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Home: A Memoir of My Early Years Paperback – April 7, 2009
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"A frank, intriguing memoir."
"Painfully shrewd, and written with real delicacy and pathos."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Home reflects the very qualities that first made the working-class English singer a star 45 years ago: intelligence, gentle humor, and a clear, sweet, surprisingly powerful voice . . . In warmly nostalgic later chapters, the book begins to glow."
"A delightful remembrance of her own childhood, and an engrossing prelude to her cinematic career . . . 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."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Frank and fascinating . . . Andrews comes across as plainspoken, guilelessly charming and resoundingly tough."
In Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, Julie Andrews takes her readers on a warm, moving, and often humorous journey from a difficult upbringing in war-torn Britain to the brink of international stardom in America.
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I loved learning how her early years, performing in vaudeville with her parents and others, helped her become a successful actress and singer. She relates unusual and funny occurrences with delightful descriptions. Her early vocal training is described in detail, along with her various vocal teachers.
You see how she grew from a very shy girl to a world star, and at a very young age. As she grew older and began to travel to the United States for tours there, you get a glimpse of both the hardships of traveling alone without family, and the exhilaration of meeting stars she had heard about. You experience the burdens she carried of supporting her siblings and parents, all during her young career, at home, abroad, and again back home in England.
I was amazed all during the book, at the recall of people, places, and dates, included with the captivating stories. After finishing the book, I learned that she had a number of people researching the details. The book is absolutely packed with exemplary incidental information regarding culture, history, acting, voice, actors, relationships -- I imagine this book would appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, in addition to those like me, who have simply grown up loving Julie Andrews and her performances. After returning the library book, I prompting ordered my own copy.
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.
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!
Andrews writes thoughtfully about her family, her first marriage and the development of her talent. She clearly strives to share what she learned along the way, and that sincerity is winning. To a greater extent than other "star" memoirs, she writes seriously about the continuous work involved in developing her vocal skill and performing talent.
She is gracious in her assessments of the many topnotch artists she worked with, many of them legends like actors Rex Harrison, Richard Burton and Roddy McDowell; writer/producer Moss Hart and his wife Kitty Carlisle; composers Richard Rodgers, Frederick Loewe and Stephen Sondheim; writers Noel Coward and T. H. White (who wrote "The Once and Future King" on which "Camelot" was based).
Andrews writes about her early forays into live TV in the 1950s and about her long, loving friendship with Carol Burnett. In one of my favorite passages, she expresses what it's like on those evenings during live performances when you totally connect with the audience and they with you. Her description of this sublime communion is so evocative, it gave me goose-bumps. Andrews even takes the time to acknowledge the "little people" (NOT her phrase!) - housekeepers, baby nurses, secretaries - who helped her manage her eventful life. Now that's classy.
The book stops just as Walt Disney has given Andrews the lead role in "Mary Poppins." I assume she plans a follow-up volume dealing with her life and career after that. I can't wait. I read a lot of history and political commentary, so this was a "loverly" change of pace and totally worthwhile.
Most recent customer reviews
Pretty much the best Broadway book of any type. Enjoy!
In her book Ms. Andrews gives us an insight into her childhood years, growing up in a musical...Read more