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Agathe Von Trapp: Memories Before and After the Sound of Music

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In this compelling autobiography, Agathe von Trapp shares the true story behind the film legend, The Sound of Music. As the oldest van Trapp daughter, Agathe's impeccable recall of her child hood brings fresh life to the events that forged enduring bonds within her devoted family. Her memories of her idyllic Austrian home transport readers back to the time before the von In this compelling autobiography, Agathe von Trapp shares the true story behind the film legend, The Sound of Music. As the oldest van Trapp daughter, Agathe's impeccable recall of her child hood brings fresh life to the events that forged enduring bonds within her devoted family. Her memories of her idyllic Austrian home transport readers back to the time before the von Trapps came to America and reveal a close knit group of siblings who adored their gentle father and mourned the tragic loss of their mother. Agathe tells about the arrival of her second mother, Maria, into the family and gives updates on all of her brothers and sisters. Agathe's own sketches and special photos illustrate this charming account. Whether or not you are familiar with The Sound of Music, this amazing memoir is sure to capture your imagination and inspire you to read Agathe's enchanting story again.


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In this compelling autobiography, Agathe von Trapp shares the true story behind the film legend, The Sound of Music. As the oldest van Trapp daughter, Agathe's impeccable recall of her child hood brings fresh life to the events that forged enduring bonds within her devoted family. Her memories of her idyllic Austrian home transport readers back to the time before the von In this compelling autobiography, Agathe von Trapp shares the true story behind the film legend, The Sound of Music. As the oldest van Trapp daughter, Agathe's impeccable recall of her child hood brings fresh life to the events that forged enduring bonds within her devoted family. Her memories of her idyllic Austrian home transport readers back to the time before the von Trapps came to America and reveal a close knit group of siblings who adored their gentle father and mourned the tragic loss of their mother. Agathe tells about the arrival of her second mother, Maria, into the family and gives updates on all of her brothers and sisters. Agathe's own sketches and special photos illustrate this charming account. Whether or not you are familiar with The Sound of Music, this amazing memoir is sure to capture your imagination and inspire you to read Agathe's enchanting story again.

