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My Mother Was Nuts

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  11,721 ratings  ·  1,487 reviews
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 backst
Kindle Edition, 349 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Amazon Publishing (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,721 ratings  ·  1,487 reviews

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Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, celebrity, memoirs
Growing up I thought that the movie A League Of Our Own was made just for me. A film about the members of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League during the 1940s with some filming done in Wrigley Field, I saw the movie three times in theaters. The movie starring among others Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis, and Tom Hanks still ranks among my favorites of all time. It grossed over $100 million at the box office and was directed by a woman, only the second movie directed by a wo ...more

3.5 stars

I listened to the audio version of this book, narrated by the author in her unmistakable deep voice and New York accent.

Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall was born to Marjorie and Tony Marshall in 1943. Her show business career started in Marjorie's dancing school in the basement of their Bronx, New York apartment building. Young Penny, who wanted to run around the neighborhood and do her own thing, grumbled mightily about the mandatory dance lessons. However the numerous performances staged
Sep 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
While I enjoy reading biographies of all types because I find it interesting to learn what motivations people had to get to where they are in life, this book simply made me turn away in disgust. Why?
In brief:
Penny complains non-stop about her mother and what a terrible person she was -probably true- but then she leaves her daughter behind to be raised by others. There are brief mentions of the daughter here and there, but no discernible mother-daughter bond.
Drugs, drugs, drugs, more drugs, Joh
Katie B
3.5 stars

I didn't realize just how much I liked Penny Marshall until she passed away. The show that made her famous, Laverne and Shirley, aired mainly before I was born so that's not the reason I was bummed to hear the news she had died. I think the reason I was sad is because I feel like she had so much more to share with the world in terms of making movies and honestly just being a strong, female role model for many people.

After reading this book, I'm not sure if I would necessarily call Penn
Mark Johnson
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent autobiography. Despite what some of the reviews would have you believe, Ms Marshall seems completely aware of the mistakes she made, she just doesn't come across as needing to beat herself up publicly to receive public approval for her contrition. Anyone with two brain cells to run together to make a mental spark could tell, while reading the first two chapters, that Ms Marshall did not hate her mother. She saw her mother as flawed, but she didn't see herself as perfect. She ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Honest, compelling, laugh out loud funny, and tender, this audio was excellent. I rarely give an audiobook 5 stars; however, when read by the author about her own life, with sincerity, with actual sorrow in her voice when she spoke of the loss of her loved ones, with real humor at life's funny moments, I felt like Penny Marshall put her entire heart into both writing AND narrating this book. Penny covers it all, from her early life in the Bronx, her quirky parents, her loyal brother helping her ...more
Debbie Zapata
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019sundaze
This book was published in 2012.

Penny Marshall passed away in December of 2018.

I always thought she was wonderful in Laverne And Shirley, and I remember her as Myrna on The Odd Couple. Myrna and that crazy laugh that made everyone giggle.

I am so glad she wrote this book and shared her life. I finally know a bit more about the very vibrant woman behind those characters.

She was funny and sweet; intelligent yet also much more adventurous than I imagined. Plus she shares behind the scenes tidbits
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I see the majority of reviews on Amazon's were disappointed in this but I felt quite differently. As I've made my way through her audiobook, which is read by her, I sense that hearing her voice provides a sense of depth and sincerity that perhaps others can't possible grasp in a book or on a screen. Her intonation lends tremendous expression and comes off with complete sincerity. Throughout, she notes how important honesty is to her and she certainly seems to mean it given the numerous examples ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marshall-penny
What an absolutely TERRIFIC book! For someone who's mother told her when she was a young girl that she was an "unfortunate accident," she turned out to be one special lady who never forgot her roots. The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like Penny was sitting right next to me telling me herself her thoughts on her life and what she experienced. It was that authentic, as was the lady herself. And, she knew everybody! There were so many people that became lifelong, close friends. I mean ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first experience with an audio book was terrible so I approached the audio version of Hollywood actress, director and humorist Penny Marshall with weariness, especially when she began her very first chapter, the tale of two ninjas. But it was perfect! I loved her raspy voice, New York accent and deadpan voice. It was like listening to a really long, really in-depth episode of Inside the Actors Studio.

