The bizarre world of Mary Poppins… the book! By P.L.Travers

mary poppins

I love Mary Poppins! I have seen the movie probably a million times and watched the stage show… but never have I ever read the books. Up until now that is! I read the first Mary Poppins book by P. L. Travers just recently. Because lets face it, if I were to be a fan I had to read the books too. But let me tell you… The movie version is almost nothing like the book.

It is written by P. L. Travers who although was born in Australia but considers herself to be British. You can understand the British tone to the story and the fact that a family would live they way they did in this story even though they aren’t terribly well off – a very British tradition. But the world that she writes… is very bizarre, very strange and most definitely influenced by drugs – that’s for sure! It is more like a series of short stories that one story as there isn’t much of a flow or a link between chapters.

It is very enjoyable and I can see why Disney wanted to make a film of it… but I can also see why they chose to tone it down a bit. There are just a bit too many unusual things happening… having said that, it is Disney and they liked presenting a more innocent picture of the world to their young audiences. Which I guess does make sense.

The main changes to the books are the fact that the story isn’t told through song, the Banks family have four children Jane and Micheal who appear in the movie as well as two babies John and Barbara… Mary sleeps with the babies in the book instead of having a room adjacent to the children in their nursery, that there are more household staff in their house and that Mary herself isn’t as likable.

That was probably the crushing part of the book and being a huge fan of Julie Andrews and her version in the movie… that the book version although the children liked and eventually loved her was sometimes quite rude even towards the parents, held a few secrets close to her and could seem a little harsh towards the children. Plus she taught the children ‘lessons’ in odd ways. She is also described as not being that pretty.

But I guess Julie Andrews just couldn’t act in the way the book describes Mary Poppins… it just wouldn’t happen. It’s Julie Andrews after all – plus she is really pretty…

I am curious to read other Mary Poppins books just to see where the story goes and to figure out where other parts of the movie come from as well as the stage show.

If you are like me and wanted to know more about the world of Mary Poppins this is something you should read – it is indeed a great story even if a bit odd.

If however you don’t want the Julie Andrews image of Mary Poppins to be in some way tainted… then I would stay away because it will change!

For anyone else who hasn’t actually seen or read Mary Poppins then well – what are you waiting for??

Signing off… hope everyone is having a good week!

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