30 review for Agathe Von Trapp: Memories Before and After the Sound of Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    2.5 stars. Coming up against the end of the year with only 2 letters left for my A to Z Author Challenge, I decided to read this memoir by Agathe Von Trapp to fulfill the “V” entry on the list. As a long-time fan of the The Sound of Music, I had initially approached this book with some amount of excitement – after all, the title of the book draws a distinct connection to one of my favorite movies of all time! Now that I finished reading the book, I must say that I am quite disappointed, as this 2.5 stars. Coming up against the end of the year with only 2 letters left for my A to Z Author Challenge, I decided to read this memoir by Agathe Von Trapp to fulfill the “V” entry on the list. As a long-time fan of the The Sound of Music, I had initially approached this book with some amount of excitement – after all, the title of the book draws a distinct connection to one of my favorite movies of all time! Now that I finished reading the book, I must say that I am quite disappointed, as this book turned out to be nothing like what I expected, and not in a good way. First, the writing was very drab and overly simplistic to the point of being boring. Of course, I did cut some slack due to the fact that this was a memoir written by someone who didn’t write for a living, but still, I felt that this was where a good editor could’ve come in and cleaned things up a bit so that the book would’ve been more readable. To be honest, I’m not too sure if this would appropriately fall into the memoir category because there is actually very little about Agathe herself or about her siblings. Instead, the book felt more like a rambling account of the history of the Von Trapp family, from the grandparents to the parents and then eventually to the children. There was a lot of time spent on describing things that the family did/saw/heard, including elaborate descriptions of the various places where the family lived as the children were growing up as well as when they were on tour, plus a lot of stories about things that occurred before Agathe herself even existed. For example, there were entire chapters dedicated to her father (Captain Von Trapp), her beloved birth mother (also named Agathe), her maternal grandmother Gromi (the family had lived in her home for a few years early on), ordinary events such as birthday and holiday celebrations, her father’s sailing experiences while serving in the navy, the various nannies and governesses they had and what had been taught to them, etc. etc. It felt like a lot of mundane detail regurgitated in a simplistic, monotone kind of way – I will admit that I found myself nodding off a few times while reading so about a third of the way through the book, I started skimming rather than actually reading word for word as I had been doing previously. The writing aside, I think my biggest problem with this book was the fact that it seemed to be written for the sole purpose of “setting the record straight” – basically to relay the message that the creators/producers behind the stage and movie versions of The Sound of Music got it “all wrong” in terms of their portrayal of the Von Trapp family. Throughout the book (it felt like every couple pages to be honest), we, as the readers, were constantly reminded that this detail was wrong or that detail didn’t match or they didn’t actually do this thing or that thing – basically, it seemed that the author’s point was to reiterate that like 99% of what was in the movie/musical was false. As if that weren’t enough, there was also an entire chapter dedicated essentially to “criticizing” the movie/musical where the author makes her resentment toward the inaccurate portrayal of the family (and the fact that her family never benefited financially from the musical or the movie due to a contract that had been signed when the rights were sold that prevented them from receiving royalties initially) quite known. I’m not against the author venting her grievances about the family being taken advantage of in terms of the unfair contract piece, but I felt like the book went a bit overboard in its negative tone toward the musical/movie. To be honest, as a fan of The Sound of Music, I felt a bit insulted after reading this book – no, not by the author’s negativity / bitterness toward a movie I adored, as everyone is subject to their opinions, plus the author certainly has the right to feel anger and resentment about not being portrayed accurately – where I feel insulted is that the author went to such pains to point out how “different” the portrayal was from real life. I’m sorry, but I think most movie-going audiences nowadays are smart enough to know that producers almost always take certain amounts of creative liberty when adapting a real-life story to the big screen – it’s pretty much a given with all movies that any portrayals, whether of real-life events / people or stories from books, won’t be 100% accurate. Also, there’s no doubt that those of us who are already fans of the movie/musical have that extra layer of familiarity where we already knew the portrayal in there was only “loosely based” (or “inspired by” if that fits better) the story of the Von Trapp family, so in a sense, we weren’t really expecting to see a “100% accurate portrayal”. In trying too hard to state the obvious, this book ended up turning me off quite a bit to it. Also, in reading this book, there were 2 things that surprised me, mostly because I didn’t expect them. The first was the heavy religious undertone in the book, which I guess shouldn’t really be surprising given the background of the family and the time period, but I was honestly a bit put off by the constant references to “being guided by God’s hand” or “God was watching over the family” or everything that happened being attributed to “God’s intervention and will”. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m not religious or anything like that, it’s just that 1) I don’t like being preached at, especially in books, and 2) I prefer to know ahead of time if the book is going to be heavily slanted towards a particular religious perspective so I can decide whether I want to read or not. The other thing that surprised me was what came across as the author’s ambivalent attitude toward her stepmother Maria. When talking about her birth mother in the first half of the book, the author seemed a lot more enthusiastic and I could sense the fondness and admiration she had for her mother, but after her mother died and Maria joined the family, the author’s tone came across more detached and “matter-of-fact,” almost as though she was talking about an outsider rather than a member of her family. I haven’t read Maria Von Trapp’s biographies, but I do know a bit of background about Maria from other things I’ve read so I do know she was difficult person with a larger-than-life personality that set her apart drastically from the author’s mother. I’m not necessarily trying to judge their relationship but I just thought it was interesting that the author painted such a peachy sweet, saccharine portrait of the entire family (honestly it seemed that everyone in the family was flawless and perfect, even the extended family consisting of all the aunts and uncles), but when it came to Maria, the tone was obviously different (not necessarily negative per se, but detached and less emotive). While I was obviously disappointed with this book, it wasn’t an entirely bad experience, as some parts truly were interesting – such as the last chapter for example where the author gave a brief update on each of her siblings and what happened to them after the Trapp Family Singers disbanded. Also a few tidbits here and there that were interesting “fun facts” about the family, though I honestly didn’t feel that the information warranted an entire book to be written.

