My Mother Was Nuts

A Memoir
Narrated by: Penny Marshall
Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,467 ratings)

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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 listeners say about My Mother Was Nuts

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Listen up - not to be read!

What did you love best about My Mother Was Nuts?

I loved listening to Penny Marshall for over 8 hours - I wish it could have been longer!

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Mother Was Nuts?

Too many to remember, it is such a great memoir.

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

Her own. She does a good impression of herself!

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

I laughed more with this book than any other I've listened to. Without a doubt.

Any additional comments?

This is not a book to be read - it MUST be listened to. Penny's voice makes her own life story so much more real & visual.

29 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Memoir - Penny Marshall is awesome!

Wow - what an amazing lady and an amazing life! Penny Marshall broke boundaries and found success without really knowing what she was doing - her incredible talent and intelligence drove her through it all. She is honest, humble, and above all, hilarious - plus her narration skills are superb (she has the vocabulary of a trucker - not offensive to me at all but you probably don't want your 6 year old to listen with you unless you want them to learn the proper usage of the f-word in all of its glory). I really enjoyed hearing about her antics with her Hollywood pals and the inside info on how movies and television shows are made. I wish all memoirs were like this - Penny should teach a class.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Laughs, Loves, life and a few expletives

What did you love best about My Mother Was Nuts?

Penny marshals candid way of telling her story of her mark on the world. This is a great "look whack you can do with a life when your are given a ball and run with it" type story. I have always been a fan of Penny's work yet never knew why I was drawn to her, now I know why.... My mother is crazy too and I'm thankful for all I learned through her crazy.

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Mother Was Nuts?

When Penny was recounting John Balushi's death. I remember how the news hit me when I saw it on the evening news, yet I never knew him personally. I can only imagine the loss Penny and all his friends felt with his tragic passing. A brilliant comedic life lost in its prime.

What about Penny Marshall’s performance did you like?

EVERYTHING

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

I laughed, cried, contemplated my own life and choices I have made through the years only to come to the end of the book and have the same conclusion Penny did. I love my life so why change it.

Any additional comments?

This book is not only worth the credit but it is even worth paying for if you are out of credits.

15 people found this helpful

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The audio performance should get an award!

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

I'd listen to it over and over. Penny Marshall gives a terrific performance with nuances for off-hand comments like "Huh?" or "You know."
You feel like she's talking just with you, not reading a book.
But the part that touched me so greatly was when she talked about the end of her mother's life. You could hear the pain in her voice. So sweet. So real.

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

It's an autobiography like most others. Starts when she's young and moves on from there. But with her reading it, it soars to be much more.

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

Never heard any of her other performances, but I'll definitely look them up to get them.

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

I listen to the book on my iPhone using the Audible application. I set it for 3X speed because I don't like to wade through books so slowly.
But for this book I lowered the speed. It's a book I wish wouldn't end.

38 people found this helpful

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Funny and Touching

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it's overall charm comes from being well written and inexpertly narrated. The choice of Penny Marshall to read her own story was a stroke of brilliance. It comes across as (someone we like to think of as) an old friend revealing stories about themselves we've never heard before. It's very obviously a reading of a book, though somehow transcending into more of a long letter from a favorite friend. It's stiffness is forgotten in the fun of hearing the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Mother Was Nuts?

The most memorable moments are the relationship connections between Penny Marshall and well, . . . everyone. She makes LA, Hollywood and New York sound like one small town filled with interesting people. Interesting not because of what they've starred in but because of who they really are, what they shared with her and what she learned from them.

Which scene was your favorite?

Narration wise, when Penny Marshall reads about her mother's passing. Her voice cracks and you feel her emotion.

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

Yes.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Honest and interesting

Would you consider the audio edition of My Mother Was Nuts to be better than the print version?

Listening to the author read in her own voice was great, but she isn't young Laverne anymore. It took a bit of time to get used to her 'mature' sound. I felt that at moments she was going through the motions of reading the words, but for the most part she delivered her part in an honest, matter of fact way. She never apologizes for the choices she made. She was living her life as we all do...one day at a time.

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Mother Was Nuts?

The opening is pretty funny-getting robbed by ninjas. There are moments that the emotion gets the better of her. It made her very likeable!

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

Herself

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

I reached a point that I didn't want to 'put it down' (stop listening).

Any additional comments?

I felt that she did what her mother taught her to do, 'entertain people'.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved Penny then and now!

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

After listening to motivational and business books, I needed something light. Unfortunately, I found myself driving around a lot more just so I could listen to this book...instead of working! It was just fun to hear from Penny after all these years. A fun listen because it was her telling us about her life. It sound just like Penny, but older. Some may say it was a book about all the names she dropped...well...that was her life and it was fun to hear!

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how she came from meager roots, didn't have much direction really, and just fell into her life. She never seemed to go after anything, it just came to her. If it worked, great. If not, well...on to the next. Kind of like me...no idea what I want to be when I grow up, I just move from one day to the next and take care of whatever comes along.

What about Penny Marshall’s performance did you like?

I loved that she still sounds just like Laverne. Which she said she played just like herself.

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

Yes, there are moments when you cry and moments when you laugh. Plenty of moments I didn't even know happened (why would I??). It was fun to have an insider view of Hollywood.

Any additional comments?

If you love New Yorkers, loved Laverne, like hearing backstage Hollywood stuff that is not on a tabloid, want to be entertained, laugh some, cry some, buy the book. You will enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

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Funny-

I listened to Garry Marshall's book recently- that made this book even better because I already knew her mother was nuts. Her narration was great....casual and full of idiosyncrasies.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Worth getting through to the good stuff!

I was drawn to this book because I was interested in Penny Marshall's take on being a female director, and having a nontraditional, and successful role in Hollywood. I was not looking - or interested - in raunchy details or weird side details about other actors or directors. She was not the pretty girl, and has been incredibly well connected and unapologetic about how she's chosen to live her life. When she talks about this, the book is great and she's enjoyable to listen to. That said:

The first half is about her early life which she doesn't seem to want to talk about - and it comes out in the performance. I wonder whether she was active in writing the book because there are many times she actually runs over sentences, has awkward moments of reading, and generally just seems to be going through the motions of getting the performance done. The writing is pretty awful at times in the beginning and it comes through in the audio performance - especially when there are these long lists of people she's worked with and it just comes across as lame name dropping for the sake of creating interest. It can be a uncomfortable to listen to at times, and I know I was sorely tempted to stop listening.

In the second half or so, when she really gets to talking about her time in Laverne & Shirley and directing, it starts to feel more like it's her story and it's enjoyable. At that point, it's a pleasure to listen to because it's listening/reading about someone with a real passion she's sharing. I wanted more of her talking about the work she is obviously passionate about and interested in sharing, and less of the awkward personal back story.

24 people found this helpful

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  • emma
  • 08-01-16

A New York Charmer

The funny and self-deprecating Penny Marshall guides us through her adventurous life - from her upbringing in New York City, creating the role of Laverne in Laverne & Shirley, various relationships and marriages, to becoming the first female director of a $100-million-dollar movie (Big). Her New York energy and wit shine through in this charming memoir, along with her striking NY accent. Plenty of A-List name-dropping, too.

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  • Anne
  • 05-23-19

Great story

love the story however I would like to hear it read by another person someone who is not so mono tone lol