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What Falls Away Paperback – December 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

There aren't many lives more steeped in celebrity than Mia Farrow's. The daughter of actress Maureen O'Sullivan and writer-director John Farrow, she grew up in Beverly Hills as a member of "the first generation of movie stars' children." Starting at the tender age of 19 she was involved with a succession of famous men--Frank Sinatra, André Previn, and Woody Allen--and has spent many years as a major film star in her own right. The book is casually populated with dozens of high-profile friends ranging from Yul Brynner and Salvador Dali to Michael Caine and Vladimir Horowitz. Yet Farrow's memoir has an unexpectedly honest, soul-searching quality, detailing her troubled inner life, her spiritual longings and pursuits (including a famous stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram, where her fellow inmates included the Beatles), and her passionate attachment to children. The book unflinchingly recounts her version of the ugly, very public breakup with Allen, including--rather bizarrely--the state supreme court's custody ruling in her favor in its 27-page entirety. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From Rosemary's Baby to all her babies: Mia in her own words.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553763342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553763348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 85 people found the following review helpful By D. Rizzo on August 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read a whole lot. I like biographies especially, but I shied away from this one for a long time, not interested in the over-feted ex Mrs. Previn/ ex Mrs. Sinatra whose boyfriend seduced her own adult daughter and was suspected of molesting their own child. However, as a strong adoption proponent, a TV show on Mia and her many children finally convinced me to give this book a chance.
I really enjoyed it.
The talented Miss Farrow is an effective narrator, recounting her life without fanfare or hyperbole. She admits to her own weaknesses (you should read Eddie Fisher's autobiography for a non-example of THAT!), and she confesses that her movie-baby upbringing skewed her perspective of normalcy that most of us take for granted. She didn't even realize Frank Sinatra was a legend at the time of their marriage, for example.
She bubbles over trials (polio as a youngster, the death of her father, her divorces) with the attitude that negativity deserves no chance to crush the present. However, she spends more time on Allen; her account rings with absolute sincerity as she describes the ongoing perversions of his behavior with their daughter Dylan (and readily confesses her own "wrongness" for not stopping the inappropriateness long before she actually did, earning my respect). She even included, in an appendix, the court decision refusing Allen custody of the three children they shared and the reasons why.
Her anger does appear in defense of Dylan and especially upon discovery of Allen's affair with Soon-Yi, her daughter with Andre Previn. She describes without an iota of rancor or hatred scenes of him attempting to justify himself, but I could not help but want to smack him hard for the damage he foisted on innocent children.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Farrow has had--and, I'm sure, continues to have--an amazing life, and she chronicles it fairly completely in this memoir. She writes very well, though at times a bit sententiously and over-dramatically. If what she writes about him is true (and the judge who presided over their custody battle apparently thought it was), then Woody Allen--a genius at making movies--is a true monster in other more important ways. She spells this out clearly and convincingly. However, to balance things out, she also has one significant flaw. Woody Allen--the active pedophile, possibly saved from conviction by Mia's desire to not drag her 7-year old daughter through another ugly court battle--is a failed human being. But what to make of Ms Farrow, who clearly spells out his ongoing cruelty to her children, but never seems to be able to say more to him than "Please don't"? She seems so terribly NEEDY, so helpless, so syrupy that at times in the book I wanted to shake her and shout "Grow up! You're an adult! Stop pleading! Fight back! There IS a life without Frank, or Andre, or Woody!" Each of her major relationships with the men in her life infatuation which moved quickly to marriage (or--with Allen--virtual marriage), a very dependent relationship, and fairly rapid loss of her partner's interest in her as a full human being. Her liaison with Allen was simply this pattern writ large, and her children paid what may be a terrible price for her helplessness and blindness, as she herself admits.Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Levi VINE VOICE on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have always wanted to know what exactly happened between Mia and Woody Allen (I knew he'd been accused of bad things regarding her daughter Soon-Yi but didn't know much more than that) and this book sheds a lot of light on those rarely-talked about circumstances. This relationship takes up a good portion of the book, which is to be expected because of the length of time they'd been together not to mention the custody battles. But I definitely found out way more than I had known coming into the book. She is awfully kind to Mr. Allen in the book by not totally attacking him like she could have, considering what he was accused of doing. I feel like she is honest and forthright enough to be believed in these matters. Fascinating stuff.

I'd always been interested in why she married Frank Sinatra as well, however I still feel like I didn't really get to find out exactly why they became interested in one another. I liked reading what glimpses into their life together she gave, like the time he came out of a casino in Vegas a little steamed over something that had happened inside moments earlier, hopped on a golf cart and drove away only to veer back suddenly (with Mia in the cart with him) and drive it into a plate glass window in the casino. Maybe it's in retrospect, but she really seems to take his behavior in stride.

And that's one little thing that irritated me in this book. Basically, it was how she was (and kind of still is) extraordinarily PASSIVE about things that would elicit much more of a response in people. If she hadn't been such a passive personality, she would never have gotten involved in ANY of her relationships. It's like she was a young girl being led around by whatever guy was interested in her at the time and she just did whatever they wanted to do.
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