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    People who say that "The Sound of Music" was treacly would risk diabetic coma by reading this book. Agathe von Trapp is very anxious to let us all know that "The Sound of Music" wasn't the real story of the family, and to set the record straight. Unfortunately by doing so, she makes the true story so staid and sweet that you can understand why, as her stepmother Maria said in her own book "You must allow Hollywood a little Hollywooding". Maria's own The Story of the Trapp Family Singers certainly People who say that "The Sound of Music" was treacly would risk diabetic coma by reading this book. Agathe von Trapp is very anxious to let us all know that "The Sound of Music" wasn't the real story of the family, and to set the record straight. Unfortunately by doing so, she makes the true story so staid and sweet that you can understand why, as her stepmother Maria said in her own book "You must allow Hollywood a little Hollywooding". Maria's own The Story of the Trapp Family Singers certainly bends the truth here and there. She was a difficult woman with a troubled past, and in other places there has been discussion of how the same force that kept the family together caused the children much grief as they struggled to break away as adults. But even in that book, her forceful personality and the Captain's being less than a martinet are both apparent. And later, in her biography Maria she did elaborate more on all of that. But here, Agathe whitewashes over everything in pretty pretty colors. Her father was saintly beyond belief, and her mother was perfect. Maria was different than their mother, but the kids settled in and there was never a major problem, save that she wanted them to do fun things when they had homework to do. They were fine, fine, fine with not receiving salaries and independence, happy in what Maria called "a sort of Christian communism". Yeah, right. Even more disappointing is that we learn little about the other Trapp children as individuals, nothing to color their personalities. There are lavish details of the family background, of the details of their daily lives of privilege, but nothing to make them become as real as their stand-ins do during "The Sound of Music". Maria's books bring the family to life and have a warmth missing here. The only interesting things here are the new to me information that the family were technically Italian citizens at the time they fled Europe (and the fleeing was quite leisurely--some of the family came back to Austria, then left again) and the updates on what the family did after their touring days ended. If you want a clearer picture of the family, I'd go for Maria von Trapp's books. She had her faults and she certainly was a force to be reckoned with, but she brings the family alive with her writing. Agathe may remember it all, but there's no life in the retelling. A disappointing book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I have always been a fan of "The Sound of Music"...the stage musical, the Julie Andrews film, the soundtrack. I even watched the Carrie Underwood production on TV, certain that it would be embarrassingly bad (it was good!). Yes, I know that all productions were 'inspired' by the story of the Trapp Family Singers. For those few of you who are perhaps unaware that productions tend to take license to greatly embellish the truth of the stories they are portraying, allow me to to recommend this memoir I have always been a fan of "The Sound of Music"...the stage musical, the Julie Andrews film, the soundtrack. I even watched the Carrie Underwood production on TV, certain that it would be embarrassingly bad (it was good!). Yes, I know that all productions were 'inspired' by the story of the Trapp Family Singers. For those few of you who are perhaps unaware that productions tend to take license to greatly embellish the truth of the stories they are portraying, allow me to to recommend this memoir by Agathe con Trapp. She will definitely set you straight! Especially if you are fond of sitting in the overstuffed living room of an 80-something spinster, who tells simple snippets of her family's history as they occur to her: Papá always tried to find something special that would interest us. One day he brought home a dog. It was not just any dog, but a big black Newfoundland of gentle temperament, strong enough to pull a little cart. In Austria the little cart was called Leiterwagen (ladder wagon) because all four sides were made of sections like little ladders. Papá showed us how to hitch the dog to our Leiterwagen so that one of us could sit in it, usually Martina, being the baby and the lightest one. Our dog was named Gombo.   A neighbor came to Papá one day and told him that our big black dog had been seen chasing deer in the woods. I don’t think Papá believed him. But there were more reports, and one of them was that Gombo had killed a deer in the woods. The people who lived in the vicinity insisted that the dog had to be destroyed because he was dangerous. That was the end of Gombo. Should you find the style of this book not to your liking, I recommend that you view The Biography Channel's production which is available in 3 15 minute segments on YouTube. I enjoyed that so much more than this simple little book of reminiscences.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tirzah Eleora

