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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Elisabeth
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 07-11-13

I was so surprised!

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • CYNTHIA
  • CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, United States
  • 01-27-13

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • kris
  • Garden Grove, CA, United States
  • 11-05-12

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!"

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 01-13-14

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!]

28 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Memorable Read

So much more enjoyable that I would have ever expected.

At first Penny's talking with the mouth full of marble was annoying. Then her voice broke while talking about her mother and it was read by the perfect person.

What a wonderful life. I felt it was an honest representation without having to go to the dark side. The hoop jumping of the motion picture industry was enlightening.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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I took lessons with Marjorie

Would you listen to My Mother Was Nuts again? Why?

Already re-started the book to share with my husband and have gifted copies to my Mom and sister. We lived off the Grand Concourse, played at the Oval, shopped at Alexander's, hung out at the Parkway and went to JHS 80. Oh, and our Dad graduated from DeWitt Clinton High, and my older sister changed her address so she could go to Evander instead of Walton (which I escaped by qualifying for the HS of Music and Art). As a toddler I took jazz-tap-and -ballet from Marjorie Marshall in the apartment building basement, who was a local celebrity exactly as described. The Bronx was, indeed, the center of our universe and to hear it described in such truthful and loving detail was moving beyond words. If none of the above makes sense to you, read the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book was beautifully written and read with every ounce of humanity, humor and pathos it deserves. It made me laugh and cry. Penny is so much more than the natural sitcom comedienne she is credited with being. She is wild, worldly, generous, has a huge heart full of wisdom, and as a director deserves two or three Oscar nominations. Much love to you Penny, from a Bronx home girl.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved it .. Loved it Loved it !

Let me be honest my first concern was "how can I listen to this with her voice".

After 10 minutes in I wouldn't have it any other way. I loved this book and now I love her.

Her stories were great and she said them with so much honestly.

I laughed , I cried, I cheered .. .. must buy !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly Touching

Where does My Mother Was Nuts rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The top biography, maybe top 5 of all my books...

What did you like best about this story?

I love when the author reads their own story, especially an autobiography. It's their story, they own it, they know how to tell it.

Which character – as performed by Penny Marshall – was your favorite?

Who doesn't love Laverne? But my favorite Penny Marshall character is simply Penny Marshall, the woman.

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

I was particularly touched by Penny getting choked by emotion when telling of friends'/family members'/colleagues' deaths, or the 9-11 Attacks, for example.

Any additional comments?

This was an awesome book. I was afraid at first that Penny telling her own story would be unintelligible because of her mumbly-accented speaking voice. You warm up to it pretty quick. There are several times where you can tell she's gone off-book and it just telling you the story. Between that, the emotion, and the behind-the-Hollywood-scenes stories, this has got to be my Number 1 favorite biography.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

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  • Tonya
  • Okmulgee, OK, United States
  • 02-11-13

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