Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nonfiction | One funny girl

Fact about myself: my childhood was filled with hours upon hours of Nick at Nite, and I fully credit them with my extensive knowledge of retro TV shows, often singling me out amongst my peers as the one who "knows all this old stuff." Among my childhood favorites: Happy Days, I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, and Laverne & Shirley.

This, I believe, is the reason that Penny Marshall's memoir, My Mother Was Nuts, ended up in my NYPL hold queue. I must've read about it on NPR or something, and months later, it finally landed at my library for pick-up.

First of all, I have to say, Penny Marshall and her brother Garry Marshall are two people that just pop up everywhere. I remember them being two of the first actors that I started to recognize here and there—the most notable childhood reference obviously being their Hocus Pocus cameo. But, to tell you the truth, I have never known much about them. (As a kid, I remember thinking they were married, because that's the relationship between all men and women who are always together and share a last name, right?)

From what I read in her book, Penny Marshall has actually done much more than I ever knew. Did you know she, in fact, directed both Big and A League of Their Own—-two movies on my all-time top 10 list? Because I sure didn't.

Penny's book starts out like most memoirs in which a person of fame is reflecting on their life--looking back to where it all started. Sometimes, that's kind of boring, depending on the person. And when you start to read, "I grew up in [blank] town with my [blank] siblings and a mother who [blank] a father who, God love him, never really [blank]," you just kind of suck in air and say, "Oh boy..." But Penny is funny. And she tells those stories about her loud dance instructor mother and quiet accountant father, and somehow, you're interested because she makes it so.

I really enjoyed My Mother Was Nuts much more than I expected to. I keep reading these celebrity memoirs, always hoping they will turn out like this one—not overly serious and with enough anecdotes and experiences that will entertain you, the reader, and not just the reminiscing author. I think about these in terms of storytelling; would the content of this book be good if she was telling me the stories over a beer? And yes. Yes, it would.


zibilee said...

I like Penny Marshall, and have thought about grabbing this book on audio from the library, but now you have made me sure that I want to listen to it. She is such a talented lady, and I have always had a lot of respect for her. Great review today!

Kari said...

Oooh, I wonder who does the audio for it! It's a lot of anecdotes so with the right narrator, it'd be like great storytelling.