    All the other books about the von Trapp family that I've read were written by Maria (the mother, not the daughter) and it was very interesting to read about the family from Agatha's point of view. You get to learn more about the life of the family before the now-famous, wayward novice appeared on the scene. I really liked learning about life for the young Agatha is Austria during and after World War I. I recommend it to fellow fans of the von Trapps! Several reviews that I read disliked this All the other books about the von Trapp family that I've read were written by Maria (the mother, not the daughter) and it was very interesting to read about the family from Agatha's point of view. You get to learn more about the life of the family before the now-famous, wayward novice appeared on the scene. I really liked learning about life for the young Agatha is Austria during and after World War I. I recommend it to fellow fans of the von Trapps! Several reviews that I read disliked this book because of Agatha's obvious partiality to her real mother, and felt that she portrayed her own mother as flawless standard to compare her faulty stepmother to, but I feel this is an unfair criticism. First of all, Agatha was quite young when her real mother died, and at the time that she was growing up children would not have been privy to the flaws of their parents the way modern children are. In fact, she doesn't seem to know much about the first Mrs. von Trapp other than that she was a gentle, kind mother. She was a teenager when Maria came so it is natural that she should have criticisms. And really, what child isn't going to prefer their own parent?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mom

    I usually don't read reviews before or while I'm reading a book but I wanted find out more of what this book was about, because I was really looking forward to reading it. I own and have read many books on the von Trapps' lives and the musical Sound of Music and I am always interested in reading more. This particular book, being written by one of the daughters, was very interesting to me. Some complaints about the book were that the author didn't write well. I feel you can overlook much in the I usually don't read reviews before or while I'm reading a book but I wanted find out more of what this book was about, because I was really looking forward to reading it. I own and have read many books on the von Trapps' lives and the musical Sound of Music and I am always interested in reading more. This particular book, being written by one of the daughters, was very interesting to me. Some complaints about the book were that the author didn't write well. I feel you can overlook much in the interest of learning about history, and in this case, it is invaluable because she tells of her ancestry and also about how life was prior to WWII. Another complaint was that she was partial to her mother and didn't seem to care for her stepmother; I feel that is only natural, given her age when her mother passed. Her mother was also a very beautiful, kind, loving mother. While this is not the best written book, I found it fascinating and I learned a wealth of information about the lives of the true and amazing family.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 an interesting story, but don’t read if you don’t want to know the truth behind the movie!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    How I Came To Read This Book: My parents got it for me in the states - I believe there was some article in the paper because she had just passed away, so they read it and knowing I'm a huge fan of The Sound Of Music, got it for me. The Plot: This is the autobiography of the eldest Von Trapp daughter - although not the eldest child, a departure from the play / film - Agathe, who would in theory be 'Liesl' in the fictionalized version of the Von Trapp family's lives. It details Agathe's family How I Came To Read This Book: My parents got it for me in the states - I believe there was some article in the paper because she had just passed away, so they read it and knowing I'm a huge fan of The Sound Of Music, got it for me. The Plot: This is the autobiography of the eldest Von Trapp daughter - although not the eldest child, a departure from the play / film - Agathe, who would in theory be 'Liesl' in the fictionalized version of the Von Trapp family's lives. It details Agathe's family history, her childhood, experiences during the two world wars, singing career, and reaction to the adaptation of her life. The Good & The Bad: Let me say, the title of this book is quite misleading. In fact, it's hypocritical. The 'After' memories of The Sound of Music take up a paltry two or three chapters. In fact the title of one chapter is 'Oh, The Sound Of Music' where she basically rips apart the film / play and how inaccurate it was at depicting their life. There's definitely resentment in two particular areas - there her father was posited as cold and distant and that Maria was the person that brought music and joy into their lives. If anything I felt Agathe was quite ambivalent to Maria in the book. She does resolve that over time she came to understand the strong emotional connection people have with the fiction version of her life, and she wouldn't want to take that away from anyone - she just finds it hard to feel as 'good' about it as others do. Part of it is obviously sour grapes - she notes that her mom sold their 'story rights' for a paltry $10,000 when the family was most in need of it and thus they never profited from the huge royalties that go with the movie and play today. But what BUGS me is that she wrote this book, tied it to the fictional story, and then completely dismissed it and was quite negative toward it throughout the whole book. It'd be one thing if the title was about "A Life Apart From The Sound Of Music" but instead, no, they've deliberately packaged it as if the film / play had a huge impact on her life and it didn't - in fact, she reviled and avoided the association. Okay, rage done. The other beef I had here was that aside from biting the hand she was being fed from, this book is stylistically just not all that interesting. In failing to recognize the reader's expectation that the book should build to, parallel, and build ON the little we know of the Von Trapp's, it instead is written in very simple prose, in a very rambling sort of way - very much an old woman's memoirs about what it is she *can* grasp, not what it is that would matter to the reader. There were still some interesting bits, particularly in the description of being in Austria in WW2 but there was no real style or commitment to telling a meaningful story - and again, in not acknowledging that the only reason why people have picked up this book is one you aren't proud of. SO I found myself skimming a lot. The whole thing just felt like a lot of surface whitewashing - there wasn't much of a connection to Agathe, let alone her siblings. I *wanted* to like this book, and the insight between the discrepancies was interesting, but the combination of the simplistic style and false packaging just made this a ho hum reading experience. I should also point out that there was a lot of religious talk in here I didn't expect - it's not out of place coming from someone that grew up in that time period or is writing a book at her age, but it was still jarring to read paragraphs about "God was obviously looking out for us" and "God knew best" over and over again. The Bottom Line: More flat than sharp. Anything Memorable?: I did enjoy her passing mention that she worked with Charmian Carr (Liesl) because I read her book a year or two ago where she talked about what it was like to meet Agathe. It would have been horribly sad if she didn't acknowledge that at least. 60-Book Challenge?: Book #6 in 2012.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Jaeckel