The first half of the book concentrates on her nutty mother. It is a no holds barred approach
Jan 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in this book. I decided to read it as I have been a fan of Penny Marshall since her Laverne and Shirley days. I have also noticed she produced a few good movies, so therefore I thought it would be an interesting read.
As I stated previously, I was disappointed. I don't feel she positively portrayed her family, which is her own right. However, I know that I wouldn't think of writing anything for the public to read that would be a bad reflection of my family. I learned her idea
Dec 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I should stop reading showbiz memoirs. Invariably, I tend to find them boring and self-serving and the authors self-centered name-dropping control freaks. But probably that's the kind of person that makes it to the top of the showbiz career ladder (Joan Rivers, if you're reading this, you're the exception - I loved your latest book. But then you didn't exactly make it to the very pinnacle of showbiz, did you). In this case, I disliked Penny Marshall and her book even more than usual. Almost ever ...more
5 Stars for My Mother Was Nuts (audiobook) by Penny Marshall read by the author. I think the audiobook is extra special because Penny Marshall reads it her self. It’s her words in her voice. She led an amazing life. It was a real treat getting to hear all the behind the scenes details about so many of the great TV shows and movies that she had a part in throughout my life. From the Odd Couple though A League of Their Own. She acted in and directed so many special shows that brought joy into our ...more
Roz Warren

As a child, Penny Marshall danced on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”

June Taylor told Marshall that she had the potential to become a June Taylor dancer if she took ballet. But she didn’t because she hated ballet.

Her grandfather died while she was at summer camp, but her folks didn’t tell her because they didn’t want to ruin her summer.

Early in her career, she was in a Head and Shoulders commercial with Farrah Faw
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Caveat lector. Let the reader beware. Penny Marshall’s memoir, “My Mother Was Nuts,” provides the proverbial “Penny” for your thoughts. She lays bare her life as a child, young adult, mother, actress, and director in this starkly candid first-person account. Much of the narrative’s early chapters adopt a sarcastic attitude that almost verges on indifference but which simultaneously employs humor, which forms a mainstay throughout the book. As Penny herself states, she “didn’t stop for nothing.” ...more
I finished reading this memoir exactly at the point I arrived at my stop on the subway near where I work. What timing, eh?

On the whole, "My Mother Was Nuts" was a very informative, funny, and engaging memoir. I learned so much about Penny Marshall that I simply had no idea about. I first became aware of her during the early 1970s because of the role she had in the TV sit-com "The Odd Couple" as Oscar Madison's secretary. I thought she was funny and cute. Then, I followed her at a distance when s
Troy Blackford
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I'll say right off the bat that I don't know much about Penny Marshall. At least, I didn't before I read this book. I have never seen one episode of Laverne and Shirley. I haven't seen any of the movies she's directed since I was a kid. In fact, I didn't even realize she WAS the director for 'Big' or 'A League of Their Own' until I read the description of this book. Why did I read the book then, you might ask? Well, it was on sale for very cheap. Once I saw she had directed a few classics, ...more
I don’t know what compelled me to read Penny Marshall’s autobiography, “My Mother Was Nuts,” as I was not a fan of Laverne and Shirley, and have only seen a handful of the movies that she has directed. Reading her memoir, I learned that she parlayed nepotism (her brother is the television director, Garry Marshall) into a long and satisfying career. There are some charming anecdotes, like when she pitched Jack Klugman, the role of Oscar in “The Odd Couple,” when she let Arlyn Dunetz crash on her ...more
Glass House Reviews
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 ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I'll tell you how forgettable this book is. I started to read it last month and got three chapters in before it started sounding familiar. Suddenly I realised, I had read it not six months before.I never cared for "Laverne and Shirley" (nor yet Happy Days nor any of the other series spinoffs from American Grafitti or Grease Fever). Maybe that's why none of it stayed with me. I re-read books all the time. Even without that, I often find I have committed sentences or whole passages to memory. Not ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published by Brilliance Audio in September of 2012.
Read by the author, Penny Marshall
Duration: 8 hours, 30 minutes.

