quick fun read”
“I’m not ashamed to say I loved Laverne and Shirley. History may look back on the show as some screwball sitcom that introduced a number of forgotten trends to the pop culture lexicon (milk and Pepsi, anyone?), but I theorize the show was more feminist than people might believe. Think about it: it’s set initially in the fifties and focuses on two women who – unlike other female TV characters from actual 1950s shows – are not well-coiffed housewives rushing to greet Hugh Beaumont at the door after a long day of work. They had jobs, they paid their own rent, and they went out for pizza. A lot.
When I heard Penny Marshall planned her memoirs, I grabbed the book at first opportunity. I’ve always admired her as a creative force in entertainment. She was the first woman to direct a film that grossed over $100 million, and she’s probably one of the few directors to put out consistently good work. Reading her autobiography, you get the sense she is a perfectionist. She surrounds herself with familiar people at work (it’s a common theme throughout Nuts, as Marshall herself benefitted from nepotism in the business), and throughout the book you learn about her progressive second career.
The first part of the book, as I expect with any celebrity memoir, is the rundown of early life and family relationships. Marshall’s style is reminiscent of long ramble, full of stories of living up to parental expectations and living in a tense household where the parents barely tolerated one another. She’s able to escape through connections with older brother Garry, who created an acting role for her on The Odd Couple. The rest of her career seems to fall in place – Marshall makes fame look too easy.
The parts that most interested me – the Laverne and Shirley years didn’t disappoint. I did actually come away learning something new, in particular how the rift in Marshall’s relationship with Cindy Williams happened, and how the show’s success threatened her marriage to Rob Reiner. Other revelations of Marshall’s personal life, including a tryst with Art Garfunkel, are told so casually you can almost see Marshall shrugging as she talks.
Nuts is a quick read. I downed it in two days. As an entertainment autobiography, it has enough substance to keep you interested. I like that it’s not overtly political like a number of recent bios I’ve read. If you like Penny, or Laverne, pick it up.
Claire Stone for Glass House Reviews
(c) 2012 Glass House Reviews”
“Her mother wasn't any nuttier than the rest of the family. Enjoyable book. She makes her successful life look a lot easier than I'll bet it was.”Carol L wrote this review Friday, October 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An interesting, candid look at Penny Marshall's life. Easy to read, her wit comes through on every page. Borrowed from Amazon Kindle Lending Library.”Linda wrote this review Friday, October 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“SouthWestZippy said: 4 stars
I admire Penny's open, honest and witty approach to telling stories. She starts off with her childhood and young adult hood which was eye opening. Her Mother ran a dance school and this was the start of her development into wanting to entertain people. She talks about how she got started in acting/directing and walks you through a few of her movies giving you a behind the scenes look.”
“I admire Penny's open, honest and witty approach to telling stories. She starts off with her childhood and young adult hood which was eye opening. Her Mother ran a dance school and this was the start of her development into wanting to entertain people. She talks about how she got started in acting/directing and walks you through a few of her movies giving you a behind the scenes look. ”SouthWestZippy wrote this review Thursday, October 4, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Penny Marshall for may of us will always be Laverne De Fazio from the hugely popular show Laverne and Shirley. However, as this biography shows Penny Marshall had already gained prominence in tv for her work on The Odd Couple where she played Oscar's secretary Myrna Turner, and after Laverne and Shirley she became the first female film director to have a film break the $100 million barrier at the U.S. box office with the release of Big in 1988.
In this highly readable autobiography (I read it in one sitting), Penny gives us an honest, straightforward account of her personal as well as on screen/behind the camera life. What you get is a frank and witty account of her upbringing in the Bronx with her parents who were more concerned about their fraught relationship than their children lives. Her mother ran a dance school in the cellar of the building and it was here that Penny learnt and later taught tap which would lead her towards a life in entertainment owing to the confidence she gained as a child. She leads us through her life chronologically dealing with her break into showbusiness, the success of Laverne and Shirley and her life as a director/producer. She does name drop alot as one other reviewer has mentioned but what do you expect when you are reading an autobiography of an actor/director. What is good is that this isn't a malicious or salacious read and although she matter-of-factly tells of her drug use and her failure as a mother, she doesn't over sensationalize her failures or her life.
If you are looking for a 'warts and all' read then this might not be the biography of choice for you. However, if you are looking for an entertaining autobiography which if you read beneath the surface gives you a much, deeper insight into this direct, clever and fascinating woman.”