My name is Barbra

Barbra Streisand

Book - 2023

"The long-awaited memoir by the superstar of stage, screen, recordings, and television Barbra Streisand is by any account a living legend, a woman who in a career spanning six decades has excelled in every area of entertainment. She is among the handful of EGOT winners (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) and has one of the greatest and most recognizable voices in popular music. She has been nominated for a Grammy 46 times, and with Yentl she became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major motion picture. In My Name Is Barbra, she tells her own story about her life and extraordinary career, from growing up in Brooklyn to her first star-making appearances in New York nightclubs to her breakout performance in Funny Girl ...(musical and film) to the long string of successes in every medium in the years that followed. The book is, like Barbra herself, frank, funny, opinionated, and charming. She recounts her early struggles to become an actress, eventually turning to singing to earn a living; the recording of some of her acclaimed albums; the years of effort involved in making Yentl; her direction of The Prince of Tides; her friendships with figures ranging from Marlon Brando to Madeleine Albright; her political advocacy; and the fulfillment she's found in her marriage to James Brolin. No entertainer's memoir has been more anticipated than Barbra Streisand's, and this engrossing and delightful book will be eagerly welcomed by her millions of fans"--

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[New York, New York] : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC [2023]
Main Author
Barbra Streisand (author)
Item Description
Place of publication from publisher's website.
Physical Description
970 pages, 40 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
  • Prologue
  • 1. Pulaski Street
  • 2. Why Couldn't I Play the Part?
  • 3. This Night Could Change My Life
  • 4. The Bon Soir
  • 5. Miss Marmelstein
  • 6. Those Cockamamie Songs
  • 7. It All Comes Together
  • 8. Funny Girl on Broadway
  • 9. People … People Who Need People
  • 10. A Kid Again
  • 11. Je m'appelle Barbra
  • 12. Gotta Move
  • 13. What if Nobody Shows Up?
  • 14. Funny Girl in Hollywood
  • 15. Hello, Gorgeous
  • 16. Pandora's Box
  • 17. Hello, Dolly!
  • 18. Brando
  • 19. Daisy and Melinda
  • 20. How Many Singing Prostitutes Do You Know?
  • 21. The Prime Minister
  • 22. A Screwball Comedy
  • 23. A Woman's Place
  • 24. The Way We Were
  • 25. With a Little Help from My Friends
  • 26. What Was I Thinking?
  • 27. Funny Lady
  • 28. Lazy Afternoon
  • 29. Classical Barbra
  • 30. A Star Is Born
  • 31. Don't Believe What You Bead
  • 32. The Battle of the Sexes
  • 33. Enough Is Enough
  • 34. Guilty
  • 35. Papa, Can You Hear Me?
  • 36. Directing YentI
  • 37. Don't Change a Frame
  • 38. The Broadway Album
  • 39. One Voice
  • 40. Everyone's Right to Love
  • 41. Nuts
  • 42. No Regrets
  • 43. I Fell in Love with a Book
  • 44. Directing The Prince of Tides
  • 45. Forgiveness
  • 46. Just for the Record
  • 47. Politics
  • 48. Who Said I'd Never Sing Live Again?
  • 49. My Mother
  • 50. Virginia
  • 51. Some Guy Named Charles
  • 52. The Artist as Citizen
  • 53. The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • 54. Jim
  • 55. Timeless
  • 56. Giving Back
  • 57. How Much Do I Love You?
  • 58. Old Friends
  • 59. A Reason to Sing
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Booklist Review

