What Falls Away

by Mia Farrow

Hardcover, 1997





Nan A. Talese (1997), Edition: 1st, 384 pages


In an exquisitely written memoir, Mia Farrow introduces us to the landscapes of her extraordinary life. Moving from her earliest memories of the walled gardens and rocky shores of western Ireland and her Hollywood childhood to her career as an actress, she writes of these experiences and her struggle to protect her children in a painful custody battle with Woody Allen. It was this crisis that led her to reflect upon the incidents that had brought her to a place so incomprehensible. Now, in What Falls Away, a memoir resonant not only in its honesty but also in its beautifully crafted prose, Mia Farrow speaks for the first time. She was born the third of seven children to the beautiful actress Maureen O'Sullivan and successful writer/director John Farrow, but the isolation of a polio ward brought her childhood to an abrupt end at the age of nine. Several years later, two deaths shattered the security of the family forever, and Mia Farrow embarked upon a journey that would lead her away from the convent education that was to sustain her spiritual courage, to starring roles in Peyton Place and Rosemary's Baby, a marriage to Frank Sinatra, divorce, a defining trip to India, work on the London stage and in film, and marriage to AndrĂ© Previn. Their life together in England brought them three sons and three daughters before that marriage, too, dissolved and she returned to the United States. The year 1979 saw the beginning of a new career with brilliant performances in thirteen of Woody Allen's most distinguished films. Told with grace and deep understanding, as well as humor, What Falls Away goes beneath the surface of this amazing life, with all its drama, success, and pain, and exposes the inner workings of a mind and spirit for whom truth, compassion, and faith are essential. Mia Farrow's story is ultimately one of hope and courage in the face of difficulty; of commitment to others--most important of whom are her children; and of spiritual strength. Readers will not easily forget this remarkable book, even long after the last page has been turned. From the Hardcover edition.… (more)


½ (40 ratings; 4)

Media reviews

The reader would not feel a need to take Mr. Allen's part if Ms. Farrow did not so consistently portray him as cold, disturbed and monstrously selfish, juxtaposing these judgments with evidence of her own sensitivity and spiritual superiority. Andwhile she concedes that it is ''unusual . . . in a
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memoir'' to include the unabridged court decision that documented their custody battle, it is perhaps not so unusual in an account whose intent, it emerges, is to solicitsympathy in the court of public opinion. (For the record, Mr. Allen was not granted custody, but neither was he found to have sexually abused Dylan.)
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User reviews

LibraryThing member starlet
This is an exquisitely written memoir. I'm so glad that I read it as I never really knew much about Mia Farrow's life except what I read in newspapers or magazines (and that's been a while).Written in spare, beautifully crafted prose, as another review stated, "What Falls Away is a work that owes
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more to literary tradition than celebrity autobiography." She narrates and has the golden voice and her writing style is beautiful (could have been a writer of books, for certain).

She's a wonderful human being, with flaws of course, but if there were more people like her in the world, all would be well....Woody, well, that's a whole other story that was seemingly swept under the rug or if it wasn't then (1992), it sure has faded away today...(an eye opener about that guy).
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 6.75 inches


0385471874 / 9780385471879
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