Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Mother Was Nuts - A Memoir: A Book Review

About The Book:

Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way.

My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.

Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.


About The Author:

Penny Marshall is an actress, producer, and director. From 1976 until 1983, she starred as Laverne DeFazio in the classic TV sitcom Laverne and Shirley. She went on to direct films such as Big (1988), the first movie directed by a woman to gross in excess of $100 million at the U.S. box office, Awakenings (1990), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and A League of Their Own(1992), which also made over $100 million in the U.S. More recently, she has directed episodes of United States of Tara (2009) and guest-starred on Portlandia(2011).

My Review:

Penny Marshall is best known for her role as Laverne in the classic tv show, Laverne and Shirley. She has also made several great movies over the years, so I was intrigued to see what her memoir would be like.

 Honestly, I was not impressed. Though it is a quick and easy read, I was really disappointed that despite unsuccessful marriages, relationships and repeatedly talking about her drug use, Marshall never seemed to learn any lessons and repeated negative behaviors often. Not what I want to read about in a memoir if we are to be honest. 

I found that the end of the book, when she spoke of making movies, she seemed way more happy, even bordering on having a big ego, complete with a lot of name-dropping of famous friends and family. As interesting as the book was (and it was), I just did not feel like Marshall went deep enough with how life events impacted her to be a better person, or how these events could teach the reader something. This is something I look for when reading memoirs, and it just was not present in this book.

Overall, it was not a great read, and I cannot recommend this book

BUY IT: You can purchase My Mother Was Nuts at your favorite bookseller from Thomas Allen and Sons. It is also available through Amazon

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Thomas Allen and Sons, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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