A casual, gentle, graceful touch for the autobiographical childhood of the French diseuse which though compounded of much sadness and considerable neglect, has nothing of self pity in the transcription. A disappointment to her parents at birth when after a wait of nine years she turned out to be a girl, Marianne was to be discriminated against in favor of the older Madeleine. Here are episodes of her early years in Lorraine, at school -- at home_with Catherine, the cook, who was her main source of affection and instruction. Papa died of TB, Mama died a year later, Madeleine married and made off with the parental possessions, and Marianne was sent away against her will to Munich and the cold, rigid tutelage of Frau Keller's school. With an increasingly serious goiter condition, she almost died, lost her voice in an operation, but determined to get it back and go on the stage where she finally appeared at 16 to sing with a rough, husky voice which was to charm the continent. An artlessly appealing self portrait.