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Mary Poppins, She Wrote

The Life of P. L. Travers
Narrated by: Terry Donnelly
Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The story of Mary Poppins, the quintessentially English and utterly magical children's nanny, is remarkable enough. She flew into the lives of the unsuspecting Banks family in a children's book that was instantly hailed as a classic, then became a household name when Julie Andrews stepped into the starring role in Walt Disney's hugely successful and equally classic film. Now she is a Broadway sensation all over again.

But the story of Mary Poppins's creator, as this first biography reveals, is just as unexpected and remarkable. The fabulous English nanny was conceived by an Australian, Pamela Lyndon Travers, who in 1924 came to London from Sydney as a journalist. She became involved with theosophy and traveled in the literary circles of W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot. Most famously, she clashed with "the great convincer" Walt Disney over the adaptation of the Mary Poppins books into film.

Travers, whom Disney accused of vanity for "thinking you [Travers] know more about Mary Poppins than I do," was as tart and opinionated as Julie Andrews's big-screen Mary Poppins was cheery and porcelain beautiful. "You've got the nose for it," Travers candidly assessed the star. Yet it was a love of mysticism and magic that shaped P. L. Travers's life as well as the character of Mary Poppins. The clipped, strict, and ultimately mysterious nanny was the conception of someone who remained thoroughly inscrutable and enigmatic to the end of her 96 years.

"Who is P. L. Travers?" the American press inquired of "this unknown Englishwoman" whose creation resulting in Hollywood gold had won her international fame. Valerie Lawson's illuminating biography, Mary Poppins, She Wrote, provides the first and only glimpse into the mind of a writer who fervently believed that "Everyday life is the miracle."

©2013 Valerie Lawson (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Mary Poppins, She Wrote

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating.

This enigmatic Australian woman led an extraordinary life of deep sorrows, dizzying highs & humbling difficulties which shaped her characters accordingly.
It’s well worth a read for any woman of any age as it explores what it means to be female in the world in many interesting ways.
Highly recommended.

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  • Cbee
  • 14-03-2018

Great listen

Loved the information about Disney and the writing of the screenplay and on the whole an interesting biography. PL Traverse was an interesting character in her own right.

2 people found this helpful

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  • wobbly
  • 09-01-2014

Interesting story not helped by narrator

After seeing the Mr. Banks movie, I was intrigued by PL Travers, so immediately looked for the book the movie is based on. The author appears to have done the best she could with the material available to her, and the book certainly added to my understanding of the complexity of Travers. I was left wanting to know more, so I will continue to research her as well as to read the Mary Poppins books. I did not enjoy the narration of this book, primarily due to the prissy tone taken any time Travers was quoted. Perhaps this was an impersonation - I don't know how she spoke. But to my ears, she was presented as a pouty child no matter her age, while other people who were quoted were not stuck with such irritating voices. Poor Mrs. Travers. I finished the book in spite of the narrator, simply because I was so interested in the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eddie
  • 07-10-2019

Crazy lady makes for a decent read

I'm not sure if the writer is to be blamed but after 15 hours of listening and learning about P.L Travers I don't understand her any better then I did before.

I bought the book because of the Walt Disney movie and as a great fan of it I say that this book can be worth your hard earned money - maybe...

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  • Thomas
  • 20-05-2014

This lady had issues

Listen to the book as a break from my normal stuff...Saw the movie "Saving Mister Banks" and enjoyed it...wanted to get a little deeper into the story...This book went A Lot Deeper...
Strange Woman...

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  • Simone
  • 21-12-2013

OK, NOW I can see the movie!

I like to read books before seeing the movie so I was in a hurry to get to this one now that “Saving Mr Banks” is in theatres.

I haven’t read any of the Mary Poppins books, in fact I never gave the source of the 60s movie much thought. I am one of those people that instinctively link Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews and I know of no other version.

I also wanted to read this biography because it occurred to me that if Disney puts out a movie of the making of a Disney movie, it’s going to be told with a very specific slant and I wanted to get a better picture of the whole. P. L. Travers’ life makes for interesting reading, but I can’t say we have much in common so overall I felt: “ok fine, now I know”.

I liked the segment on the making of the movie the best which tells me I’ll probably enjoy “Saving Mr Banks” very much… we’ll see!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 11-03-2014

Interesting Story, Poorly Written

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who might enjoy this book are those who want to experience P.L. Traverse early writing. It was terrible though, and the biography author shares far too much of it!

What do you think your next listen will be?

Listened to Disney Wars by James B Stewart. It was excellent!

What does Terry Donnelly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Terry Donnelly's narration was very good. If I had been reading the book, I wouldn't have lasted as long.

What character would you cut from Mary Poppins, She Wrote?

P.L. Traverse early writing!

Any additional comments?

Skip this book! There are far too many good ones to spend time on this one!

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  • Sue D
  • 01-03-2019

I tried so hard to Enjoy this book.

Although some of the information about P L Travers is interesting it came across as very dry and boring. The second half of the book is just describing the various characters and stories in Mary Poppins . The presenters voice eventually ground me down and I had to give up.
Sadly I would not recommend this book and certainly not the audible version.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • rebecca
  • 14-05-2014

Gave up

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I found it painfully slow

Has Mary Poppins, She Wrote put you off other books in this genre?

I usually enjoy biographical works but this was just hard work

1 person found this helpful

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  • V Stone
  • 24-04-2014

Long-winded and rather pedantic

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who likes to know minute detail about someone's life together with a fascination with rather strange views on life. I persevered to the end but would never listen to it again. I found many of the characters were of little interest to me.
I also found the narrator's voice to be either grating or very dull.

What will your next listen be?

?

Would you be willing to try another one of Terry Donnelly’s performances?

no

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Mary Poppins, She Wrote?

The mass of detail about everyone P L Travers ever seems to have met. I understand that Pamela left a mass of papers and the biographer was not nearly sufficiently selective.

1 person found this helpful