My Mother Was Nuts

  • by Penny Marshall
  • Narrated by Penny Marshall
  • 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way.
My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.
Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The audio performance should get an award!

Would you listen to My Mother Was Nuts again? Why?

I'd listen to it over and over. Penny Marshall gives a terrific performance with nuances for off-hand comments like "Huh?" or "You know."
You feel like she's talking just with you, not reading a book.
But the part that touched me so greatly was when she talked about the end of her mother's life. You could hear the pain in her voice. So sweet. So real.


What other book might you compare My Mother Was Nuts to and why?

It's an autobiography like most others. Starts when she's young and moves on from there. But with her reading it, it soars to be much more.


Have you listened to any of Penny Marshall???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Never heard any of her other performances, but I'll definitely look them up to get them.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen to the book on my iPhone using the Audible application. I set it for 3X speed because I don't like to wade through books so slowly.
But for this book I lowered the speed. It's a book I wish wouldn't end.


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- M. S. Cohen

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Schlemiel! Schlimazel!

Tuesday nights were a really big deal when I was a kid growing up in the Midwest. We just HAD to be home at 7 pm - prime time starts early there - to watch Happy Days on ABC, one of only five channels. The kid that missed the show had to swallow pride and risk ostracism by those in the know to find out what The Fonz was up to. Laverne & Shirley, a spin-off, aired at 7:30 pm. I liked that even better. I can still do the arm and arm "schlemiel, schlimazel, Hasssnpeffer, Incorporated" song and dance.

Penny Marshall (Laverne) went on to produce and direct films, including "A League of their Own" (1992), a favorite of mine. I sometimes wondered how one family produced her and her brother, Garry Marshall, an actor, director, writer, and producer; how she ended up married to Rob Reiner, and then divorced; why she is such famous friends with Hollywood scion Carrie Fisher, a really funny writer who has acted in a film or two . . .

"My Mother was Nuts"(2012) answers these questions, and so many more. It's a fun romp through post WWII New York, and Hollywood from the 1970's to the present. Marshall seems to know everyone, and she likes them. If there's a falling out, she makes the first move to patch things up. She actually got (Paul) Simon & (Art) Garfunkel back on singing terms for a while. The only 'dirt' she dished in this book was on herself.

There is something missing, though: there's a complete lack of introspection about herself, and speculation about why other people do things. I don't know if that is just the way Marshall is, or if that was the way she wrote the memoir. Since a memoir is not an autobiography, that lack of analysis may have been intentional.

This is a new genre for me - I don't think I've ever read or listened to a Hollywood memoir. The closest I've come is Richard Rhodes "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World" (2011). Lamarr was an actress who happened to invent and patent the technology cell phones rely on today. I got a great Audible deal on ""My Mother was Nuts", and I knew I could return it if I didn't like it, so I gave it a whirl. It was an enjoyable way to make the weekend chores bearable.

As to the narration - well, a Bronx accent can be grating, but there's no one else I would have rather listened to narrate "My Mother was Nuts".

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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-18-2012
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio