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Home: A Memoir of My Early Years Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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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)
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Top customer reviews
As she states in the title, it's a memoir of her early years. Still, because the book is so good, I was disappointed when it ended, especially since it ends before she gets into Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, etc. She's a lovely writer. It would have been so pleasant to continue a few more hours with her.
The big surprise for me was how tough her childhood was. You never can tell about a person from the way they look and speak.
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...
This book covers her early life and career, both of which turned out to be quite interesting. Her writing style is open and easy, very readable and you feel immersed in her world as she describes it. When I finished this book, I got back on Amazon and was disappointed to discover there was no Part 2 covering the rest of her life and career.
Come on, Julie! Get on it!
To begin with her original name was Julia, after her Grandmother. But, when her mother divorced and re-married her mother and step-father wanted her to take her step-father's last name and they did not think that Julia went well with Andrews so they changed it to Julie. I also learned that she came from a quite talented family. Her mother was a pianist, her step-father was a singer, and her Aunt was a dancer and taught dance for years.
Julie was the first to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway, and the first to play Guinevere in Camelot on Broadway. I also discovered that Camelot was based on the book The Once and Future King by T. H. White. T. H. White (she called him Tim) and Julie became friends when she was cast in Camelot and she even bought a small cottage on the island where he lived which is owned by one of her children today.
This book goes into a lot of detail which usually I have a hard time with. I tend to want to get on with the story. But in this book the detail and the story are written together so well that I really enjoyed it. The book covers Julie Andrew's birth up until the time that she was cast to play Mary Poppins in the Disney Movie. She and her husband actually spent a day at Disneyland with Walt Disney himself riding all of the attractions with him. I hope that there is a sequel some day so that I can learn more about her fascinating life.