Penny Marshall, best known as Laverne DeFazio on the TV show Laverne and Shirley, tells all (or at least a lot) in this name-dropping memoir. If you are offended by frequent use of curse words and references to drug use, this is not your book.

Let me begin with an important point in my review: I listened to it as an audiobook that was read by Penny Marshall. This is import
Sally Knotwell
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biobraphy
I like Penny Marshall! I've only known her as an actor and director and the sister of Garry Marshall. So when I saw that she'd written an autobiography, I was already inclined to read it and like it. I didn't expect to come away with a real admiration for this multi-talented woman. From her life in New York as the 3rd (and unexpected) child of a mother who was nuts and a father who was boring - her words, not mine - Penny Marshall lived a life of dance classes in the basement studio her mother p ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Penny Marshall and have loved her since first seeing her in Laverne & Shirley. This is a very entertaining book read by Penny herself. I thought it might be hard with her thick accent but it wasn't. She read it with passion getting emotional when talking about her Mom's death and 9/11. It was really interesting to hear about the behind-the-scenes of the movies she directed and also the Laverne & Shirley show. If you like Penny then you will enjoy this. I recommend grabbing the audiobook. ...more
Valerity (Val)
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This review is from: My Mother Was Nuts (Kindle Edition)

Penny Marshall manages to talk about her life and some really serious episodes in it, by finding humor in every thing and every day situations. I suppose that's what got her through it all so successfully. I wasn't sure I'd like the book, but I was pleasantly surprised :-)
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mahlon by: Katemc
Shelves: read-2015
What could be better than Penny Marshall reading her own book? Not much :) If you're a fan of her, or her Brother Garry, you know exactly what to expect here. I don't think I would have made it through this book without the Audible edition. ...more
Freda Mans-Labianca
Probably one of the best memoirs I have ever read.
I really heard her voice while I was reading. I learned so much about her too. Man, what a life!
Shortly after she passed away I bought this book. It took some time to read it, but I'm so glad I finally did.
This book is literally a timeline. She starts right from birth. You go through her relationships, career, and personal life. Some stuff you will know, but I guarantee there will be a lot you don't know. She had such a colorful life.
If you like
Lesbianfunworld Online
Her books starts like this: "I'vealwaysbeencrazybutit'skeptmefromgoinginsanewaylonjennings." Except, slowly, like this: "I ' v e a l w a y s b e e n c r a z y b u t i t ' s k e p t m e f r o m g o i n g i n s a n e w a y l o n j e n n i n g s."

It doesn't get better.

This is the second worst audio book I have ever purchased, and it's all because of Penny Marshall. I was hoping for a quirky, funny book. I got a firky, qunky book instead. First, and this is probably going to sound horrible, but...
AJ LeBlanc
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, funny and emotional.

Like all memoirs, if I can get it on audio read by the author, that's how I want it. I would have read it in her voice anyway, so I might as well have her read it to me. And this one is a must because Penny Marshall has such an identifiable voice.

I found her story fascinating because she knows EVERYONE and it's not a big deal. It's a good reminder that people are people, even if they are in movies or on magazine covers. At the same time, she lives in a world whe
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
Name dropping, drugs, parties, family and honesty fills Marshall's memoir.

The obvious? As I read this one, I could totally hear Marshall's voice in my head--the gravely, low pitched, slow, grating voice. And I loved that.

I felt twitchy reading about her drug use in the 80s and the pregnancies that seemed to crop up unexpectedly. Really? A grown woman who gets knocked up more than once by surprise? Wow. I sound harsh. But *I* couldn't relate to that. I just couldn't. And Marshall is very frank a
Abuela Linda
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Audible download, read by Penny Marshall herself. I was once a big fan of "Laverne and Shirley." This autobiography is truly funny, from its descriptions of her mother's dance studio when she was a kid in the Bronx and sharing a room in a small apartment with her senile grandmother to her hospital stay with a brain tumor and lung cancer, Penny Marshall cannot utter a single sentence without being funny. I have read many books which supposedly were comedies, but few books that a ...more
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Penny Marshall was an American actress, director and producer. She found ‘70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley” before stepping behind the camera for Hollywood hits like “Big” and “A League of Their Own". ...more

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