A WRITER'S WIT
MY BOOK WORLD
Andrews begins the book with a summary of her first memoir, Home, that came out in 2009, which is a good thing. It induces the reader to want to locate a copy (for the details must be juicy), as well as it gives readers a view of what her early life was like before she became famous and moved to Hollywood to work.
Unlike many memoirs which can be of a meandering nature, this one moves quickly from one locale to the next, one creative project to the next, one family crises to the next with little reflection, except by way of journal entries from the time period Andrews is calling to mind. Having said that, I believe Andrews moves from locale to locale because that is the nature of the business she is in. In making a film, she must relocate to where the project is being shot. With regard to each film there are preproduction stories, stories during the shooting, and then stories about when the film or live show opens—the reviews, both good and bad. And I’m sorry, of course, Ms. Andrews does reflect upon the relationships she has with her two husbands, her daughter by the first one, the step children she acquires (happily) from her second husband, her siblings and her Moms and Dads, plus the two daughters that she and Blake Edwards adopt from Vietnam. Julie reflects, but it’s often a hand-wringing followed, most of the time, by things turning out all right.
Still, the memoir has more than a few amusing anecdotes. My favorite involves one with Mike Nichols and Carol Burnett. The three are staying in the same hotel as Julie and Carol prepare for their joint TV special. He wants to meet late at night after his train has been delayed, and the women agree. They get into their pajamas and robes and when they know he’s in the hotel, they wait for him at the elevators. They decide it would be funny if they are kissing when Nichols gets off the elevator:
“At this point, one of the elevators went ‘ping!’ so I whipped Carol across my lap, making it look as if I had her in a full embrace. The doors opened … and the elevator was packed …. Nobody got out, nobody got in. As the doors closed, they collectively leaned toward the center so they could get a better view. Carol and I simply cracked up.
Suddenly another elevator went ‘ping’; I quickly dipped Carol over my knee again. The doors opened and a lone woman stepped out, glanced at us both, and then hurried on down the hall. By now, we were both weeping with laughter. Carol slid off my knee and crawled behind the sofa to hide.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked.
She couldn’t even reply, she was laughing so hard. With a touch of panic, I noticed that the lady who had just passed us had turned around and was now coming back. Leaning over the sofa, she inquired, ‘Excuse me, are you Carol Burnett?’
In a strangled voice Carol said, ‘Yes,” Then raising a hand above the sofa to point at me, she added, ‘And this is my friend, Mary Poppins!’” (76)
The elevator pings again, and the two women stage their kiss once again, “and Mike stepped out of the elevator. Without pausing or even breaking a smile, he casually said, ‘Oh, hi, girls,’ and continued down the corridor. Touché! ” (77).
NEXT FRIDAY: My Book World | TBD