The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir (Hardcover)

The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir By Griffin Dunne Cover Image
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The instant New York Times bestseller! 

“Warm and perceptive.” New York Times


“Griffin Dunne knows how to tell a story." Washington Post

"Dunne is a prospector for the incandescent detail.”  Los Angeles Times

“What a remarkable and moving story filled with twists and turns, the most famous of faces, and a complex family revealed with loving candor. I was blown away by Griffin Dunne’s life and his ability to capture so much of it in these beautifully written pages.” —Anderson Cooper

Griffin Dunne’s memoir of growing up among larger-than-life characters in Hollywood and Manhattan finds wicked humor and glimmers of light in even the most painful of circumstances


At eight, Sean Connery saved him from drowning. At thirteen, desperate to hook up with Janis Joplin, he attended his aunt Joan Didion and uncle John Gregory Dunne’s legendary LA launch party for Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. At sixteen, he got kicked out of boarding school, ending his institutional education for good. In his early twenties, he shared an apartment in Manhattan’s Hotel Des Artistes with his best friend and soulmate Carrie Fisher while she was filming some sci-fi movie called Star Wars and he was a struggling actor working as a popcorn concessionaire at Radio City Music Hall. A few years later, he produced and starred in the now-iconic film After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese. In the midst of it all, Griffin’s twenty-two-year-old sister, Dominique, a rising star in Hollywood, was brutally strangled to death by her ex-boyfriend, leading to one of the most infamous public trials of the 1980s. The outcome was a travesty of justice that marked the beginning of their father Dominick Dunne’s career as a crime reporter for Vanity Fair and a victims' rights activist.

And yet, for all its boldface cast of characters and jaw-dropping scenes, The Friday Afternoon Club is no mere celebrity memoir. It is, down to its bones, a family story that embraces the poignant absurdities and best and worst efforts of its loveable, infuriating, funny, and moving characters—its author most of all.

About the Author


Griffin Dunne has been an actor, producer, and director since the late 1970s. Among his work, he produced and acted in After Hours; he directed Practical Magic and the documentary The Center Will Not Hold about his aunt, Joan Didion. Griffin and his dog, Mary, live in the East Village of Manhattan.

Praise For…


“Rueful and diverting . . . Irish touchstones, such as wit, guilt and silence, are all here, spangled with late-20th-century Hollywood stardust . . . Heartbreaking and wry.” —Wall Street Journal

“Warm and perceptive . . . This book [has] many well-wrapped little gifts . . . [and] pockets of real depth." The New York Times

“What makes these unimaginable events so readable, and allows Dunne to find a kind of grace even amid tragedy, are his unshakable black humor and unfailing nose for a good story . . . One might also detect the influence of Aunt Joan . . . Dunne, too, is a prospector for the incandescent detail.” Los Angeles Times

“Griffin Dunne knows how to tell a story . . . Here he uses his authorial gifts—a filmmaker’s eye, photographic memory and way with a quip—to great effect, exploring how the seemingly charmed lives of the Dunnes unraveled.” Washington Post

“Deft and multifaceted . . . A novelistic and compelling account of a life, and a self-deprecating guide to the Dunnes’s many highs and lows. It is a fond yet riveting family portrait.” —The Guardian

“A disturbing and hilarious account of his upbringing in a storied Hollywood dynasty.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“In this funny, revealing, and fascinating memoir, [Dunne] makes a strong case for himself as his storied family's latest brilliant writer . . . Despite the charm of his relationship with Carrie Fisher or making movies with Scorsese, the heart of Dunne's story is his family, including his late sister Dominique, whose murder (and the subsequent trial for it) is explored with tenderness and heart.” —Town and Country, Best Books of Summer 2024

“Full of wonderful tales. . . of light, life, and colour.” —The Guardian

“Dunne’s writing is vivid, openhearted, and full of a rich irony that inflects even the most emotional scenes . . . The result is a raucously entertaining homage to an unforgettable dynasty.” Publishers Weekly

“Captivating . . . beyond entertaining, honest in confronting heartbreaks and jealousies, often genuinely funny, and somehow understated . . . Dunne's storytelling is buoyant, his prose crisp; he's most definitely a writer . . . Clear-eyed, heartfelt . . . Readers will hope for future books.” Booklist (starred review)

“Searing and powerful . . . compelling in its honesty.” Library Journal

“What a remarkable and moving story filled with twists and turns, the most famous of faces, and a complex family revealed with loving candor. I was blown away by Griffin Dunne’s life and his ability to capture so much of it in these beautifully written pages.” —Anderson Cooper

“Griffin Dunne has given us a family history that is both humorous and heartbreaking. The Friday Afternoon Club is infused with the vitality that confidence in one's perceptions can bring and the ambiguity that accompanies the expense and strain of fame. Confessions of this order are works of art.” —Susanna Moore, author of Miss Aluminum
 
“Griffin Dunne has been entertaining peopleboth on-screen and offall his life. And though you probably know him best as a gifted actor, make no mistakeDunne is a real writer. The Friday Afternoon Club is a riveting and rollicking portrait of Dunne’s unconventional family as well as a deeply considered reckoning with the tragedy that exploded within it. He is honest about himself, generous with others, and insightful about every glittering and dark aspect of his richly lived years. He is alsolike the best entertainers—ridiculously funny. This is just a wonderful memoir. Period.” —Alexandra Styron, author of Reading My Father
 
The Friday Afternoon Club, Griffin Dunne’s singular memoir, is joyful, tragic, and resilient with a masterful, roving tone as varied as the actor-director-producer-author’s restless career. A self-described voracious reader and autodidact, Griffin renders the almost unbelievably American picaresque of his own and his family’s beginnings with a comic’s touch, and then has the spiritual maturity and writerly chops to handle both the looming tabloid heartbreak and its very personal, almost unbearable aftermath with unflinching honesty. Here is a talented man—flawed, injured, incomplete—a questing, charming, smart man taking on life (and death) day by day. His refusal of  ‘closure,’ the original Hollywood ending, is courageous and exemplary, and, like his father, and his aunt and uncle, and a host of unrecorded Irish American spinners of bittersweet tales in his colorful ancestry, Griffin takes his rightful place in a family and tradition of real writers.” —David Duchovny

“Despite the glamorous backdrops in California and New York, the author portrays a family whose core human experiences make them universally relatable . . . A poignant love letter and evidence that through it all, genuine love is the backbone that keeps a family strong.” Kirkus (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593652824
ISBN-10: 0593652827
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English