Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Would Barbra Do? How Musicals Changed My Life by Emma Brockes

genre: memoir

Emma Brockes, like myself, was raised by a mother who loved musicals. You know, the movies and stage shows that highlight performers who burst into song and choreographed dance numbers in the middle of deep conversations.  I love them.  Emma has a love/hate relationship with them - her passion for some makes her intricately critical of others.  This book is her thoughts on dozens of different musicals, their performers and the genre itself.

On the one hand, I liked it because I like to read about musicals and as an author, she has a quirky and sometimes hilariously snarky voice.  But the book really just is, mostly, her own personal thoughts about them.  Why she adored Mary Poppins but mostly hated but sort of loved Yentl.  Thoughts on Barbra Streisand just in general and a lot on the differences between musicals of different time periods.  I was always pleased to pick it up, but one thing must be said:  there is no real organization to the book.  It is sort of like one of those idea webs you make before you write a paper.  Jumbled thoughts all over the place and the ending actually confused me.  I just decided not to let it bother me but all the jumping around made it not feel particularly cohesive and I still don't really know how musicals changed her life.

If you are a huge musicals fan, I would tell you to read it because if you are like me, just reading about them is like visiting an old friend.  But otherwise, it will probably drive you crazy - but I bet the title itself told you that.


bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a good premise that wasn't executed well.

Elizabeth said...

Knowing that it's a bit of a mess, I will probably love this book - thanks for alerting me!

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