Fans of Streisand will find this difficult to put down, though at 900 plus pages they will frequently have to. Yet with the life she's led, it's hard to imagine the book being any shorter. In many ways, Streisand's life is a fairy tale. A homely child, she lost her father at 15 months and was raised by a cold mother and a cruel stepfather. Dreaming of stardom, Barbra fled to Manhattan as a teenager. She was a sought-after singer by age 19 and a Broadway star by 22. Then a movie star. Then a director. She kissed many (famous) frogs until finding true love with actor James Brolin in her fifties. But Streisand's story is also reflective of the difficulties facing many women, especially the societal distrust of those who want to claim their power. Streisand presents herself honestly here. She's a perfectionist, sometimes humorless and often relentless, particularly when it comes to fulfilling her artistic vision. Yet members of her entourage have been with her for 40, 50, 60 years, and old loves and former collaborators remember her with affection and admiration. (She provides quotes). Peppered with boldface names and filled with too many musical and cinematic memories to count, this memoir is as extraordinary as the woman who wrote it.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Streisand's long-anticipated debut memoir doesn't disappoint. Utilizing her own journals, her mother's scrapbooks, and interviews with colleagues and friends, the decorated singer and actor delivers a thoroughly enjoyable survey of her life and career that--even at nearly 1,000 pages--never overstays its welcome. Streisand begins with her teenage adventures fleeing her emotionally distant mother and stepfather's Brooklyn apartment for Manhattan, where she and a friend went to see Broadway plays and where she eventually moved and got her first taste of showbiz success singing in nightclubs. From there, she dives deep into her key projects and famous relationships, writing of being booted off the Billboard top two by the Beatles ("Their sound was sensational, so I had no complaints"), developing stage fright during her star-making turn in the Broadway musical Funny Girl, and falling in love with leading men from Elliott Gould to James Brolin. The tone throughout is delightfully garrulous, often verging on conspiratorial: Streisand offers detailed descriptions of not only who she rubbed elbows with, but what everyone ate, what they wore, how the room was decorated, and what she really thought about it all (at one point, she returns a dress Phyllis Diller bought her so she can use the money to purchase fabric for a custom design). That combination of fastidiousness and looseness, mixed with Streisand's natural humor, makes for a deliriously entertaining autobiography that gathers heft from the sheer breadth of its author's experiences and achievements. This is a gift. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The only thing more enticing for Streisand fans than reading her long-awaited nearly 1,000-page memoir is spending 48 hours listening to her read it. The audiobook will be even more in demand when patrons discover the bonus material: there are samplings from 50 Streisand songs sprinkled through the audiobook, including "People," "Stoney End," "Evergreen," "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," and live versions of "My Man" and "Silent Night." One song that gets more space than most is "How Deep Is the Ocean," Streisand's duet with son Jason Gould, whom she generously gives time to shine. An even better bonus is Streisand ad-libbing additional asides into her reading. These are usually just an extra sentence or two, but they add intimacy to the audio. At one point, she reads from her memoir about recording a make-it-yourself record at age 15 on December 29, 1959, and then ad-libs, "Oh my gosh. Can you imagine? My son was born on December 29th. I've always been fascinated by numbers." Streisand's writing style is conversational, which enhances the warmth of her reading. VERDICT A spectacular and heartfelt memoir, written with invigorating passion and read with endearing humor.--Kevin Howell

