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What Falls Away: A Memoir
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What Falls Away: A Memoir

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  836 ratings  ·  82 reviews
In an exquisitely written memoir, Mia Farrow introduces us to the landscapes of her extraordinary life. Moving from her earliest memories of the walled gardens and rocky shores of Western Ireland and her Hollywood childhood to her career as an actress, she writes of these experiences and her struggle to protect her children in a painful custody battle with Woody Allen. It ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1997)
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsNight by Elie WieselAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
434th out of 2,695 books — 2,923 voters
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Favorite memoirs/autobiographies
240th out of 1,037 books — 1,031 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,375)
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Deirdre Kelly
If you still pay money to watch Woody Allen films after reading this book, then shame on you. This 1960s icon dishes the dirt on American's most famous neurotic, leaving the reader with a bad taste in the mouth about Allen, an obvious creep. Allen's paedophile tendencies, as exhibited in the New York home he ocassionally shared with Farrow and her children (he was so afraid of their germs he tended to stay in his own pad, on the other side of Central Park) are positively shocking to read. And it ...more
Sarah
This was the first memoir that got me hooked on autobiographies. Read this book my last year of high school and loved it. I was really into the 60s in high school, and to this day I'm not sure how I stumbled onto Mia Farrow but all I knew was that she was a style icon back then. I researched more about her and picked up the book.

The book is a story about a girl whose parents were apart of old Hollywood, (nothing like what it is today). Her mom an actress, her dad a director. They lived in a man
...more
Betsy
A MUST READ autobiography. The title comes from Theodore Roethke:

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow,
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear,
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up
...more
Jamie Bryson
Ms. Mia Farrow is an eternal optimist. Her book was profoundly complimentary to those in her life with the exception of one Mr. Woody Allen. She never saw a flaw in anyone despite heartbreak. She searched for inner beauty, embraced the differences of the people she knew and spent her life searching for the purpose of her own existence. At the end of the day, she lived to have a meaning for her life which always included service to others.
I found it very sad that she was jaded by a man who looke
...more
Emily
I read this because I never turn up my nose at a good trash-talkin' celeb-biog, but this is actually a good book. Yes, it dishes the dirt on Frank Sinatra and Woody and Soon-Yi, but I didn't find myself skimming just to get to the good parts. She's an odd woman, but smart, and she writes about her life -- and all its weirdness -- with real intelligence. The prose is even good. So...not what you might expect. Good for a long airplane ride, a rainy Sunday, or a day at the beach. You won't hate you ...more
John
A relaxing read. Insightful to the whole Hollywood / child of a star thing. Plus what she says about her marriage to Sinatra is very warm..

The final third of the book is taken up with the Woody Allen stepdaughter case and his (alleged abuse of others in the family). My views towards him have changed (used to be a big fan)and feel guilty about watching his films / buying his dvds....

Saw her on the news at the Naomi Campbell diamond thing and after reading this book I know who to believe...
NeDa
Изключителна жена, осиновила 10 деца още през 70-те години и родила още 4 свои, много от ангажиментите свързани с децата е поемала тя, макар и с помощ от бавачки понякога. Всичко това паралелно с ангажиментите в киното. И без излишна показност.
А съжителството и с Уди Алън ме потресе, въпреки че очаквах подобни истории и бях чела за скандалите ...
Kaloyana
По принцип не обичам да чета много автобиографични и биографични книги, но тази ми беше изключително интересна. Никога не съм знаела нищо за живота на Миа Фароу. Направо бях потресена от нейната история. Първо заради силата на духа и куража ѝ, и освен това заради нейната готовност да се бори и да не пада. Животът ѝ с франк Синатра, снимането на филмите, нейното семейство, работата. Не съм знаела също, че един от любимите ми режисьори - Уди Алън, който всъщност е един изверг като човек. Много инт ...more
Corky
Until reading this book, I had no idea that Mia Farrow was second generation Hollywood. Her life has been an unusual one, parts of which have not been as public as one might think. This memoir really depicts the star's unabashed desire to care for and raise children that have been left behind, but also portrays her extreme dependence upon older men. A byproduct of her father's early death perhaps?

