Solid, decent, likable and a bit dull—rather like its subject.



The squeaky-clean story of Hollywood’s ultimate nanny.

Stirling charts the life and career of Julie Andrews (born 1935) with a wealth of detail and an agreeably light tone that suits the family-entertainment doyenne. There are no sexual indiscretions here, no sordid drug interludes or bouts with the bottle. The reader is left with the details of a career marked by spectacular early success followed by a long fallow period, an amicable divorce and happy second marriage, a botched throat operation and Andrews’s attempts to escape her goody-goody image—none of it exactly gripping material. The actress is depicted as a quintessentially English trouper: reserved, stoic and determined to get on with the show. She could not escape her image, ultimately, because she embodied it so completely. The author refers to her at points as an “automaton,” perhaps venting frustration over so unjuicy a subject. Stirling quotes playwright Christopher Durang, who remarked, “I almost don’t have any good Julie Andrews stories because she’s just so nice and easy to be around.” (“Tell me about it,” one imagines the biographer muttering to himself.) Early chapters on Andrews’s childhood career as a music-hall performer are of some period interest, and Stirling adroitly conveys the excitement engendered by her explosive entry into the American consciousness with the show-business hat trick of My Fair Lady on Broadway and Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music on film. She would never equal these early triumphs, appearing in some unsuitable roles in a series of flops conceived by her second husband, film writer and director Blake Edwards. At this point, the book becomes a slog through the career setbacks of a talented but fundamentally uninteresting personality who perseveres with grace and good humor.

Solid, decent, likable and a bit dull—rather like its subject.

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-38025-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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