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star. When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long--but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, "It's not just the gift, it's the willingness to take infinite pains." The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has--including her mother's scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer--into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand's spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn't want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: "Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential." What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An "amiable anteater"? That's how I was described at nineteen in one of my first reviews as a professional actress. I was in I Can Get It for You Wholesale , playing a lovelorn secretary, and I could see the comparison . . . sort of. Over the next year, I was also called "a sour persimmon," "a furious hamster," "a myopic gazelle," and "a seasick ferret." Yikes. Was I really that odd-­looking? Only a year later, when I was in my second Broadway show, Funny Girl , my face was exactly the same, but now I was being compared to "an ancient oracle," "Nefertiti," and "a Babylonian queen." I must say I loved those descriptions. Apparently I also had a "Pharaonic profile and scarab eyes." I think that was supposed to be a compliment, though I have to admit one of those eyes does look cross-­eyed at times . . . and it seems like the Pharaoh also had a big schnoz. People kept telling me, "Get it fixed." (I bet no one said that to him .) But sometimes I'll just pick up a magazine in the dentist's office, for example. (I happen to like going to the dentist, because I love how my teeth feel after they're cleaned. It's also an hour of peace with no phone calls.) Once when I was waiting, I saw a story about Neil Diamond, who was a grade ahead of me at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. Actually it was about his brother, who'd invented some crazy bathtub that had a stereo system and all sorts of electronic gadgets (perfect . . . for getting electrocuted). And it's not cheap . . . fourteen thousand dollars! I'm thinking, Who would ever buy such a thing? And then I read that I'm one of his customers! I didn't even know my friend Neil had a brother, and now I'm being used to sell his bathtub?! That's irritating, but other stories cut deep. One night, my dear friend Andrzej Bartkowiak, a brilliant cinematographer who did two films and a documentary with me, came over for dinner. (Actually, he was cooking, because I'm a hazard in the kitchen. I can burn water.) Andrzej had been to see his friend earlier (a medical doctor, by the way) and happened to mention that he was having dinner with me. The doctor said, "I hear she's a bitch." "What?" said Andrzej. "What are you talking about?" "She's impossible to work with." "That's ridiculous. Have you ever worked with her?" "No." "Well, I have . . . three times . . . and she's wonderful to work with. In fact, she's a very nice person." "No, she isn't. She's a bitch. I read it in a magazine! " That's the power of the printed word. And there was no hope of changing this man's mind. He chose to believe some writer who had never met me, rather than the person who really knows me. That upsets me deeply. Why couldn't he accept the truth? For forty years, publishers have been asking me to write my autobiography. But I kept turning them down, because I prefer to live in the present rather than dwell on the past. And the fact is, I'm scared that after six decades of people making up stories about me, I'm going to tell the truth, and nobody is going to believe it. Recently, my husband, Jim, and I were driving home from a movie and stopped at the supermarket because I suddenly had a craving for coffee ice cream. We walked into the market holding hands, and a man came up behind us and said, in a loud voice, "I'm so happy to see you back together!" Back together? When were we apart? Did my husband move out and I some‑ how failed to notice? You see, I like facts. I have great respect for facts, and the idea of just making something up really bothers me. So I finally said yes to writing this book, after dancing around the idea for ages. I actually wrote the first chapter back in the 1990s, in longhand with an erasable pen . . . and then lost it. Now I wish I knew how to type, because once I started again it took another ten years, since I still have other commitments, like making records, and besides, I get really bored with myself. I'm trying to recall things that happened a long time ago. (Thank God for the journals I've kept, which have been invaluable.) And then sometimes I realize that I haven't been remembering the full story and have to dig deeper, no matter where it leads . . . I wanted to be an actress ever since I was a child . . . maybe from the moment I was taken to my first movie, and stood up on the seat so I could see the screen. Still, it's amazing that my dream came true, and I'm very grateful to all the people who helped me along the way. They say that success changes a person, but I think it actually makes you more of who you really are. Frankly, I think I'm rather ordinary. I just happened to be born with a good voice, and then I guess there was something about my looks, my personality, whatever talent I had that intrigued people (or annoyed them). I know I ask a lot of questions. I have a lot of opinions, and I say what I think . . . and sometimes that gets me into a lot of trouble. I'm not a very social person. I don't like to get dressed up and go out. I'd rather stay home with my husband and my dogs. Sometimes we'll invite family and friends over for dinner and a movie, or to play games like Rummikub, backgammon, or hearts. (I also play every night on my phone in the dark before I go to sleep, to clear my head of all the stress of the day.) I love painting with my son, Jason (he's much better than I am) . . . I can spend hours taking photographs in my garden . . . and because I don't go out much, I forget who I am to the outside world. Which reminds me of something. Recently I was going to the dentist (to get my teeth cleaned again), and while I was waiting for the elevator, I noticed this woman staring at me. So I moved away, but she didn't stop. I thought, Why is she still staring? Did I spill something on myself? And then I realized, Oh yeah . . . I'm what's her name. I think it's time to dispel the myths about that creature. And that's why I'm writing this book . . . because I feel an obligation to the people who are truly interested in my work, and the process behind the work, and perhaps the person behind the process. So, here goes . . . Excerpted from My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.