- ISBN-13: 9780786865659
- ISBN-10: 0786865652
- Publisher: Hyperion Books
- Publish Date: April 2008
- Page Count: 339
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.46 x 1.09 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.46 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 48.
- Review Date: 2008-01-14
- Reviewer: Staff
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)
Julie Andrews' loverly memoir
Coming from anyone other than Julie Andrews, name-dropping would seem like bragging. Instead, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years simply offers the recollections of an extraordinary talent whose encounters with the theater and music glitterati of the 1940s, '50s and '60s shaped the formative years of her career. Andrews' writing is refreshing and authentic in its wide-eyed wonder, bolstered by her diaries and journals. Andrews performed with Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady and Richard Burton in Camelot on Broadway, married (and later divorced) legendary set and costume designer Tony Walton, hobnobbed with Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle, was mentored by the musical team of Lerner and Loewe, and became best friends withcomedian Carol Burnett. Walt Disney himself asked Andrews to be his Mary Poppins in what would turn into her Academy Award-winning debut film performance.
But the polished, refined Englishwoman whose accolades include Emmys, Golden Globes, a Kennedy Center Honor and three Tony Award nominations, started in 1935 as the oldest child of divorced parents, poor and poorly educated. When singing lessons from her stepfather opened a new world, Andrews took her big voice on the vaudeville circuit.
At times embracing her success, and at others overwhelmed by the pressure of providing for her family, Andrews honestly and often humorously recounts the seminal moments of her early career. While still in her teens, she sang for royals, debuted on the London stage and made her way to America's Great White Way. She lived in cold-water flats and luxurious apartments, found an island hideaway and struggled to balance the demands of fame and her own desires for security and home.
Always considered a class act by fellow performers, Andrews demonstrates in her memoir just why she's a grand dame of the entertainment world. She surely knows many dark secrets about countless theater, music and film legends, yet chooses to share only the best sides of them, and herself, in Home. Her generous nature shines through every word.
Mary Poppins is the first movie Kelly Koepke remembers seeing.