I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Laverne & Shirley was a staple in my childhood TV favorites. So when I happened across My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall as a choice in Kindle Unlimited I decided to give it a go.
I’m not much for memoirs. And I’m not that much into celebrities. So it sat in my Kindle a while until I signed up for a nonfiction reading challenge for 2023. The elements finally aligned to cause me to start this book! I was immediately drawn in with Penny Marshall’s introduction about being robbed by sword-wielding ninjas! What?? Only she can turn a terrifying experience into a funny story. They seemed to be less than brilliant ninjas and she handled herself calmly in the whole ordeal. The story was brilliant. So from there I knew I was in store for a good book.
Penny Marshall shares memories of growing up in New York City; her trajectory into show business, directing, and her days after directing. One thing I took away from the book that I don’t see in many other reviews is the lesson to never stop playing. Creativity comes from play. If you give up playing, you lose touch with so much potential and growth.
Penny has a dry sense of humor that I loved throughout the book. You either love that type of humor, you hate it … or it flies right over your head. There are a range of emotions in the book as well. It’s not all humor. Throughout her life, Penny Marshall had to make some tough decisions. She said one thing that covers every decision anyone I’ve ever known has made. People make decisions based on what they’re going through at the time. We can’t judge them for the decisions they make. We aren’t in their situation or have their background. My heart broke for her several times throughout the book.
In the end, I believe Penny Marshall lived a full and rewarding life. In return, she gladly gave of herself for others through charitable acts as well as through her work. Her main priority was a result of something her mother taught her. In all she did, she wanted to make sure she was entertaining. And she certainly was that. I give My Mother Was Nuts four out of five stars.