Book review: Mary Poppins (by P.L. Travers)

Title: Mary Poppins
Author: P.L. Travers
Page count: 222
Rating: 3/5 stars

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Goodreads summary: 

From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. This classic series tells the story of the world’s most beloved nanny, who brings enchantment and excitement with her everywhere she goes.

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

I thought the 1960-something Disney movie of Mary Poppins was alright, if a bit weird. I absolutely adore Saving Mr. Banks. So of course, when I came across this beautiful hardback edition of the original book, I had to take it with me.

So I sat down one Sunday, and just read the whole thing in one day. With just 222 pages (including illustrations and fairly big letters), it was a quick read. It actually took me longer than I expected though! I somehow figured I’d be done reading in about an hour. It took me a couple, in the end.

If you’re going to read this book as an adult, I can definitely only recommend it for a rainy day, or a boring Sunday with nothing else to do. It’s a nice little break from everyday modern life, even if it’s not super interesting for adults.

I have to say, I was surprised by how cranky and stern and vain the original Mary Poppins is. She doesn’t really seem to like anything (except, of course, her own view in the mirror). She just suddenly shows up one day, and then leaves another day, and in the meantime strange things happen while Mary Poppins mostly seems to scoff at it all in the background.

I can see the appeal of the stories for children though, and I can imagine each chapter would make a nice, short bedtime story for them. Coming from the perspective of an adult, the stories had their sweet moments and their funny moments, but for some reason the overall thing lacked something for me, though I can’t quite put my finger on what.

Either way, a fun, quick, if unimpressive read if you’ve nothing better to do. 3/5 stars, ’twas alright.

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3 Responses to Book review: Mary Poppins (by P.L. Travers)

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