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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 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 was the crisis that led her to reflect upon the incidents that had brought her to a place so incomprehensible. She was born the third of seven children to the beautiful actress Maureen O'Sullivan and successful writer/director John Farrow, but the isolation of a polio ward brought her childhood to an abrupt end at the age of nine. Several years later, two deaths shattered the security of the family forever, and Mia Farrow embarked upon a journey that would lead her away from the convent education that was to sustain her spiritual courage, to starring roles in Peyton Place and Rosemary's Baby, a marriage to Frank Sinatra, divorce, a defining trip to India, work on the London stage and in film, and marriage to Andre Previn. Their life together in England brought them three sons and three daughters before that marriage, too, dissolved and she returned to the United States. The year 1979 saw the beginning of a new career with brilliant performances in thirteen of Woody Allen's most distinguished films.


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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 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 was the crisis that led her to reflect upon the incidents that had brought her to a place so incomprehensible. She was born the third of seven children to the beautiful actress Maureen O'Sullivan and successful writer/director John Farrow, but the isolation of a polio ward brought her childhood to an abrupt end at the age of nine. Several years later, two deaths shattered the security of the family forever, and Mia Farrow embarked upon a journey that would lead her away from the convent education that was to sustain her spiritual courage, to starring roles in Peyton Place and Rosemary's Baby, a marriage to Frank Sinatra, divorce, a defining trip to India, work on the London stage and in film, and marriage to Andre Previn. Their life together in England brought them three sons and three daughters before that marriage, too, dissolved and she returned to the United States. The year 1979 saw the beginning of a new career with brilliant performances in thirteen of Woody Allen's most distinguished films.

30 review for What Falls Away: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    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. The celebrated director'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 shocki 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. The celebrated director'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's not just sour grapes: Farrow includes court documents about her custody case against him for the child Allen disgustingly loved too much. The judge alone seals his fate. So why do people still herald him as a genius? The times are warped indeed. My main criticism is of Farrow: How could she have been so blind for so long? But beyond that, she is a brilliant and sensitive writer and her book has moments of poetry in it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    During the whole Woody Allen/Mia Farrow separation and divorce, I was interested in what was going on thinking rightly that Woody is a pedophile for marrying a daughter he semi-raised. In another round of close but no cigar present buying (in fact I think this is when we decided not to buy presents for each other anymore), my husband thought that meant I wanted to read Woody Allen's version of what happened and bought me his book for Christmas. I returned it and bought Mia's book. If you read it During the whole Woody Allen/Mia Farrow separation and divorce, I was interested in what was going on thinking rightly that Woody is a pedophile for marrying a daughter he semi-raised. In another round of close but no cigar present buying (in fact I think this is when we decided not to buy presents for each other anymore), my husband thought that meant I wanted to read Woody Allen's version of what happened and bought me his book for Christmas. I returned it and bought Mia's book. If you read it now and see interviews of some of his children you realize this wasn't a spurned woman's sour grapes. I'm sorry that more people didn't choose to believe Mia. Also, she's a really, really good actress that hasn't really rebounded since that time. Enjoyable book too about her young life and her relationship with her mother and father. Worth a read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    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 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 looked for vulnerability in others for his own satisfaction. He identified her giving spirit as a weakness and exploited it. A predator. He held the classic defining characteristics of a child molester. He 'groomed' the entire family. I find Mr. Allen to be dispicable. He is self absorbed and disgusting. I believe, his marriage to Soon-Yi is a ploy to protect his reputation. I feel sorry for Soon-Yi. I wonder, if in the life the two share now, how much love is actually exchanged. I think that some people are damaged from their childhood and sometimes unrepairable. I think this was the case for Soon-Yi. By the time Mia adopted her, she was too far gone. She was damaged forever. Her emotional being was forever broken. I feel sad that perhaps at this time she is still emotionally stunted and lives in a loveless, lonely facade for the sake of a man drunk on power and self indulgence who trivialized others. I also find it funny that everyone in this story was a victim, with the exception of one Mr. Allen though he vehemently denies any wrongdoing. That's usually how it goes though doesn't it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Flora

    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 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 yourself afterwards.

