Home: A Memoir of My Early Years

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years - Julie Andrews Edwards I enjoyed this very much. True, it doesn't cover that part of Julie Andrews' career which is the most familiar to me (the films, of course), ending as it does just as she is about to leave for Hollywood to make Mary Poppins. Nonetheless, the account of her unsettled childhood in a vaudeville family, some members of whom were plagued by alcoholism, goes far to explain why she has always been a remarkably tough survivor behind that image of "niceness" to which she has so often been unfairly reduced. I found her accounts of her meteoric rise to theatrical success (The Boyfriend, Camelot, My Fair Lady) to be extremely interesting, and she seems to have been remarkably tolerant, at least on the surface, of the various masculine sins of her co-stars Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. (I recently read a rather scurrilous collective biography of Burton/O'Toole/Harris/Reed, however, that suggested that while Andrews and Burton got on really quite well, she and Harris, who worked together on the movie Hawaii, could not abide each other. It makes me hope that she will get on with the next volume. :)

By far the most unexpected revelation was the story of the three men who had some claim to be called her father. The man she called "Dad" and was obviously very close to, was divorced from her mother fairly early on in her life. Then there was her stepfather, a Canadian named Andrews, who gave her his name but also, by the sounds of it, some rather bad moments, as did her unstable mother. The third man, whom she does not name, was her biological father - something she found out rather later in life, and was obviously hurt by. By what she says, she did not wish to establish a relationship with him.

This book has been passed into the custody of my female relatives, but I have made it clear that I want it back so that I can cross-reference it with other accounts of the same group of actors as I read them. In other words, it's into the permanent collection.