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.
©2012 Penny Marshall (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Name dropping in the extreme. Never really showed any emotional connection with her mother except when telling about her dying.
Not is she was going to narrate it She should have taken breaks to blow her nose.
Felt like she was reading just to get through with it. Also needed to blow her nose and not sniff while reading.
The endless lists of names that didn't add anything to the story.
Tuesday nights were a really big deal when I was a kid growing up in the Midwest. We just HAD to be home at 7 pm - prime time starts early there - to watch Happy Days on ABC, one of only five channels. The kid that missed the show had to swallow pride and risk ostracism by those in the know to find out what The Fonz was up to. Laverne & Shirley, a spin-off, aired at 7:30 pm. I liked that even better. I can still do the arm and arm "schlemiel, schlimazel, Hasssnpeffer, Incorporated" song and dance.
Penny Marshall (Laverne) went on to produce and direct films, including "A League of their Own" (1992), a favorite of mine. I sometimes wondered how one family produced her and her brother, Garry Marshall, an actor, director, writer, and producer; how she ended up married to Rob Reiner, and then divorced; why she is such famous friends with Hollywood scion Carrie Fisher, a really funny writer who has acted in a film or two . . .
"My Mother was Nuts"(2012) answers these questions, and so many more. It's a fun romp through post WWII New York, and Hollywood from the 1970's to the present. Marshall seems to know everyone, and she likes them. If there's a falling out, she makes the first move to patch things up. She actually got (Paul) Simon & (Art) Garfunkel back on singing terms for a while. The only 'dirt' she dished in this book was on herself.
There is something missing, though: there's a complete lack of introspection about herself, and speculation about why other people do things. I don't know if that is just the way Marshall is, or if that was the way she wrote the memoir. Since a memoir is not an autobiography, that lack of analysis may have been intentional.
This is a new genre for me - I don't think I've ever read or listened to a Hollywood memoir. The closest I've come is Richard Rhodes "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World" (2011). Lamarr was an actress who happened to invent and patent the technology cell phones rely on today. I got a great Audible deal on ""My Mother was Nuts", and I knew I could return it if I didn't like it, so I gave it a whirl. It was an enjoyable way to make the weekend chores bearable.
As to the narration - well, a Bronx accent can be grating, but there's no one else I would have rather listened to narrate "My Mother was Nuts".
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I just took it for what it is. Would I want her life style in exchange for fame and fortune? Absolutely not. I would never trade places with her and I would not hold her up as an example of morality. Hahahaha far from it. Still, it was the life she knew, and she was a talented and funny woman. This was an interesting read and I did enjoy much of it. I enjoyed listening to Marshall's great New York accent and learned a lot from her outlook on life. I don't think she was holding herself up as some role model or saying that someone else should seek her life style. It was an eye opener in a way. Not sure if I can recommend it unless it is to someone who, like me, can take it for what it is.
Someone who wants to know who hangs out with whom in Hollywood would enjoy this book.
I purchased this book because I enjoyed her brother's memoir immensely. However, Ms. Marshall spent much time listing off all of the famous people that she knows, especially those who attend her birthday bashes. And the link between the title of the book and her life story was quite weak.
Fewer lists and better life link to the title.
The book had several entertaining parts and I enjoyed learning the backstory of Laverne and Shirley as well as several of the movies that she has directed (e.g. Awakenings filmed in an actual mental hospital).
I would not recommend this to friends.
My impression from the title was that this book dealt more with her childhood, with an emphasis on her relationship with her mother, and that was not the case. In my opinion, the title was misleading though I must admit I should have read the summary first. After finishing the book, I have no sense of why she feels her mother was nuts - quirky yes, nuts - no.
I really enjoyed the first part of the book, where she talked about her childhood and growing up in New York. I would have MUCH preferred hearing more about that - and her time in her mother's dance studio, delivered with Penny Marshall's unique sense of humor, rather than what most of the book dealt with. I had zero interest in hearing who came to her parties, what she donated to people, what actors auditioned for roles, and particularly what drugs she did.
At first, I thought I would not like having Penny read the book herself but once into it farther, decided that was a very smart decision. Who else could deliver it, with her tone and nuances, and make it believable except her? No one.
In the end, it was an OK book - would I recommend it? I think there are a lot better books to spend your money on.
I loved this autobiography! Penny Marshall is very entertaining and drew great mental pictures of her upbringing in the Bronx. It was fun learning about the depth of her career and all the other kids from her neighborhood who made it big in entertainment. Penny's voice is, well, Penny's voice but the naturalness of her accent is part of the charm of her story. This book is filled with fun anecdotes and self-effacing introspection (more of the former.) I zipped through it.
Hate to read but have enjoyed listening to books.
I enjoyed hearing Penny herself tell the story.
yes, she claims not to be a good impersonator but I thought she did a good job.
The beginning was kind of sad and I needed a little break but by a few hours into it; I wanted more.
Would recommend this book.
Being from NY and having always liked Penny Marshall, I found it easy to like this story. She was absolutely hysterical at parts, sentimental and brutally honest at others. I especially loved hearing her accent (I now live in Texas, and that TRUE NY accent isn't something you hear everyday). I looked forward to turning on the book everyday, just to hear the voice.
Her reflections of her youth are especially honest and touching. That she remembers so much about it and is willing to share it, yeah...it felt like I was right there in her mothers' dance studio too. I also felt like a part of the story, when she'd talk about all the midnight gatherings of fellow artists and friends.
I laughed out loud throughout this book, and even shed a few tears...mostly bc you could HEAR it in her voice just how sincere she was at the hurt she was feeling.
THANK YOU, PENNY, for sharing the story and your voice!! This is one I will KEEP in my library and listen to again!!! I HIGHLY recommend to people who can tolerate that accent...its an acquired (NY) taste!
The Memoir was funny and at times kept me wanting to listen, but over all the book was not the best..I guess unless you knew all the people she was writing about it might of made a difference, but i just could not get into it.
The book had its good qualities, but not sure i would recommend this book!!
Really enjoyed this as an audiobook. At the start, feels as though Penny is reading her story rather hurriedly which takes away from what she is sharing. But, this fades a few chapters in and her delivery becomes a comfortable chat. While not a chronological telling of her life, it feels connected and works well. Her narrative, humor, candor, irreverence, lifetime of professional and personal experiences and connections -- make for a great "read." As with her brother, Garry Marshall's memoir, I feel that I could listen to them again -- for the frankness and humor in the delivery of their stories.
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