  5. 5 out of 5

    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 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 mansion in Beverly Hills along with other famous friends in a life of luxury. She tells the history of her family and the tragedies that follows her from childhood to adulthood. She talks about her relationships with Frank Sinatra and her second husband which she broke up from. Then her ever famous relationship with Woody Allen that ruined her family life. Overall I liked this book and it made m appreciate autobiographies more!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    WHAT FALLS AWAY has been tucked away on my bookshelf unread since its release in 1997. I’m sure that I bought it initially because of the child molestation accusation that had been leveled against Woody Allen who had greatly impressed me as a filmmaker. As the years passed, I was even less inclined to read it. And then over the course of two weeks, three references regarding the book came my way: a collected interview with Maureen O’Sullivan referencing her daughter’s book, a friend sending me a WHAT FALLS AWAY has been tucked away on my bookshelf unread since its release in 1997. I’m sure that I bought it initially because of the child molestation accusation that had been leveled against Woody Allen who had greatly impressed me as a filmmaker. As the years passed, I was even less inclined to read it. And then over the course of two weeks, three references regarding the book came my way: a collected interview with Maureen O’Sullivan referencing her daughter’s book, a friend sending me a link to Dylan Farrow’s CBS interview when I’d mentioned that I wanted to read Woody Allen’s latest book, and a notice from BookBub that WHAT FALLS AWAY was now available at a significant discount in the Kindle format. It was time to take the book from the shelf. What struck me immediately was that Mia Farrow is a very accomplished writer! She had passages demonstrating a remarkable felicity of expression that brought scenes vividly to life in my mind. Even though I would have enjoyed more detail about certain subjects, such as working on the movie, “The Great Gatsby,” what she did tell tended to humanize “the stars” much more than the usual fabled Hollywood stories. (The story about Charles Boyer successfully rescuing a newborn baby bird comes immediately to mind.) With marriages to Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn, becoming an overnight sensation on the night time television soap opera, “Peyton Place,” interacting with The Beatles during a meditation retreat, and her falling victim to polio as a young child, there would be enough to sate most curiosity into the world of show business. However, the “Big Event” was her time with Woody Allen ... and that story takes up most of the book. Much has been told over and over again regarding the allegations against Woody Allen and his assertion that Mia Farrow had led a vendetta against him as “the scorned woman.” However, I would be very hard pressed to categorize the writer as vindictive based on what she relates here. Not unlike Dyan Cannon in her book about her time with Cary Grant, Mia Farrow is remarkably balanced given the situation. In fact, she sometimes makes statements that are too cryptic ... an extremely hurtful explosion of rage on a public street outside of a house that she thought belonged to William F. Buckley, or the firing of movie cast members Christopher Walken, Michael Keaton, and Maureen O’Sullivan. The writer drops these bombshells, then moves on without saying anything more about them! I mention this because the writer certainly had the perfect forum to rake Allen over the coals ... and, considering the allegations, she mostly steers away from that. Indeed, she’ll often discuss her feelings of guilt about how she contributed to the situation. The psychological reasons why people do what they do is fascinating and often inconclusive. Allen is definitely a bundle of neuroses, at one point going to two therapy sessions every day! Farrow doesn’t share a lot of her self-analysis, but it is evident that she suffered from feelings of being an outsider and not belonging. Add to that the guilt over refusing to take multiple phone calls from her father on the night he died. There is plenty of dysfunction here to go around. In an Afterward at the end of the book, the writer received permission to publish “the state Supreme Court decision in its entirety” of the first lawsuit filed by Allen against her to gain child custody. This isn’t someone’s interpretation of what was said. This is a legal document. It sheds a completely different light on the reasons behind not prosecuting Allen. I don’t know if I’ll ever read Woody Allen’s autobiography, APROPOS OF NOTHING. I’ve removed it from my reading list, and a few of his films that I wanted to see again have been dropped from my Netflix Watchlist. I feel pretty much as I did after the Bill Cosby verdict ... I’ve had enough of that person for now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    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 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 a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me; so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go. -Theodore Roethke, The Waking, as cited in the foreward of What falls away: a memoir by Mia Farrow After reading this book I am unable to ever again watch a Woody Allen movie. Seriously.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Rich

