Jean

Kerr

Jean Kerr was a woman with a great style of writing; she was like Thorton Wilder
in the sense that she likes to see the big picture in life. She uses logic in
her writings. Her family somewhat affected her type of writing. She tended to
focus on the humorous aspect of her life and that could relate to almost
everyone who read her works. Kerr had a wonderful sense of humor and that helped
her write on the level of her readers. Jean Kerr was born July 10, 1923 in

Scranton, Pennsylvania to Kitty and Thomas Collins. Her father was a building
contractor, her mother was a housewife, and she had a younger sister. She is a
very pretty woman with a nice Irish complexion and she is very tall. She went to

Marywood Seminary and the college, both in Scranton. While working in the
schoolís play she met her future husband, Walter Kerr. At that time he was a
drama critic, and he persuaded her to move to Washington DC and the Catholic

University to study. Then after dating for two years, Walter and Jean were
married on August 16, 1943. The newly married couple did many things together,
including writing plays. Their first play was The Song of Bernadette, an
adaptation of a novel by Franz Werfel. This play made it all the way to Broadway
but closed after only three performances. The reviews for this were mixed, to
some it was "far superior to the movie..." (Candee 222) and to others it was"conventionally written with too little compulsion and excitement" (Candee

222). With the influence of her husband she tended to write better plays, but
her greatest influence is probably her children. She is said to have written
most of her works in her car just a few blocks away from the house and the
children. She has one daughter and five sons, enough to make a whole library of
funny tales about everyday happenings of ordinary people can all relate to. Kerr
wrote about the problems that are faced in everyday life and focused on the
humorous side of them. She also has said, "the most important thing is that I
am a Catholic. Itís a superstructure within which you can work, like the
sonnet. I need that." (Wakeman 780). Her religion was very important to her;
she is very involved in the Catholic religion. Kerrís most famous work was

Touch and Go, a comedy in which Kerr and her husband make fun of intelligent
topics with fast dexterity. This play ran 176 performances on Broadway. Jenny

Kissed Me, Finishing Touches, Mary, Mary, and King of Hearts also made it to

Broadway, the latter play running for nine months. Mary, Mary was another of her
plays to get mixed reviews. Henry Howes said it was "two almost constantly
funny hours of her own brand of comic verisimilitude."(Wakeman 779) Gerald

Weales thought, "every line is a laugh line" (Wakeman 779). Yet other were
still unimpressed with it and said it was "thin as glass and just as
transparent" (Wakeman 779). The play Finishing Touches got some good reviews;
it was labeled professional and elegant. Kerr also wrote a couple of books about
everyday life and the humorous aspects of it. Please Donít Eat the Daisies was
her best book and stayed on the bestseller list for more than twenty weeks.

Elizabeth Janeway said it was "a very funny book by a woman with a wonderful
eye and ear for those moments of lunacy in which every normal life abounds" (Wakeman

780). This book was about the typical catastrophes that mothers face everyday.

Please Donít Eat the Daisies was filmed and a television series was made from
it. The Snake Has All the Lines and Penny Candy was two more of her works. A few
critics found The Snake Has All the Lines to be a lot funnier than Please

Donít Eat the Daisies, but for the most part the latter book was more popular.

In The Snake Has All the Lines she tends to be nicer and more consistent when
telling stories about her family. Penny Candy was yet another story that Kerr
tells anecdotes about her family and what seems to be typical with almost every
truly American family. This book did not seem to make the same impression on
critics even though it was just as good as her others. Kerrís style was a
popular style of her day, many women could relate because they were stay at home
moms and dealt with