Home, A Memoir of My Early Years, by Julie Andrews. Yes, this memoir is written by *the* Julie Andrews, the chanteuse extraordinaire in Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, etc.
It’s a nice book. And no, I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise. I just mean that the book is as nice as we always hoped Julie Andrews truly was, in real life. What is startling is the very difficult childhood Andrews came through – and came through well, which many may not have. Alcoholic parents, poverty and neglect, hard work from a very young age, half-siblings to care for from the new marriages of both parents, being the primary bread-winner for her mother’s family from adolescence on – Andrews relates all this frankly and calmly. You can tell from her detailing of many difficult events that she was a sensitive child and adult. But there isn’t a hint of self-pity or recrimination anywhere. Life was what it was and most of all, she is grateful for the opportunities that came to her life, and the abundance of love in it. It’s a very British tale in some ways. No whingeing Pom here though, only the stiff-upper-lip sort!
Her professional-life stories are great. I didn’t know she was a stage actor as much (more actually) as a movie star. Her stories about acting with Rex Harrison, Richard Burton, Canadian Robert Goulet, etc., are a book highlight – brutally honest, but affectionate and amusing too.
I enjoyed it very much. I also enjoyed the writing, which is crisp and clear.