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 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 assumed Maureen quit the Tarzan pictures to work closer to home and be with her children (and SEVEN of them at that!), but, as it turned out, she merely didn't enjoy her time, which is a bit disappointing, but understandable. I find it hilarious that the monkeys felt territorial over Johnny Weissmuller and felt her an encroacher, so she called them "jealous homosexuals", and referred to Cheetah himself as "that little bastard". The "marriage" she shared with John Farrow, however, seemed to be deeply rooted in 1950s Irish Catholicism-- i.e., they weren't happy, but allowing him an "extra door to his room for his hussies" was preferable to divorce, apparently. I was unaware that Mia had grown up so religiously, including the bulk of her education in Catholic boarding schools, which made her at one time desire to become a nun-- that part was not quite so surprising, actually, knowing her great humanitarian desire to help others, especially children in need. Her marriage to Frank Sinatra-- I enjoyed reading of this. While their love affair was brief, they sustained a cordial friendship that lasted the rest of their lives (he threatened to break Woody Allen's legs for her-- she should've let him!), and gained her very close friend, Nancy Sinatra, through the relationship. However, the Ava Gardner connection... Ohhhh... Walking in on your father with a woman, then ten years later marrying her ex-husband? Awk-ward... Not to mention that she once drunkenly came to Mia and said, "Isn't she CUTE?? She's like the baby Frankie and I never had!" (Beyond awkward.) And, though she adored Frank, too many differences seemed to get in the way-- she liked the quiet life, it just wasn't him. It seems that her happiest love was with Andre` Previn, actually, with whom she shared her first six children, Matthew and Sasha (twins, biological), Lark (adopted), Fletcher (biological), Daisy (adopted) and Soon-Yi (adopted). However, too much time apart can ruin even a real, great love, and the small amount of time they spent together it seems that they were more together to have babies... And, then, she was alone with her babes and her mother... she should probably have stayed that way, but hindsight is always 20-20. She allowed Woody Allen into her life, and, surprisingly, though he took over great chunks of it, and was omnipresent, he never actually LIVED with her at all. There seemed to be red flags all over the place, but perhaps fear, or loneliness, or both made her allow him to remain in her life, despite his cold indifference to her dearly loved (now seven) children. And, when they decided to adopt a child together, this is when the REAL trouble began... from the moment of BIRTH she could see his behavior as "wildly inappropriate" towards little Dylan, but merely tried to coax him out of it. When she became pregnant with a child of their own, more red flags appeared, as he had no interest the second he found out the child was a boy, and no desire to have anything to do with him in following years, including threatening (and once attempting, only to be thwarted by Mia) to break his legs and referring to him constantly as "that superfluous little bastard". Still, apparently all the red flags in the world weren't enough, and she surprisingly was shocked when his sociopathic, pedophiliac, unethical, devious and without-conscience behavior came to true light, slapping her in the face. She won the right to keep him from her precious, innocent and scarred children, but lost a daughter (Soon-Yi) in the process. She is regretful of bringing him into their lives, and admits her own shortcomings in doing so. However, this strong woman was able to move forward with her family, though it doesn't sound as if she'd want to risk her heart again. I found this a beautifully written, detailed memior; one of the best I've actually read. I literally COULD NOT put it down.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Noise

    Picking this book up at Vinnies for $1.00 I expected nothing but a bit of fluff. How wrong I was. Mia Farrow is a wonderful writer, her story of a second generation Hollywood actor was not a gloat but merely a journey through her life with well known parents. The journey into herself in the 60's meeting the Beatles and Maharishi and marriages to Frank Sinatra, Andrea Previn are a wonderful adventure into a life so different from mine. Mia collects children, some born from her, most adopted, whil Picking this book up at Vinnies for $1.00 I expected nothing but a bit of fluff. How wrong I was. Mia Farrow is a wonderful writer, her story of a second generation Hollywood actor was not a gloat but merely a journey through her life with well known parents. The journey into herself in the 60's meeting the Beatles and Maharishi and marriages to Frank Sinatra, Andrea Previn are a wonderful adventure into a life so different from mine. Mia collects children, some born from her, most adopted, while some of those have disabilities she helps cure with love and care. Her need to be a mother stands out. While the relationship with Woody Allen bemused me and I will make no judgement, as love comes in all forms, but when your young daughter is seen being caressed by your partner in view of other family members and considered inappropriate, why did she continue to allow Woody Allen near any of her children, especially the girls? There are of course two sides to every story, however my gut finds Woody Allen extremely creepy. To initiate a sexual relationship with someone 35 years younger and who is also naive in matters of love is purely grooming. I loved this book for it's simple prose yet parts of it angered me beyond belief, I only hope that Woody Allen's two daughters with his marriage to Soon Yi are safe, and that Mia and her children are healed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    What Falls Away is an in-depth book about the life of Mia Farrow. From The Haunting of Julia to Rosemary's Baby, she has acted in numerous highly-acclaimed films. But this book focuses more on her personal life, a life not much different from everyone else. From her Irish roots to her first job, What Falls Away captures it all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    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!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kit

    Desperate lives of talented dysfunctional Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Khris Sellin

    Woody Allen: "The dick wants what it wants."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tiff Gibbo

