NUTSI took a break from my summertime reading of novels to read a memoir, My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall. Miss Marshall, best known as Laverne from the hit sitcom Laverne and Shirley and later as a prominent director of popular movies, has written a very entertaining book about her life and times.

I was familiar with Miss Marshall’s career of course, I pretty much grew up with her on television. However, I really did not know much about her earlier life or what was going on behind the scenes during the height of her career. In My Mother Was Nuts, Miss Penny Marshall shares an intimate portrait of her childhood and her life when she was one of the biggest television stars in the world. By the way, she was married to Rob Reiner at the time he too was on a top sitcom, All in the Family – which makes for a very specific story of life as a 1970s pop culture icon.

About My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall: “Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way. My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston. Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: ‘try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.’ With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.”

As an added bonus, I took advantage of reading the Kindle version of this book in concert with the audio version from Audible.com. You can toggle back and forth from reading the book on a Kindle app to listening to it on the same device. This allowed me to hear Miss Marshall read her own work and I must tell you it greatly enhanced the experience. Having Miss Marshall’s voice (literally) in my head made me appreciate her casual writing style more and made her tale much more personal.

Like many memoirs and autobiographies, in the end My Mother Was Nuts is a snapshot of a life and not the in-depth review you would get from a more scholarly biography. Nor is this book a namedropping tell-all. Sure, Miss Marshall shares stories of her famous friends and family, but it is all part of her story and she is very respectful. My Mother Was Nuts is a charming and funny book that captures the spirit of Miss Marshall’s unique personality.

My Mother Was Nuts a memoir by Penny Marshall is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.