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Home: A Memoir of My Early Years Hardcover – Apr 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 theatre, 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
But the path from her origins to those heights was not the expected one. In this candid memoir, Ms. Andrews takes us for an eye-opening ride through her family's genealogy, her career as a youthful vaudeville star, her experiences in becoming her family's sole support at a young age, and the many amazing things that happen in performing companies. It's a wild trip!
Before the book ends, she gives us behind-the-scenes looks at many of the giants of 20th century entertainment including Moss Hart, Alan Jay Lerner, Fritz Lowe, T.H. White, Walt Disney, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton, and Carol Burnett.
She is a lady in all that she has to say, but she does have opinions. The finely nuanced reading captures her true feelings in subtle ways that the book cannot hope to do. I could have listened to this recording all night, every night. It was marvelous!
Julie Andrews is the epitome of class. Having starred in such classic films like Victor Victoria, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and more, she's one of the best actresses we have on the planet with a voice that moves even the coldest soul.
She's also one hell of a writer. This memoir tells of her upbringing in England and how she struggled to become an actress. It ends just before she reaches fame, so it really is a memoir of her early years. I can only hope that she continues her memoirs with a second volume because the first one left me begging for more.
Just as classy and wonderful and intimate as Dame Julie Andrews is in real life, the book feels like an intimate get together with your best friend. It's wonderfully written, an insightful look at the beginnings at one of the worlds greatest talents and just plain fantastic.
After reading this memoir, I admired her even more and never lost my earlier love for all of her work and her music. I can't wait until the next memoir of the later years is published.
Most recent customer reviews
Thank you so much for sending this book when you indicated it would arrive! This "early biography" of Julie's pre-war years beginning her performance career as a youngster... Read morePublished 14 months ago by W. Ian Walker
Some what ok, to much info that I didn't need to know or was not instrumental to the story or her lifePublished on Feb. 9 2013 by Bev