Title: Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Author/Narrator: Julie Andrews
Publication Year: 2008
Pages: 352 (audio length: 12 hours 24 minutes)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com
From the cover:
Since her first appearance on screen in Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews has played a series of memorable roles that have endeared her to generations. But she has never told the story of her life before fame. Until now.
In Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, Julie takes her listeners on a warm, moving, and often humorous journey from a difficult upbringing in war-torn Britain to the brink of international stardom in America. Her memoir begins in 1935, when Julie was born to an aspiring vaudevillian mother and a teacher father, and takes readers to 1962, when Walt Disney himself saw her on Broadway and cast her as the world’s most famous nanny.
Along the way, she weathered the London Blitz of World War II; her parents’ painful divorce; her mother’s turbulent second marriage to Canadian tenor Ted Andrews; and a childhood spent on radio, in music halls, and giving concert performances all over England.
Julie’s professional career began at the age of 12, and in 1948 she became the youngest solo performer ever to participate in a Royal Command Performance before the queen. When only 18, she left home for the United States to make her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, and thus began her meteoric rise to stardom.
Home is filled with numerous anecdotes, including stories of performing in My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison on Broadway and in the West End, and in Camelot with Richard Burton on Broadway; her first marriage to famed set and costume designer Tony Walton, culminating with the birth of their daughter, Emma; and the call from Hollywood and what lay beyond.
Julie Andrews’ career has flourished over seven decades, and her influence spans generations. Today, she lives with her husband of 38 years, the acclaimed writer/director Blake Edwards; they have five children and seven grandchildren.
When I saw this book pop up on Audible, I knew that I wanted to read it. Julie Andrews was a fixture in the movies of my childhood! And when I noticed that she narrated the audiobook itself, I was sold.
Home is the story of Andrews’ life before the point that I became familiar with her. Much of the book talks about her early life, particularly her childhood, and the struggles that she and her family went through in post-war England. She talks a lot about how she eventually started her professional career in singing and on the stage, but the most interesting parts for me were the anecdotes of things that occurred before she “made it”. I loved hearing about her innocence and the way that she interacted with her early fans, as well as hearing about the trials and tribulations of moving to America and beginning to work on Broadway (and live in New York city!).
While I’m sad that the book ends basically around the time that she starts getting involved in movies, it gives me something to look forward to in the future. If Andrews was as much a part of your childhood as mine, give Home a try. And if you find her voice magnificent and soothing (like me), then go for the audiobook. You won’t regret it.