Although I can say I never have been a fan of Woody Allen films, after reading this memoir I most ce
...more
Spencer
Most of it is pretty good, but the Woody Allen stuff...so much dirty laundry. My first thought was "What a scum this guy must be," but then, I thought, "Well--there's two sides to every story." Not to say that I think Ms. Farrow is lying. I'm sure that Woody Allen is as much of a psychological mess as he makes himself out to be. But public scrutiny has already been hard enough on the man. Still, the parts about Frank and the Beatles and Ms. O'Sullivan were pretty entertaining.
Emily
She's a good writer, which doesn't surprise me, and the Woody Allen portion is....gripping to say the least. I think I was maybe subconsciously annoyed at her seemingly challenge-less rise to success as an actress, and her insane beauty? Wait, am I just jealous? I don't know. It doesn't matter!
Catherine
Her mother was Jane in the old Tarzan movies. She was a friend of Dali's. Was married to Frank Sinatra. Has more children than Angelina Joli, and did it all herself. She is a strong, fragile, and willful person. The book was a so-so read until revelations about Woody Allen who has to be one of the more vile characters on the planet. I read this because Margaret Ann Comito loved the book, but MA is a devout Catholic. Oh, dear, it's all so complicated...the Catholic thing.
Melissa
After seeing her talk at the RMU Speaker Series recently I was quite impressed with her, and right away my impression of her as a flaky Hollywood star was dashed. She was so "real" and unassuming, and an eloquent public speaker. So, I went to the local library and ready her autobiography. She is also a very good writer and brought me right into her life.
Mari
Finished today, and while I knew the Woody/Soon-Yi story, I'm filled with disgust anew, as I was just a teenager when that was all going down ... and a teenager in the middle of the country at that, but even I heard about it and was appalled. Her early life was less known to me -- her parents and marriage to Frank Sinatra. I absorbed this book in about a day.
Jan
Surprisingly well written. I didn't know much about Mia Farrow. She has an interesting ilfe. One of the reviews I read said that Farrow was a clear, concise writer--good for Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn, her first two husbands but not at all good for Woody Allen........
All in all, she had 14 children, some biological, mostly adopted.
Karen
I read this book a long time ago and I remember that I enjoyed it very much.
Mia Farrow is a very interesting person and a humanitarian.
I recommend this book if you are interested in her life story.
Joellen Valerius
THE MOST well written book that I've ever read. I LOVE the way Mia Farrow writes...it just flows...
Allison C. McCulloch
Even though I was curious, it was a little too in-depth for me.
Khris Sellin
Woody Allen: "The dick wants what it wants."
Silvio111
Mia Farrow has managed to tell her harrowing story through three marriages, fourteen children, a narcissistic Woody Allen who abused her seven-year daughter and then started a sexual relationship with her teen-aged daughter (although not in that order), and tried to win custody of three of the children. By some amazing gift, she can not only tell the story in quite a personal and poetic way, but does not make the reader cringe or run for the exits; she is just an excellent writer who reveals her ...more
Linda
The "Momma Mia!" article by Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair's November 2013 issue gives a look at actress Mia Farrow and the life she has carved for herself, while raising 14 biological and adopted children along the way.

While perusing the shelves of the local library recently I came upon Farrow's 1997 memoir What Falls Away and picked it up, out of curiosity mainly, to get a further picture of a woman a couple of years older than me who has spent much of her life in the public eye, first as a daugh
...more
Carla Peele
I know that most people buy this book to read the nitty-gritty, salacious details of Mia's tragic relationship with Woody Allen, but that is not the reason this book seemed to call out to me. I was curious about Maureen O'Sullivan, one of my favorite old actresses (and the best Jane to grace the silver screen), and Mia's mother, as well as Mia's time with Frank Sinatra.

Quite before it got to the Woody section that completed the book, I learned many facts I was surprised to find out. I had assum
...more
JanBreesmom
This excellent book, What Falls Away written and narrated on audiobook by Mia Farrow. It is a unique memoir of a very private person who has lived a very public life. Born into a large, Hollywood family, Mia Farrow has met and often befriended an eclectic group of friends--from Salvador Dali to the Beatles to so many of 'old Hollywood' such as Charles Boyer, Hal Roach, and Elizabeth Taylor and their children.

The three loves of her life, two of which she married--the legend Frank Sinatra, musi
...more
Jen
Mia has lived such a fascinating life. By 19 she was best friends with Salvador Dali and beginning a romance with Frank Sinatra that lead to a quick marriage followed by a lifelong relationship. I listened to this on audio book, which she narrates, and I think it added to the read as I think I may have rolled my eyes at some of what she wrote without her frank delivery. She's an avid reader and writes beautifully... not really my style (I prefer much more casual prose) but I got used to it after ...more
Della Scott
I actually read this, probably about 10 years ago, and I must have liked it because I remember quite a lot of it. If you are interested in her marriage to Frank Sinatra and their courtship, there's a fair amount about that. She also has anecdotes aabout growing up in the movie business and meeting legends like John Wayne.
Tracey Berry
A beautifully written memoir. A must read for anyone enduring a bad relationship. The most compelling part of the story for me was her dedication to children in need. She didn't always make the best decisions when it came to her partners but her children are going to be her legacy that people will remember most.
Beverly Carmichael
I found this book intersting although a bit dated in 2013. It pretty much explains what went on behind the scenes in Ms. Farrow's life. She surely is an interesting and compassionate character if I can use that word. It held my interest to the end and although most of these events were covered in the news, I still found her life interesting. She is a hero in my opinion!
Deodand
I have to admit, this celebrity memoir is certainly interesting. She's had two lives worth of stuff happen to her, even when you disregard recent events. I didn't know she was second-generation Hollywood.

I was surprised to find my hands balled into fists while reading the last quarter of this book, which deals with the end of her relationship with Woody Allen. It is quite graphic in its details about Allen's abusive attitude towards their children. I wonder how one recovers from such things bein
...more
Ellen
A great memoir. She comes across as very likable, and her heart for children is huge. I will never watch another Woody Allen movie again.
Gloria
Really honest and good to hear the stories of her and Sinatra. The whole Woody story.
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252051
Maria de Lourdes Villiers-Farrow, known as Mia Farrow, is an American actress. Farrow has appeared in more than forty films and won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe award (and seven additional Golden Globe nominations), three BAFTA Film Award nominations, and a win for best actress at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Farrow is also notable for her extensive humanitarian work ...more
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