Book Review: Forever Liesl

Forever Liesl - Charmian Carr, Jean A.S. Strauss

Book: Forever Liesl


Author: Charmian Carr


Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir/Film


Summary: The magic of The Sound of Music lives on in the minds and hearts of everyone it has touched. Now, Charmian Carr, who in 1965 captivated moviegoers as Liesl "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" von Trapp, tells what it was like to be a part of the film that has become a cultural phenomenon. It's all here: from how she got the role (and why she almost didn't) to romances on the set and wild nights in Salzburg; from the near-disaster during the gazebo dance to her relationships - then and now - with her six celluloid siblings. Charmian also reveals why she left acting, what she learned when she met the real von Trapp children, and how The Sound of Music has helped her get through the stormy times in her own life. Forever Liesl celebrates the spirit of the movie and what it stands for: family love, romance, inspiration, nostalgia, and the joy and power of music. -Penguin Books, 2000.



The Sound of Music is one of my favorite musicals and films. I love Rogers & Hammerstein musicals as a rule, so I knew I was going to enjoy this memoir.


While Carr is not a perfect writer, it is engaging enough that it can be overlooked. The memoir has a loose timeline - from the initial audition Carr had with the production team to life after the film premiered. She doesn't go into great depth or detail. She tells the bare bones of each story and moves on. The chapters are on the shorter side, which allowed me to read it quickly. At one point, it reads like a genuine narrative. At other points, it reads like a collection of thoughts she's written down and simply wanted to include. If you don't enjoy this style or format, this memoir may not be for you.


It's a nice, fast, and fun read. It's a great insight into certain parts of the creation of the film - behind the scenes so to speak. Between writing about the film and her co-stars, you come to find out about Carr and her personal life. Some of the facts about her life post-SoM are truly fascinating and you learn that the concept of seven degrees of separation is more real than you might think.


I'm really glad I got to read this memoir, especially since Carr has passed away recently. After reading this, you will feel an urge to go watch Sound of Music all over again.


Overall, I give Forever Liesl an A-.




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