Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers
by Valerie Lawson
(Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2013, 401 pages)
After seeing the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, I decided that I wanted to know more about the author of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers. I found Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers by Valerie Lawson. The original 1999 title of this book was Out of the Sky She Came. Valerie Lawson did quite a bit of research for this book and it shows.
P. L. Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in 1899 in Australia. Her father, Travers Robert Goff, was a banker who died when Helen was only seven. Travers Goff left behind a wife, three daughters, and very little money. Helen, her siblings, and her mother were taken in by their wealthy Great Aunt Ellie, who is considered to be one of the inspirations for Mary Poppins. Helen spent her young adult life working as a writer and actress trying to save up enough money to leave Australia and start a new life in London and Ireland. In 1924, Helen finally made the move to London as a journalist.
In Mary Poppins, She Wrote, P. L. Travers is portrayed as a complicated and vain woman who loved mysticism and magic. Miss Travers insisted that Mary Poppins was not a children’s book. It was a book which could be read by children. The most interesting chapters in Mary Poppins, She Wrote deal the making of the Mary Poppins movie. Although I had a little trouble getting into this biography, it was worth the read.