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What Would Barbra Do?: How Musicals Changed…

What Would Barbra Do?: How Musicals Changed My Life

by Emma Brockes

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    My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt (Anonymous user)

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The writer has a bit of an obnoxious tone, esp for a person who supposedly loves musicals. You'd think she wouldn't be so snarky talking about them; perhaps she should write about edgier stuff.

But it was laugh-out-loud funny sometimes. But it would have been nice if she'd kept the attitude in check. ( )
  anieva | Jun 2, 2013 |
An amiable saunter through the world of Hollywood musicals by an author who's still young and aspiringly cool enough to be slightly embarrassed about enjoying them. She wins Brownie points from me for her disdain for Andrew Lloyd-Webber, but loses them again for a lack of appreciation of Sondheim. Her joy at having hugged Julie Andrews alone makes up for any other shortcomings. ( )
  phoebesmum | May 11, 2010 |
Musicals, for most people, are a polarizing force. They are either something you love or completely despise (perhaps with the exception of shows such as Rent and Spring Awakening). What Would Barbra Do? How Musicals Changed My Life takes a look at both sides of the debate by tackling Emma Brockes's love-hate relationship with musical theatre. Part criticism, part theatre history, and part memoir, Brockes offers a refreshingly tart and (usually) unsentimental look at musicals and her evolving relationship with them. Although Brockes espouses some admittedly controversial views (at least for the average musical theatre lover), such as her dislike of both Rent and Grease, she presents her arguments in such a passionate and well-thought-out manner that it is hard to disagree with her logic even if you disagree with her sentiments.

What Would Barbra Do? is not perfect; some of the chapters seem repetitive and the organization is often fast and loose (to say the least). However, it is an enjoyable, entertaining, and often thoughtful look into musical theatre. By circumventing the adoring-fan route in favor of a more critical and sometimes satirical tone, Brockes allows readers to gain a greater understanding of musicals while also laughing at her trenchant remarks. I sincerely hope that Brockes writes a follow-up, if only to hear her insight into Legally Blonde the Musical and Spring Awakening.

To read my full review, go here: http://apparentlynotderanged.blogspot.com/2008/06/book-review-what-would-barbra-... ( )
  sweeks1980 | Sep 11, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061254614, Hardcover)

Emma Brockes didn't always love musicals. One of her most painful childhood memories is of her mother singing "The Hills Are Alive" while young Emma crossed the street en route to a babysitting gig. Mum said the music would keep muggers at bay. Emma found it warded off friends, a social life, and any chance of appearing normal.

Some people would slice off their arm with a plastic knife before they'd sit through Fiddler on the Roof or The Sound of Music. But musicals are everywhere, and it's about time someone asked why. Emma Brockes firmly believes that, in this world, our lives might be much better lived to a Broadway score. Smartly written and incredibly witty, What Would Barbra Do? is part memoir, part musical history tour, and, at its heart, the touching story of a daughter, a mother, and how musicals kept them together. It will have you laughing and singing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A personal account of the influence of musicals on everyday life is a part confessional, part social commentary that describes the author's experience of meeting famous celebrities and acquiring coveted bootleg recordings.

» see all 2 descriptions

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