The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Countless people the world over are familiar with the collective singing sensation of Maria and Captain von Trapp and their several children from The Sound of Music, the Rodgers and Hammerstein film and the Broadway musical, which together garnered multiple Academy and Tony Awards. I wanted to read the real story behind it all, written by Maria herself, for a number of years before I finally did it–and it was quite the experience.

I was surprised at the amount of humor in the memoir, as the author relays the story of her family in such a personable voice, right from her opening line in “The Chapter Before the First” (since she’s worried that if she called it a Foreword or Introduction or something, we’d just skip over it, as she would.) And she and the Captain–well!

“I wish I could see your eyes when you read the announcement of my engagement,” the Captain writes in a letter to Fräulein Maria while she’s still only the governess of his children, referring to his possible betrothal to a certain Princess Yvonne.

All “flared up,” Maria immediately writes back, “My eyes are none of your business.” Heeheehee, now, Fräulein! Captain! You two.

It’s not all fun and games and a family in song, of course. The Nazi invasion into Austria makes things suddenly eerie. I mean, imagine your children coming home from school and reporting that the teachers are beginning to disappear, being replaced with new ones. Or you’re walking through town and see that the names of all the streets have been changed. It becomes illegal to greet your friends and neighbors with “hello” or any other salutations other than “Heil Hitler.” And speaking of the leader you’re supposed to hail, what do you do when you get a call declaring that your family has been chosen to sing for the Führer’s birthday? What happens if you say no to Adolf Hitler?

I was somewhat more engaged in the first half or so of the book than the second, and the account in Maria’s letter toward the end had a depressing effect on me. But overall, this is a rich and delightful memoir full of hope.

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Yeah, sure. Like I’d really be able to resist posting clips from the legendary and simply awesome Rodgers and Hammerstein film, here. Definitely one of my all-time favorite motion pictures. 🙂

 

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The Sound of Music (1965)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Sound of Music

The Sound of Music (1965) by Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rated G. Drama, Biography/Historical, Romance, Musical
5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture

Five Gold Stars

Description (from the film case): A true story based on the lives of the Trapp Family Singers. Julie Andrews is Maria, a spirited, young Austrian woman studying to take her religious vows. Suspecting that Maria’s true calling may lie outside the convent, the Mother Superior arranges for her to leave the convent and become governess to the children of the autocratic widower, Baron Von Trapp. Bringing warmth and music to the strict household of the reserved former naval captain, Maria soon wins over the children, and finally the Baron as well, in a gorgeously rendered romance.

My thoughts: What can I say about a classic like The Sound of Music? I used to watch it on television every year as a part of family tradition and know the movie by heart–dialogue, songs, and all. How I was able to endure watching it with commercial breaks back in the day, it’s hard to say, but God be thanked for home video and DVDs. There’s no way to tell how many times I’ve watched this magnificent film since childhood, but I come to understand it better and therefore love it more every time.

My corresponding reading: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp.

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