyn's favorite charitable spinsters - and, secretly, murderers. Kesselring gives his characters wickedly clever lines to match their dark backgrounds, and the result is magical.
This play was a fantastic mix of comedy and murder mystery (though, I guess there's really not much of a mystery to it, as we know exactly who the murderers are), and it kept my attention from the very beginning. I never would have guessed the way that everything turned out, but I think that everything ended perfectly. This is a new favorite of mine and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you don't typically read plays - this might be a great work to read to test the waters, so to speak. Next step - I've got to get my hands on a copy of the film adaptation!