Book Reviews of What Falls Away : A Memoir

What Falls Away : A Memoir
What Falls Away A Memoir
Author: Mia Farrow
ISBN-13: 9780553564662
ISBN-10: 0553564668
Publication Date: 12/1/1997
Pages: 352
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7

4.1 stars, based on 7 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Honest memoir of a interesting woman...ends with the Woody Allen affair. Lots of details re: people and events but not much revelation of her personal philosophy...for example she relates her Catholic upbringing but not her subsequent religious views.
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully written story of Mia Farrow's extraordinary life, including her marriage to Frank Sinatra and the scandal with Woody Allen later on. She is an amazing writer.
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 165 more book reviews
Mia Farrow is a gifted writer and tells the story of her interesting life with quiet perspective--particularly the episodes involving Woody Allen and her adopted daughter, now his wife. I own this book and read it periodically just for the beautiful prose...but you will find her strength inspiring!
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 165 more book reviews
I love this book SO much and it's read by Mia Farrow, which makes it extra special--she is a wonderful writer with an extraordinary story to tell. But I sold my car that had the cassette player in it so I'm posting these...will be looking for it on CD so that I can listen whenever I get in the mood. A truly remarkable life history. I can't recommend it highly enough.
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 59 more book reviews
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.
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 59 more book reviews
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.
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 121 more book reviews
I could not put down this book which surprised me. I did not expect it to be as fascinating as it was...especially before it even got to the part about her relationship with Woody Allen and the subsequent scandals. I am also very impressed by her prose and writing style. She is a gifted, beautiful writer.

Born to privledge, Ms Farrow strove to forge for herself what she wanted most--a life of value and purpose. To matter. She also tried over and over to turn grief, hurt, betrayal and all the bad things life threw at her into hope, new attitides and an openess for new paths to be revealed. Along the way, she has a family 12 children that she is devoted to!

Her version of the Woody Allen scandal unfurled slowly, beginning with his many idiosyncrasies and phobias (he refused to eat any food in her houses except takeout, and wouldn't bathe there either, not even with his own bathmat and shower shoes, not even in a bathroom she had custom installed for his private use), but the stories grew more perplexing and harrowing as the pages turned. I believe what she wrote. It all read very true to me, such as:

Following one of the very few times they socialized with Woody Allen's parents, she wrote: "...it was an awkward, awful affair, as was every encounter with his parents. I grew up in Beverly Hills. I went to convent schools. I have moved in circles where people are polite to one another. I never saw anyone treat another person the way he behaved with his parents."

Another day, she asked an innocent question as to whether he would be attending her young son Fletcher's school graduation. "'I'll have to think about whether you have any right to ask me that question," he said, cold as ice. Better he should have smashed a fist into my face,' Farrow wrote.

And on and on, each anecdote more maddening and infuriating than the last. I came away from the book a fan of hers, although like many I cannot believe she stayed in such a relationship as long as she did. But the heart traps us sometimes I guess.

It probably won't surprise anyone to learn I personally will never watch another Woody Allen movie for as long as I live. Yes, my reaction is that visceral.

****1/2 Four and a half stars!
reviewed What Falls Away : A Memoir on + 5 more book reviews
A Mia Farrow no holds barred biography.