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Home: A Memoir of My Early Years Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786865652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786865659
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Syphilis, alcoholism, infidelity, and indeterminate parentage may seem improbable touchstones in the back story of one who didn't so much portray as embody the blithe Maria in The Sound of Music. But as this memoir of her formative years makes clear, there is more gravitas to Andrews than meets the eye. From her childhood in rural England and initial forays into British theater, to her first massive successes on Broadway and in the West End--notably as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady--Home puts her celebrated career in context. While arguably offering more detail about the Andrews family than necessary, it nevertheless dishes wonderful anecdotes about legends and Andrews contemporaries like Noël Coward, Rex Harrison, Robert Goulet, Richard Burton, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, in prose as crisp and immaculate as the author herself. It also offers a revealing look into the intricate, exhaustive craft of performing--skills often taken for granted in tabloid times. Since the book ends just as Andrews is about to launch into the celluloid stratosphere, can Volume II be far behind? After Home, it would be most welcome. --Kim Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Andrews, who has written several children's books (The Great American Mousical; Mandy), both solo and with her daughter, now dances in a different direction with this delightful remembrance of her own childhood and engrossing prelude to her cinematic career. Spanning events from her 1935 birth to the early 1960s, she covers her rise to fame and ends with Walt Disney casting her in Mary Poppins (1963). Setting the stage with a family tree backdrop, she balances the sad struggles of relatives and hard drinkers with mirthful family tales and youthful vocal lessons amid rationing and the London Blitz: My mother pulled back the blackout curtains and gasped—for there, snuggly settled in the concrete square of the courtyard, was the incendiary bomb. A BBC show led to a London musical at age 12: My song literally stopped the show. People rose to their feet and would not stop clapping. Her mother's revelation of her true father left her reeling when she was 15, but she continued touring, did weekly BBC broadcasts and was Broadway-bound by 1954 to do The Boyfriend. The heart of her book documents the rehearsals, tryouts and smash 1956 opening of My Fair Lady. Readers will rejoice, since Andrews is an accomplished writer who holds back nothing while adding a patina of poetry to the antics and anecdotes throughout this memoir of bittersweet backstage encounters and theatrical triumphs. (Apr. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

JULIE ANDREWS EDWARDS is one of the most recognized and beloved figures in the entertainment industry. Her legendary career encompasses the Broadway and London stages, blockbuster Hollywood films, award-winning television shows, multiple album releases and concert tours and the world of children's publishing.

Andrews' dedication to children has been steadfast throughout her career. She began writing books for young readers over thirty-five years ago and her first two novels - MANDY and THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES - remain in print and in high demand. Her other books include the LITTLE BO series, and over 20 picture books, novels and Early Readers co-authored with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, including the best-selling DUMPY THE DUMP TRUCK series, SIMEON'S GIFT, DRAGON: HOUND OF HONOR, THE GREAT AMERICAN MOUSICAL, THANKS TO YOU: Wisdom from Mother and Child (#1 NY Times Bestseller), the VERY FAIRY PRINCESS series (#1 NY Times Bestseller), and the poetry anthologies JULIE ANDREWS' COLLECTION OF POEMS, SONGS AND LULLABIES and JULIE ANDREWS' TREASURY FOR ALL SEASONS.

Together the best-selling mother-daughter team head-up "The Julie Andrews Collection" publishing program, dedicated to publishing quality children's books which nurture the imagination and cultivate a sense of wonder.

Andrews considerable charitable work has been consistent throughout her career, and in 2000 the title of Dame Julie Andrews was bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II for lifetime achievements in the arts and humanities. Her many other honors include being named "One of the 100 Greatest Britons" by the British Broadcasting Corporation, serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations' UNIFEM program, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, ambassadorships for literacy programs as the American Library Association's National Library Week and Ready. Sit. Read!, and a prestigious Kennedy Center honor in the fall of 2001.

Andrews was married to the late film director Blake Edwards, and has five children, eight grandchildren,and two great-grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

This was a very well written book.
Karen Kendall
After spending two hours in line to get her to autograph my copy of this book, I was hoping it was worth reading.
S. W. Best
I've always loved Julie Andrews and this book is a fine read for all fans!
David Jarman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am convinced that any baby boomer who does not admit to having had a bit of a crush on Julie Andrews is lying. I recall even as a toddler how I begged my parents to let me see Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music multiple times only to enjoy those movies again in sing-along versions forty years later. The crispness of her vocal delivery and the angularity of her wholesome appeal just seemed right before the counter-cultural revolution took over with the escalation of the Vietnam War. However, she does not get to that career pinnacle in her memoir, as her story stops just as she flew to Los Angeles in 1963 to film Mary Poppins. It's a major credit to Andrews that she makes intriguing those early years prior to her international success with such perceptive candor and gentle humor. Perhaps because of her long-standing success as a children's book author, she displays a great deal of dexterity as a writer.

