Saturday, November 12, 2022

Home Work: A memoir of my Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews ~ Book Review

This is Julie Andres memoir of her Hollywood years from her first foray into films with Mary Poppins and then immediately after Sound of Music through the years to Victor/Victoria.  She tells of her work life and her home life during those times.  Her marriage to Tony and subsequent divorce because of the constant separations that were a result of their jobs and the lovely daughter that came from that marriage, to her meeting Blake Edwards and their dating years and marriage.  The trials that they faced both on a personal level and career level were very much entwined as they made several films together.  Again within their marriage there was struggles because of separation brought about by career choices and decisions that weren't made well concerning where they lived and Blake's depression, hypochondriac tendencies, ex-wife issues, blended family life and on/off dependence on prescription medications for pain also strained the couple but they found a way to make their marriage work until Blake's death at the age of 88.  Told with honesty Julie dives into a lot of hot button issues and how it affected her life.

I really, really wanted to like this memoir, because Julie Andrews and her films Mary Poppins and Sound of Music were such a huge part of my younger years and I still watch those 2 films today,  but I found myself just iffy on the book. I thought I would enjoy it way more than I actually did.  I found myself skimming huge parts of it as I was finding large sections of it to be boring. Not sure if it's the writing style or all the name dropping, or that I'm just not in a place where I'm interested in reading about the problems of jetting around the world and living in Malibu, Switzerland, New York and LA., or if I just didn't connect with it once it got past the Mary Poppins and Sound of Music parts.  I realized that I didn't really like any of the movies much after those two.  And though she does get quite a bit into the Pink Panther movies that her husband made, which were favorites of my family when I was growing up, it kind of took the rosy hue off of those too when I read of all the issues with the actor that went on during the filming.   The story somehow just seemed a bit dry for me. There was something missing for me in the telling, something that didn't connect me emotionally.  I did really like reading about her adopted daughters from Vietnam which I knew nothing of and her trip there to both the Vietnam and Cambodian refugee camps that led to her efforts with Congress in getting more children from orphanages, especially those fathered by American soldiers, to better lives in the U.S.  I was hoping to read more of when she had throat surgery and all that entailed and the loss of her singing voice from that but the story never got that far.  It ended with her and Blake's effort to take Victor/Victoria to Broadway so I suspect a book 3 is probably in the works.  I know other people who loved this memoir so it could be that it just wasn't the right timing for me and this book.  

I always find memoirs a bit more difficult to rate as I always feel how can one rate someone's life so my rating goes to how the story is told.  I gave it a 7/10

Reading Challenge Goal Met:  November non-fiction choice


Barbara Harper said...

That's too bad. I don't know if it is this way for you, but I think for many it is hard to separate the actor from their characters. I would have been interested in hearing about the throat surgery and her "second career" with The Princess Diaries and later movies, too--but maybe that will come in another book.

Faith said...

oh i just LOVED Home and Home Work. Both books got a 10 from me. hahah but then again I've just always loved learning about her life and knew much of it from other sources. I highly doubt she will do a third one though. I've heard she is really slowing down.

Melanie said...

I enjoyed your take on "Home Work." I've read her "Early Years" memoire and enjoyed it mainly because I've always been fascinated with her. I remember when LPs were popular, sitting and listening to the soundtracks of the Broadway productions of Camelot and My Fair Lady. I did have to nod my head at some of your observations with "Home Work". I found the same thing in her "Early Years" book - of a lot of name dropping and some tedious parts. Maybe it's just her writing style or perhaps the editor but some was slow going. I too wish I knew more about her surgery and the loss of her voice. What a loss to the world!