    I need a salt bath after reading the latter third of this book. I genuinely feel like crying; what Mia, Dylan, Soon-Yi and all of her children (including Moses) went through is absolutely stomach turning. But I'll get to that... Mia's book for the first two thirds is fascinating in its own respect, and gives needed context for what she went through. Among the things I did not realise about Farrow was her parents' own incredibly impressive accomplishments (her father, an orphan, wrote a famous bi I need a salt bath after reading the latter third of this book. I genuinely feel like crying; what Mia, Dylan, Soon-Yi and all of her children (including Moses) went through is absolutely stomach turning. But I'll get to that... Mia's book for the first two thirds is fascinating in its own respect, and gives needed context for what she went through. Among the things I did not realise about Farrow was her parents' own incredibly impressive accomplishments (her father, an orphan, wrote a famous biography about a Tahitian priest and, for it, was a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre; her mother was a well known actress who played, among other things, Jane in Tarzan) and that she grew up in a large family, oft-marred by tragedy. Her Irish roots and strong Catholic education seemed to give her the necessary perspective and work ethic to continue moving forwards in a world that was not necessarily always kind to her, and she appears to have escaped a number of childhood traumas - her brother's death, her bout of Polio, her father's early death - with her back strengthened rather than broken. One note: it's sad that Mia never really got a chance, throughout her life, to live for just herself. When not caring for her mother emotionally, she was caring for younger siblings, and soon thereafter, she was in a string of strange and high profile relationships with finnicky, self-absorbed creatives often a decade or more older than her - Dali (yes, Salvador Dali, I was surprised too! They met when she was 17 in New York), Frank Sinatra, Andre Previn, then finally, Allen. Past then, there were innumerable children. I find it interesting that, during her Polio episode, her mother referred exclusively to the hospital trip to come through reference to motherhood. It appeared to be impressed upon Mia from a young age that motherhood was the necessary pathway to adulthood for a woman - and I'm not knocking that, to be clear, but it's an interesting observation. Mia paints her relationship with these men in broad strokes of dependence, condescension and little communication. Sinatra doesn't come off great in their time together, but rather in equal measures volatile and remote. Previn is discussed as almost an after thought, even though it is with him that she had her 7 children, and there is almost no discussion put to the fact that she was his mistress. I get no real sense of Previn, but their entire relationship seemed to be hinged on the phrase, "Why the hell not?" It seems like Mia herself can't really explain it. Then, we get to Allen... Oh boy. By the time Allen and Farrow meet, she is in a state of insecurity. Her marriages both dissolved in part due to her pursuit of career (and even with Previn, she made incredible concessions that were never enough) and she appears to fall into a state of dependence on a man who it is difficult to reach and, often times, punishes her for trying to reach him. Their relationship seems to me to be one of mutual remoteness, with Farrow willing to accept it as "just good enough." She denies and looks away from his fawning relationship with her sister, Steffi, and it appears Allen is constantly attempting to stoke a reaction, especially through the process of the making of Hannah and Her Sisters - which I regret to inform you, is a great movie, through which one can continue to trace the origins of obnoxious soft boy behaviour. Farrow hypothesises that Allen was attempting a reaction here, and also with the revelation of his relationship with Soon-Yi. The latter third takes you into her bewilderment at Soon-Yi's sudden hostility towards her, her "little laughs of superiority" and the incredible tension to their relationship. The pornographic polaroids were less than a metre away from Woody's phone. I do truly believe he left them there, too, because he is a nasty little sociopath who couldn't wait to see the chaos such awful behaviour would wreak. I find myself emotionally exhausted after the book. I don't particularly want to even write about the allegations against Dylan, as they are so shocking and horrifying. All I can say is that Allen is a disgusting man, and I am sorry for Farrow that her autobiography had to include his name at all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    D. Thrush