Andrews' childhood memories are full of self-effacing observations about a most unenviable home life. Belying her image of elegant breeding, she was raised in poverty by an alcoholic mother and a lecherous stepfather during the dwindling days of vaudeville in England. Already a part of her parents' music hall act by age nine, Andrews found she had an acrobatic soprano voice that so astounded the press that she performed for the Queen and became a nightly sensation at the London Palladium.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By DVD buff on April 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Coming some 60 years after her first professional recording, this audiobook is sort of the pinnacle of Ms. Andrews' recording career. The life of Julie Andrews, as written by Julie Andrews, and read to you, as if she were personally telling you the story of her life, by Julie Andrews.

Ms. Andrews' life and career have both been well-documented by biographers, but everything takes on new meaning and becomes personal when told by Ms. Andrews herself. And, of course, there are anecdotes and details that only Ms. Andrews herself can share with her audience, so there is much for even the most devoted fan to learn from this book. Here, she tells the story of her life from her earliest childhood to her career as a child star, from her journey to Broadway and television through to being cast by Walt Disney in MARY POPPINS.

The audiobook on CD is 13 hours long, spread over 11 CDs. Each disc contains seven to ten tracks; some chapters are one track long, and others are two to three tracks long. The production is straightforward and what you would expect of an audiobook -- read clearly, recorded well. Of course, I'd be happy hearing Ms. Andrews read the dictionary to me, but there is something magical and mesmerizing about her voice here, describing her own life.

At the end of the audiobook, Ms. Andrews says, "Thank you for listening." This is the only detail she has wrong -- we, the audience, should be saying to her, "Thank you for telling." I only hope we don't have to wait too long for the next part of the Julie Andrews story...
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Susan Eisenberg on April 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came of age listening to the original cast recordings of MY FAIR LADY and CAMELOT, and my first glimpse of Julie Andrews was in snippets from the latter show on ED SULLIVAN. I fell in love with her crystalline soprano and crisp diction and have always followed her career. When I heard she was writing a memoir of her early years, I couldn't wait to read it. After the book arrived from Amazon, I devoured it in two sittings, staying up late to finish. In beautiful, unflinching prose she fills in the gaps I've wondered about over the years, giving insights into her evolution from a young English girl with a big voice to the coloratura toast of Broadway--a transition she made with grit and talent. Ms. Andrews depicts a childhood that forced her to leave school at 14 and support her family with her singing, but there's not a trace of self-pity. She also shares details about her vocal training with Lilian Stiles-Allen. If you're a Julie Andrews fan, you'll want to buy this book and immerse yourself in her memories. She's a "fair lady," all right, and still the queen of the golden age of musicals. Brava, Ms. Andrews, and many thanks! -- from Susan Dormady Eisenberg, contributing writer to Classical Singer Magazine & author of the novel, THE VOICE I JUST HEARD.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Budgell on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When it was announced that Home, Julie Andrews' much anticipated memoir would only cover until she began Mary Poppins, I was initially disappointed. But as I began delving into Home, I realized the detail she was able to afford her early years by doing so allowed a story to unravel that was absolutely absorbing; something that likely been comprised had Home chronicled her entire illustrious career. I was very ignorant of Julie's early career, thinking it essentially began with My Fair Lady on Broadway. What I didn't know was the dark lonely childhood lived in poverty during the war. Unlike Elizabeth Taylor, Julia (as she was originally named) did not have the luxury of seeking refuge elsewhere, and was forced to remain in a very bleak and dark London; many nights spent huddled in one of the city's Underground stations with her mother and her new stepfather who she despised. Weekends spent with her father in the countryside provided fleeting moments of happiness for the young girl.

As she grew a little older, her stepfather discovered that she had an extremely powerful singing voice, and she was quickly enrolled in lessons. In no time she was shoved onstage to entertain crowds alongside her parents in dusty old music halls across England. Julie, known as the "pigtail prodigy," became the centerpiece of the act, much to the frustration of her jealous stepfather, who was an alcoholic. In Home, Julie intimately remembers her early days spent touring around England during the dying days of vaudeville. As interest in the family act begins to dissipate, Julie appears in Christmas pantomimes and on the radio, and catches the eye of producers who are mounting the Broadway production of The Boy Friend, a recent musical hit there on the West End.
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