Forever Liesl : A Memoir of The Sound of Music
by Daniel Lizzama
Charmian Carr played eldest von Trapp daughter Liesl in the mega-successful film version of The Sound of Music, and judging from her earnest memoir, the story's sentimental wholesomeness rubbed off on her permanently. It's a "great movie," she avers, acknowledging that the critics thought otherwise; she was "honored" to be part of it, and her onscreen siblings became her lifelong friends. Carr's reasonably interesting chronicle of shooting the film is interspersed with personal narratives by people who love it: a nine-year-old boy who found comforting parallels between the distant but ultimately loving Captain von Trapp and his own recently deceased father; a girl who got the video for Christmas just after her brother had surgery; and so on. The author tempers all that sweetness and light with frank accounts of her parents' divorce, her mother's alcoholism, and later conflicts with the studio over financial remuneration for promoting the movie. Adult costars Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews come across as consummate professionals less enthralled by the experience than their youthful supporting cast. But in general the book is determinedly upbeat and definitely not for the cynical. Those who share Carr's rapturous regard for The Sound of Music and even those who don't but are willing to be touched by sincere emotion will enjoy her stroll down memory lane.