Home by Julie Andrews: Book Review

There are two reasons I like Home: A Memoir of My Early Years – its author Julie Andrews, and its homely title. I have been a fan of Julie Andrews ever since The Sound of Music. I’ve watched it more than twenty times in my life and can now sing along to every line.

Why I like the book

Andrews tells of her difficult initiation into the world of theatre, apparently being a terrible actress at first. Although she obviously has talent, she worked hard for her success. She endured long periods away from her family, feeling lonely and without friends.

Julie Andrews comes across as, very simply, nice. There is no self-importance or pompousness despite that fact that she was conferred the title Dame by the Queen. Moss Hart, who directed her in My Fair Lady, once famously remarked of her that “She has that terrible British strength that makes you wonder how they ever lost India.”

Julie Andrews is to me the “sound of music”. She is also the perfect combination of lady and commoner, “a spoonful of sugar” who comfortably yells “move your bloomin’ arse!”, a consummate professional and somebody who just wants to go home.

Who should read Home by Julie Andrews

Fans of Julie Andrews

Anyone who has watched and loved Andrews’ works may be interested in the leading lady’s early years which eventually led to such wonderful musicals. Most people know Andrews as the star that she is. We don’t know about her performing to a gruelling schedule from a young age and the toll it took on her health and family life. It’s always fascinating to be allowed ‘backstage’ as it were.

Those intending to write their memoirs

I have read many autobiographies and Andrews’ memoirs stand out. She has a conversational, truthful and kind style of writing. She does not hide her own feelings about the people and events in her life. Yet she manages to reflect well on everyone she talks about, even those who were unkind to her. Her impeccable manners in the way she treats others makes me more of a fan than ever.

Quotes from the Home by Julie Andrews

My favourite quote

“Madame gave me a valuable piece of advice, which as stayed with me over the years. ‘Julie,’ she said. ‘Remember: the amateur works until he can get it right. The professional works until he cannot go wrong.'” (page 121)

Other quotes

“Madame also put great emphasis on the ends of phrases. For example, if I was coming to the end of a song and holding the last note, she would say ‘Follow it, follow it, follow it – see it going down the road in front of you as far as you can. See it disappearing into the distance. Now just close your mouth on it and finish the sound.” (page 52)

“There is no more magical feeling, no one luckier than I. It is to do with the joy of being a vessel, being used, using oneself fully and totally in the service of something that brings wonder. If only one could experience this every night.” (page 261)

Other reviews of the book

For those more interested in Andrews’ professional career, Elinor Teele offers a detailed summary of Andrews’ famous works.

John Simon posts a gushing review on Julie Andrews’ very own website, with additional quotes by those who worked with Andrews.

Get Home: A Memoir of My Early Years here.

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