Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mary Poppins Bookclub

It was my turn to host book club. Since I've never read the books and I am excited about the upcoming movie Saving Mr. Banks, I chose Mary Poppins.  Because I am a big nerd,  I also read Mary Poppins She Wrote by Valerie Lawson.

This is probably book blasphemy, but I really like the movie and Broadway musical better than the book.  The books are more like a collection of adventures then a story with a plot.  One of my book club friends read them allowed to her son and that is probably how they best to be enjoyed.

Mary Poppins She Wrote was really hard for me to get through. So you don't have to suffer through it, here's some things I learned:

She was born Helen Lyndon Goff on 9 August 1899  and died on 23 April 1996.

Much to her chagrin, she was born and raised in Australia, but always took pride in being British. She didn't actually move to England until she was in her 20's.

She fled England during WWII to the safety of the US. 

She was never married, but very likely had a few affairs with both men and women.

Her father was an unsuccessful banker and they often struggled with money and depended on the generosity of relatives.

She supported herself by acting, writing poetry, and as a play critic.

Mary Poppins umbrella is based on a real umbrella- one of the family’s servants-her mother thought it was terribly tacky,but Travers thought it was fabulous.

She had many gurus in her life and had a constant search for peace and truth.

She suffered with both lung and digestive problems.

She never married, but had an adopted son.  He was a twin and never told him anything about his birth family until he actually met his twin when he was 17.

For the film rights, she received $100000 down payment and 5 % if the producer’s growth.  She made millions.

Travers insisted the following be in the film: the tape measure, Mr. Banks in Pajamas, and the fact that she hated tapioca.

Travers wanted all the actors to be British.

She didn’t like how the Banks family was portrayed.  She didn’t want them to be portrayed as unhappy-just out of sorts.

She hated it that Mr. Banks tore up the children’s advertisement in the movie.  She insisted a loving parent doesn't tear up their children's work.

The original movie was to be set in modern times, but Traver's insisted it be set in Edwardian times (I am so glad).

Travers was offended when people called her a children's author and said  that fairy tales had “great things to teach us” and they were “carriers of a very old teaching, a religion, a way of lie, a chart for a man’s journey”.

She heartily approved of Julie Andrews.

Book Club Treats
 Mrs's Cory's Gingerbread stars -recipe HERE
 Mary Poppincorn
Union Jack Fruit Pizza

I just baked a sheet of my favorite sugar cookie dough (recipe HERE).  Then whipped together 1/3 cup sugar, 1 8oz cream cheese and a tsp. of vanilla. Spread on top of cooled cookie and topped w/ fruit.  Please tell me it looks like the British flag.

Here's some discussion question for book club:
1.  What did you like better about the book?
2. What did you like better about the movie?
3. In the original chapter of “Bad Tuesday”, they visited people, but Travers revised it to animals to make it more politically correct. Thoughts?
4. Travers said that she didn't write for children. Thoughts?
5. Is there a chapter that you would have like to seen in the movie?
6. The movie follows more traditional plot lines, the Banks family is in crisis, and Mary Poppins helps them become a stronger family.  The book is more a series of adventures.  Do you think the movie would have been as successful without following traditional plot lines?
7. Travers claimed that fairy tales had “great things to teach us” and they were “carriers of a very old teaching, a religion, a way of lie, a chart for a man’s journey”. 202
8. Travers viewed Mary Poppins as a “conduit..through her people found balance and a sense of their true worth.”  236 Do you agree?
9. Do you think the movie would have been as popular if Mary Poppins was plain and not as beautiful as Julie Andrews?
10.  Disney enlarged the role of Bert, because he didn’t think that Mary Poppins could carry the film all on her own.  Thoughts?

If you love Mary Poppins, check out my daughter's Halloween costume and umbrella tutorial HERE.

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