I’m not a huge fan of Julie Andrews, but I’ve always kind of liked her. She’s, well, nice and she’s aged so beautifully, and I have tons of respect for her, and I guess I have a bit of curiosity about her life. So, I figured, why not read her memoir of her early years?
And for the most part, it’s a fine book. I especially enjoyed listening to it in audio form, hearing Ms. Andrews tell stories about her parents (you can tell she adores her dad); her stepfather, whose name she ended up with (he was an alcoholic); her life in vaudeville (she ended up supporting her family for quite some time); her leap into Broadway (a bit of a fluke and a lucky chance); and her time on Broadway in My Fair Lady and Camelot.
But I didn’t love the book. I don’t think it was because her life lacked conflict; there were all sorts of ups and downs as she was trying to figure out who she was (other than that “cute girl with the freakish voice”) and how to make her way in the world. I also don’t think it was because she ended the book just as I thought it was getting really interesting. No, it was because Julie Andrews can’t ever say anything truly bad about anyone or anything. Even her stepfather, who really was quite creepy to her a couple of times (he gave her her first kiss, tongue and everything), whom she was never really close to, she was unwilling to actually speak harshly about.
The other unintended side effect of that inclination was that she tended to gush about everything. It was always “lovely” or “marvelous” or “exquisite” or “grand” or “delightful,” and sometimes all at once. I did get to the point in the book where I swore if she gushed about one. more. thing., I was going to toss it out the window. (I never did, though.)
So, there you have it: Julie Andrews’ virtue of being nice to everyone is actually a fault when it comes down to it — at least in memoir writing.
Which is just too bad.
Rated: Mild. It could be a none; I really don’t think she swears at all, but I may have just glossed over it. Nothing really stood out, at any rate.