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80 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Good Primer 23 janvier 2010
Par V. Nolan - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
For anyone who loves Mary Poppins, in any or all of her incarnations, this book serves as a great introduction to the evolution of the character. The biography paints a great portrait of the woman best known as the creator of Mary Poppins, while being quite blunt about her shortcomings, personality quirks, and key moments and people in her life which are all reflected somewhere in the text of the Mary Poppins books. Knowing what makes this author tick makes reading the Poppins books themselves a more meaningful experience as the reader can harken back to anecdotes and philosophies that Travers liberally sprinkled throughout the world of Cherry Tree Lane.

My favorite part of the book is the no-holds-barred retelling of Travers' negotiations with Walt Disney for the move rights, and subsequent alienation she encountered while becoming a thorn in the side to the production, so much so that she wasn't invited to the Hollywood premiere and almost literally crashed the event. This reaffirms everything I know from listening to the commentary of the film, as well as the Sherman Brothers remembrances of Travers' less than helpful suggestions for the movie.

If you love to hear about the behind-the-scenes goings on on film sets as much as I do, the chapter on the Disney movie will be a favorite.
102 internautes sur 111 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
STILL AN ENIGMA 17 octobre 2006
Par Mr. Borderman - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Valerie Lawson has done something P. L. Travers claimed she didn't want anyone to do: write her biography. It's a very good book. Travers discouraged personal questions in interviews, and preferred to discuss her work and, in later years, her philosophy of life -- the essence of experience as opposed to the mundane details of living. Lawson makes the case that if Travers had been serious about this she would have destroyed her papers -- which she decidedly did not do. Whatever her true feelings on the matter, this is a fascinating book, filled with insights into Travers' life and work, and with a respectable amount of attention to the work itself, especially the meanings and importance of the Mary Poppins books.

I think Lawson gives somewhat short shrift to Travers work with Parabola magazine, which is some of her most brilliant writing -- inspiring to thousands of her readers, and collected in the now out of print "What the Bee Knows." (Note to publishers: bring it back!) You may also find out more than you want to known about her endless toing and froing with Disney, and the ways in which the movie deal echoed through the last thirty years of her life.

But Lawson also gives the first comprehensive account of Travers' private life, her involvement AE and Gurdieff, her adoption of one twin, her son Camillus, and her early career as an actress. Her love affairs are touched on.

I'm not sure, in the end, if all the private matters, interesting as they may be, really add to our understanding of Travers' work, though Lawson makes some persuasive connections between the fantasy and the reality. Mary Poppins herself, the Great Exception, survives the biography with her mystery intact, and in spite of Lawson's sympathetic and thorough craftsmanship, so does Travers. For those of us lucky ones who count Travers as a touchstone in our lives, that's just fine. Questions without answers can often be more satisfying than the other kind.
23 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Some Light on and Elusive Personality 9 mai 2007
Par Loves the View - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Lawson provides some information on a fellow Australian, who despite protestations to the contrary, may have wanted someone to present a biography of her. Travers left notes and diaries but it appears to be information and not real knowledge. Her life was mirage, down to her name, national allegiance and way of relating to her mentors, adopted son and sponsor, Walt Disney and his staff.

The book tells the story as much as it can be told.
35 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A sad and disappointed life 18 janvier 2014
Par Sharon S. - Publié sur
Format: Broché
After seeing the movie, Saving Mr.Banks, I wanted to know more about P.L.Travers. Unfortunately, I learned more (boring stuff) about the the literary and philosophical circles P.L.Travers traveled in than I did about the woman herself.

As a fan of the Mary Poppins books, having borrowed them from the library many times as a child, I already knew that the Walt Disney movie starring Julie Andrews (!) was its own fantasy, rather than a cinematic portrayal of the Mary Poppins I knew from P.L.Travers' books. After reading 'Mary Poppins, She Wrote' I believe that the movie 'Saving Mr.Banks' is ANOTHER Disney fantasy, rather than an accurate or realistic biography of P.L.Travers OR the making of the their Mary Poppins movie.

I understand that P.L.Travers obscured, hid facts, and down right lied about her life over the years, so I'm sure that writing her biography was difficult. But Valerie Lawson tells us, up front, that despite Travers' claims that she did not want anyone to write her biography, Travers left a wealth of papers and documentation, and made sure it was available to anyone who wanted to read it. If there IS so much open documentation, one would think she could have presented a more straight forward, if not more informative, biography.

I was really bored by the tedious FILLER about all the gurus P.L.Travers followed in her life. It might have been SLIGHTLY more acceptable if Lawson had included anything that explained WHAT these teachings were about. Despite having to plow through page after page about Gurdijieff, I couldn't grasp any basic concept of his teachings as related by Valerie Lawson in her book...even though Wikipedia manages to fit it into a lot less space and comes up with a more concise explanation. I found it somewhat ironic that Lawson's book includes a lot more of what I'd consider "gossip" about Grudjieff, supposedly gleaned form Travers' letters and papers, while P.L.Travers has only a very minor mention in the Wikipedia article about Grudjieff.

Lawson also wrote much about Travers' preoccupation with Zen, and the idea that the Mary Poppins books (or, perhaps just Mary Poppins, herself) were considered to be Zen. I wish she had explained what this was supposed to mean, for readers who aren't familiar with the concept of Zen. I certainly hope it is more than that Mary Poppins is simply an unexplainable riddle.

After reading Valerie Lawson's biography of P.L.Travers, I ended up feeling that Travers was an insecure writer who tried to imbue her childhood fantasies with great philosophical meaning. It seems that over her lifetime she almost taunted her readers and students, reviewers and interviewers, with "if you don't know, I'M not going to tell you!" responses about her books, her methods, her beliefs and her life. In the end, I was left with the feeling that she was a charlatan...or that SHE felt she was...and that's why she was so secretive and vague.

I think it sad that (it seems) she wrote the Mary Poppins stories, and particularly the sequel books, simply because she needed the money and was unable to write anything else that was commercial successful. I also think it is sad that she (seemed) to feel that writing children's literature was beneath her as a writer, so that she had to give these stories a higher meaning by saying they are an interpretation of myth and/or mystical religion, and insisted they were NOT written for children. I think P.L.Travers lived a sad and disappointed life.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
If You Loved The Movie........ 20 mars 2014
Par Crabigail Cassidy - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
I absolutely loved the movie Saving Mr. Banks so much that I saw it a second time. On the second viewing, I noticed that there was a scene where Emma Thompson (P.L. Travers' portrayer) was doing a sitting. Sitting is philosopher Gurdjieff's speak for something akin to meditating. This got my attention. I'm not sure how I missed this subtlety this first time around, but it made me wonder just how authentic the movie was.
Much as I liked the movie, this book is a wonderful companion piece that is more detailed and thoughtful than the film.
While this book details the early death of Travers father and their impoverished existence, her interest in Khrishnamurti and Gurdjieff, the real grab for me was Travers' dealings with Disney while she was involved with the company during the production of Mary Poppins. This is a great story that goes counter to everything one perceives about Hollywood and the Wonderful World of Disney. Travers was an incredibly principled lady who pretty much stuck to her guns and exercised her creative prerogative and in the process drove the Hollywood folks nuts. The end result was terribly funny but also very thoughtful.
To many Travers may come across as irritatingly confrontational, but I enjoyed her directness and 'take no prisoners' attitude. This book is very detailed and well written and gives its reader an original in the story of P.L. Travers. If you liked the movie, you will love the book.
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