Barbra Streisand’s most avid fans have probably read or plan to read her close to 1,000-page memoir or have spent close to 50 hours (yes, that's not a typo) listening to the audio version. I also recommend this book for those who are well acquainted with the incredibly talented Streisand but who have believed everything negative they've heard about her throughout her long and highly successful career - difficult, controlling, impossible to work with. You may be surprised at what Barbra has to say. Streisand has come a long way since her humble roots in Brooklyn but after reading this book, it became clear that she is still in many ways the same young girl desperately seeking the approval of her mother and someone who never got over the loss of her father.
For the most part, My Name Is Barbra moves quickly. The stories are interesting, revealing, moving and often funny. I have to admit that at some places, I did some skimming as not everything is equally interesting. I also found myself stopping and going online to watch a video or look up more facts about a specific person, movie, show or album. One example - during a live performance in 1994 at the MGM Grand, Barbra brings Mike Myers (dressed as SNL character Linda Richman) to the stage for a hilarious exchange. I was farklempt (choked up) as Barbra said she got schpilkis in her genecktigesoint (butterflies in her stomach). And of course, I had to take a reading break and watch Funny Girl.
As someone who was born and raised in Brooklyn, there was always a sense of pride knowing how many talented people heralded from there. But there's always been a special feeling Brooklynites have about Streisand. It is great that Barbra has spent the past 27 years happily married to actor James Brolin. While Streisand spills the tea about some of her most well-known loves, I was most fascinated by the stories of the great songwriters and filmmakers she worked with over the years. Sadly, so many have now passed.
Controlling? Sure. I'd simply say that Streisand is a perfectionist. And she certainly earned the right to control her work. Would a man have been treated differently? Of course.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Memoir | Autobiography.
Publication Date: November 7, 2023.