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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Julie Andrews’ ‘Home Work’: A Drop of Golden Sun

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Home Work

A Memoir of My Hollywood Years

By Julie Andrews

Non-Fiction/Memoir/Autobiography

Julie Andrews’ second memoir, Home Work is a substantial tome, clocking in at over five hundred pages. Is Home Work worth the time? Mom will let you know – if ever stops prancing around the house singing about female deer and a drop of golden sun. Oh, wait:

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer:

Prodigious & Pitch-Perfect

At 530+ pages, Home Work is a prodigious tome. But it doesn’t feel like it. The narrative is dynamic and engaging. As Andrews reflects on her experiences both on and off-screen and stage, she does so with pitch-perfect pacing and a charmingly candid writing style.

“I think, when singing, one exposes one’s soul… it boils down to an emotional response to music and lyrics and the way they touch one’s heart and soul.” – Julie Andrews, Home Work

Told in the first person, Home Work covers roughly twenty years, from the 1960s through the 1980s. It starts with Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and includes many insights and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the life and work of this legendary actress/singer. The chronology of life events is reinforced with select entries from the author’s personal diary. A generous number of photos is included.

Upbeat, Subtle Humor

Introspective and insightful, Home Work is also upbeat and laced with subtle humor. Refreshingly, Julie treats friends, family, colleagues and co-stars with grace and dignity. There’s plenty of travel between Los Angeles, London, and Switzerland as well as family drama. But no mud-slinging or malicious “Gotcha!” moments.

Additionally, Andrews chronicles not only her roles and performances, but also the physical, mental, and emotional demands of staying in peak singing and performing shape. Also rehearsals. Fittings. Hair and make-up tests. Pre and post-production. Staging and choreography. Budget over-runs. Opening entrance nerves. The myriad of details involved in making a movie. Filming a scene. Doing a concert or a television special. How performing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining as well as exciting and energizing.

Heartfelt & Inspiring

For those of us who grew up on Do-Re-Mi and a spoonful of sugar, realizing that “Fraulein Maria” is a great grandmother is kind of a shock. But this heartfelt, inspiring memoir confirms it.

What emerges over 500+ pages is an intimate portrait of a complicated, sensitive, somewhat insecure yet immensely talented and dedicated daughter, wife, mother, and stage and screen legend. Also lots of “drops of golden sun.” 

Now if I, Kimber the Magnificent, can just get Mom off that animated carousel horse and out of that chalk painting! Any ideas?

Our Rating: 3.5

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