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My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir | [Penny Marshall]

My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir

her life story going her humble roots in the Bronx to one of the most liked and respected figures in the entertainment business, also covering her marriage to Rob Reiner and relationships with Art Garfunkel, Carrie Fisher, and John Belushi, and her bout with lung and brain cancer in 2009, to Julia Cheiffetz
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Marla COLUMBIA FALLS, MT, United States 06-14-13
    Marla COLUMBIA FALLS, MT, United States 06-14-13 Member Since 2011

    56 year old working wife, mother and grandmother.

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    "I guess I should probably just READ the book."

    I was flabbergasted that people are saying how much they like listening to Penny Marshall. I just can't get into the book because I feel like I am listening to an amateur read. She talks to fast....it sounds like she is trying to hurry up and get done. I would like to read her story though but I am going to ask for a refund on this one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 12-20-12
    Patricia 12-20-12
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    "Mom wasn't the only nut."
    What disappointed you about My Mother Was Nuts?

    Name dropping in the extreme. Never really showed any emotional connection with her mother except when telling about her dying.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Penny Marshall? Why or why not?

    Not is she was going to narrate it She should have taken breaks to blow her nose.


    What didn’t you like about Penny Marshall’s performance?

    Felt like she was reading just to get through with it. Also needed to blow her nose and not sniff while reading.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from My Mother Was Nuts?

    The endless lists of names that didn't add anything to the story.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 01-13-14
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Schlemiel! Schlimazel!"

    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".

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    25 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Minerva Butler Redmond, WA, United States 09-13-13
    Minerva Butler Redmond, WA, United States 09-13-13

    MB

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    "Heavy on Name Dropping - Light on Life Reflection"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who wants to know who hangs out with whom in Hollywood would enjoy this book.


    What was most disappointing about Penny Marshall’s story?

    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.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Fewer lists and better life link to the title.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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).


    Any additional comments?

    I would not recommend this to friends.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi Milwaukee, WI USA 07-23-13
    Kathi Milwaukee, WI USA 07-23-13 Member Since 2001
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    "Just OK"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonya Okmulgee, OK, United States 02-11-13
    Tonya Okmulgee, OK, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012

    Hate to read but have enjoyed listening to books.

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    "movie making details"
    What made the experience of listening to My Mother Was Nuts the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed hearing Penny herself tell the story.


    Did Penny Marshall do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    yes, she claims not to be a good impersonator but I thought she did a good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The beginning was kind of sad and I needed a little break but by a few hours into it; I wanted more.


    Any additional comments?

    Would recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CYNTHIA CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, United States 01-27-13
    CYNTHIA CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, United States 01-27-13 Member Since 2011
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    "FUNNY!"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    katrina goleta, CA, United States 01-18-13
    katrina goleta, CA, United States 01-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Funny at times!!"
    What did you like best about My Mother Was Nuts? What did you like least?

    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.


    Would you recommend My Mother Was Nuts to your friends? Why or why not?

    The book had its good qualities, but not sure i would recommend this book!!


    What else would you have wanted to know about Penny Marshall’s life?

    not sure!!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grace 01-01-13
    Grace 01-01-13
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    "She tells it like it is"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kris Garden Grove, CA, United States 11-05-12
    kris Garden Grove, CA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Penny Marshall Made Me a Fan"
    What made the experience of listening to My Mother Was Nuts the most enjoyable?

    Listening to PM was like sitting and chatting with a new friend and falling completely in love with her candor and self deprecation. At the same time, I realized what a talent she is. It was interesting to learn how well respected she is in many different areas...sports, film, TV, music world, everyday people. Very impressive!


    What other book might you compare My Mother Was Nuts to and why?

    Kristin Johnston. Spoken so honestly, with humor and heart.


    Have you listened to any of Penny Marshall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The couple of times when I could tell she was choking up as she told certain parts of her story. Very touching, and I cried with her...then moments later she would crack me up.


    Any additional comments?

    Prior to the book I was not a fan of PM. Now I want to hang out with her!
    Note to Penny: "Call me!"

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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