Happy Days: My Mother, My Father, My Sister & Me
Shana Alexander spent much of her life trying to figure out her enigmatic parents, Milton and Cecelia Ager. The eccentric fifty-seven-year Ager marriage had begun at the start of the Jazz Age, 1922, when twenty-nine-year-old Milton, already a prince of Tin Pan Alley, met Cecelia, a chic twenty-year-old California blonde. Milton went on to compose such classics as "Ain't She Sweet?" and "Happy Days Are Here Again". Cecelia's lethal columns in Variety on the fashionable and fatuous eventually led to stints as a Hollywood screenwriter and a celebrated Manhattan movie critic. The Agers moved in a charmed circle that included George and Ira Gershwin and Dorothy Parker. But they gave new meaning to the term private life. Husband and wife were complete opposites, pursuing different tastes and passions, even living on different timetables - she by day, he by night - and occupying separate quarters in the hotel suites and furnished apartments they called home. Happy Days is literally the book Shana Alexander was born to write. Along the way, we get a startlingly honest account of Alexander's own life, professional and personal: her successful career as a writer and commentator for Life, Newsweek, and 60 Minutes, counterpointed by the story of her troubled marriages and dramatic love affairs.