15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Solid biography of a woman whose character everyone knows, and her personal life almost none,
This review is from: Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers (Paperback)
"Mary Poppins, She Wrote" by Valerie Lawson is a biography of an unusual person P.L. Travers who forever go down in history as the creator of the popular children character Mary Poppins.
Her character becomes interesting again these days when movie "Saving Mr. Banks" was released in theaters, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, that describes difficulties P. L. Travers had with famous filmmaker Walt Disney during production of the Mary Poppins novel adaptation.
Helen Lyndon Goff, who will eventually become Pamela Travers, or shortly P.L. Travers, originates from Australia where she began her acting and writing career. After moving to UK, she continued her career writing poems professionally until 1934 when she released her first Mary Poppins story that has remained main theme of her books until her death in 1996.
She was the person who ran away from popularity, and because of her experience that she saw herself as the renowned author, she wasn't very popular in her environment.
An unusual detail that's not so much known about her life is that she adopted child when she was in her forties. It was a boy separated from his twin that will meet his brother many years later when they'll be teenagers. Her son was very angry on her foster mother because she never told him about his twin and that was the reason for the big problems that were difficult to smooth between them.
Travers also had lots of problems with her health therefore she was many times seeking help from different spiritual people, traveling all around the world.
The problems with Walt Disney incurred because their vision of Mary character were completely different - Travers saw her as much more complex character than Disney presented her in his popular movie. Therefore, their relations were very tense, and it all culminated on movie premiere where she wept seeing what kind of caricature they made from the character she created.
"Mary Poppins, She Wrote" is solid biography of a woman whose character everyone knows, and her personal life almost none, although in some parts the book seems a bit incomplete, especially for the lack of view on her motherhood.
However it's a work that is interesting because of many details from a person's life whose anonymity was important - P. L. Travers lived a sad but unusual life while in same time she searched for spiritual enlightenment, traveled across the globe and had many relationships with both men and women.
And due to above-mentioned Valerie Lawson work can be recommended to all those interested in the figure of the author who created Mary Poppins, but also for a different view of Walt Disney that this book offers.