Nonfiction: What Would Barbra Do, by Emma Brockes

4.0 out of 5 stars WWBD?


Emma Brockes was raised in England by a mum who would break into show tunes at the drop of a hat. Growing up in the age of DVDs, Emma and her girlfriends were free to to watch their favorite musicals ad infinitum , and boy, did they ever (imagine seeing Mary Poppins, voluntarily, 150 times). Now she describes the influence that the shows and songs have had on certain aspects of her life. Wry and witty, Brockes deconstructs the genre, analyzing plots, messages, the good (five of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s), the bad (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and the worst of all time (Xanadu). The book is sprinkled heavily with comic incidents and observations, a tongue-in-cheek yet authoritative survey of the history of musicals in all their spectacular, impossible glory. And yes, they have influenced the development of the American “character”, in both senses of the word.

Fun and original.

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2 thoughts on “Nonfiction: What Would Barbra Do, by Emma Brockes

  1. Kim says:

    This is the perfect gift for my girlfriend who loves musicals. They tend to drive me nuts, I like my theatre fairly intense, but I go with her once a year, that’s what friends are for!

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