Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Title: Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Author: Julie Andrews
A personal account of the iconic actress’s pre-fame life traces the time between her birth in 1935 and her discovery by Walt Disney during her 1962 Broadway performance in Camelot, a period marked by her relationships with a vaudevillian mother and teacher father, the World War II London Blitz, and her work as a Royal Command Performance child soloist.
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 theater, 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