    What a fascinating difficult life. You always think that being the child of celebrities would be a charmed life, but Mia suffered many traumas along with the perks. At the age of nine, she contracted polio and was separated from her family to be treated in a polio unit. That must’ve been so traumatic for a young child. Then she and her sister were sent away to a strict convent school. She was one of seven children, which may be why she wanted to have a large family as an adult. The book chronicl What a fascinating difficult life. You always think that being the child of celebrities would be a charmed life, but Mia suffered many traumas along with the perks. At the age of nine, she contracted polio and was separated from her family to be treated in a polio unit. That must’ve been so traumatic for a young child. Then she and her sister were sent away to a strict convent school. She was one of seven children, which may be why she wanted to have a large family as an adult. The book chronicles her career and personal life. She goes to India to explore meditation with the Maharishi and the Beatles arrive, she becomes friends with Salvador Dali, she marries Frank Sinatra, then Andre Previn and begins a family, she has a long relationship with Woody Allen, which ends in scandal. I’m struck by the contradictions between who she seems to be and the relationships she chooses. This is her life from her perspective, and I think there can be no doubt that she is an exceptional person who opened her home and heart to the many children she adopted, some with special needs. I greatly admire her for this. I was happy to see photos included in the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    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 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 own depth and integrity while making us wonder many many things. Here is what I wondered throughout the entire book ( I did not wonder about Woody Allen's slimyness; he is obviously a hopeless nutcase; the worse kind...): 1. I wondered about Money. How could Farrow afford all the expenses of raising so many children? (And I was always counting on my fingers just many children there were. There were SO MANY.) Her father died broke; her mother, Maureen Sullivan was acting on the Broadway stage at the age of 55 to support her own 7 children! Did Mia inherit some money somewhere along the line? I think her 2nd husband Andre Previn, who seemed a decent sort,did help support his 6 (or 7) kids with her, but still. (Maybe she made her money in Peyton Place, or Rosemary's Baby.) 2. I wondered about space. Where did all those children sleep? IN the cabin on the lake in Connecticut or wherever that was, it did not sound like a mansion. 3. I wondered how all her children got along so well. Here you had special needs orphans who had been traumatized in Viet Nam and elsewhere; yet as soon as she brought them home to the USA, it was like a Disney movie. 4. I wondered about childcare. There is some slight mention later on in the book about a "babysitter" and a "French Tutor," but with 7,8, and 9 small children in a home and Mia free to go act in films and on the stage, who was home taking care of the kids? How many nannies? Was there a cook? Who did the laundry and washed the dishes, not to mention the bathroom? These are the details that were missing. So after all that wondering, I have to admit that I think Mia Farrow must have just had a magical amount of love to give these children. It seemed like every few months she was taking in a new child, with seemingly no qualms. And flying all around the world, to pick up the child from the orphanage, often bringing along one or two of her other children. In my experience as a lower-middle class working person who raised a mere 3 children, that was pretty demanding. I cannot even imagine having 7, 8, 9, 10, and eventually 14 children! And while still having an acting career and maintaining a relationship with a partner (although we do see how that went downhill.) Am I the only one with all these questions? This was a terrifically revealing and inspiring book. I have nothing but respect for Mia Farrow. She certainly has the "right stuff." And I would also comment that way before Angelina Jolie introduced the concept to the public of adopting orphans from various third world countries and blending with the children she gave birth to, apparently there was Mia Farrow, although we really did not get the blow by blow accounts in the press. At least Mia Farrow was able to shield her family from that for the most part.

  19. 4 out of 5

    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 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 certainly would never watch another. He is a very disturbed man and the fact that Ms. Farrow did not see that is what leads me to question her dependence on older men.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Prior to reading this memoir, here is what I knew about Mia Farrow: married to Sinatra, Rosemary’s Baby, and one of Woody Allen’s muses. Here is what I now know about Mia Farrow: second generation Hollywood, childhood polio, ashram with the fab four, adopted lots of children, Andre Previn, and the sordid details of Woody Allen and Mia’s children, including Soon-Yi Previn. I thought her early years were interesting, but her relationships with men could only be classified as questionable. Farrow app Prior to reading this memoir, here is what I knew about Mia Farrow: married to Sinatra, Rosemary’s Baby, and one of Woody Allen’s muses. Here is what I now know about Mia Farrow: second generation Hollywood, childhood polio, ashram with the fab four, adopted lots of children, Andre Previn, and the sordid details of Woody Allen and Mia’s children, including Soon-Yi Previn. I thought her early years were interesting, but her relationships with men could only be classified as questionable. Farrow appears to have a good heart and good intentions, but poor judgment.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Interesting read, but I can't help but wonder how long she would have stayed with Woody Allen if he hadn't decided he preferred her daughter. She writes about her misgivings about his sexualized behavior toward their younger daughter, her suspicion that he wanted to be with her sister and how he never loved any of her other children, as well as his mistreatment of her. . . but apparently was willing to overlook all of that since he was rich and powerful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    She's a fine writer, sure, but the most interesting (read: salacious) parts were the ones about the emotional masochism that was her relationship with Woody Allen. That dude was/is a hot Freudian mess. I had to put the book down for fear that I would never again be able to enjoy Hannah and her Sisters with a clear conscience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ally McCulloch

    Even though I was curious, it was a little too in-depth for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joellen Valerius

    THE MOST well written book that I've ever read. I LOVE the way Mia Farrow writes...it just flows...

  28. 5 out of 5

    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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick Guzan

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