    The eldest Von Trapp daughter recounts the true story behind the classic film, in a tender, charming, and vividly remembered memoir. Though we don't get to know any of the family members in great depth, including Agathe herself, readers do find a family portrait of life in a very different era, and a story that is decidedly unique and full of (sometimes harrowing) adventure. We even find a touch of modern diversity revealed at the end, in the description of Agathe's life with her "friend", and The eldest Von Trapp daughter recounts the true story behind the classic film, in a tender, charming, and vividly remembered memoir. Though we don't get to know any of the family members in great depth, including Agathe herself, readers do find a family portrait of life in a very different era, and a story that is decidedly unique and full of (sometimes harrowing) adventure. We even find a touch of modern diversity revealed at the end, in the description of Agathe's life with her "friend", and companion of many decades, Mary Lou Kane. A must read for fans of The Sound of Music.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I've read Maria Trapp's autobiography (and adore it), so I already knew that the film was pretty much entirely a fabrication and Maria was not exactly a nice person. I still liked her, flaws and all, but she is definitely not even remotely like the film's Maria. So when this randomly popped up in an unrelated search for a patron, I put a hold on it. Agathe isn't the smoothest writer - it felt very oral narrative. Her drawings were seriously charming, though. It was interesting to read her I've read Maria Trapp's autobiography (and adore it), so I already knew that the film was pretty much entirely a fabrication and Maria was not exactly a nice person. I still liked her, flaws and all, but she is definitely not even remotely like the film's Maria. So when this randomly popped up in an unrelated search for a patron, I put a hold on it. Agathe isn't the smoothest writer - it felt very oral narrative. Her drawings were seriously charming, though. It was interesting to read her perspective after 20+ years of rereading her stepmother's. I liked seeing what her mother was like, and the Captain pre-Maria (or, as she's known here, Gustl) and I also enjoyed seeing pre-war Austria, especially among the rather-grounded aristocracy. For so many details, however, there wasn't much depth. It's a super fast read, and some of my favorite Maria stories were ignored or recounted differently (like when they got engaged, that was funny in Maria's book). Agathe definitely wanted people to know two things: 1, her father was nothing at all like the Captain of the movie - he was warm and loving and musical and 2, her father and first mother introduced them all to music quite early. Maria had nothing to do with that, except pushing them to band together for much needed money. These two things come up a lot. All in all, short and okay read. She seems to have resolved a lot of her negative feelings towards Maria and the movie, which, you know, good for her.

  10. 4 out of 5

    kris

    The "truthiness" of The Sound of Music never really occurred to me in any direct way; even when I was told it was "based on a true story", I took that with a large grain of salt. So when I came across Memories Before and After the Sound of Music in my library's collection, I was intrigued! I wanted to make myself more familiar with the truth behind the story. It was a movie I enjoyed, and I'm always interested in seeing how storytellers straddle the line between art and fact. What had been The "truthiness" of The Sound of Music never really occurred to me in any direct way; even when I was told it was "based on a true story", I took that with a large grain of salt. So when I came across Memories Before and After the Sound of Music in my library's collection, I was intrigued! I wanted to make myself more familiar with the truth behind the story. It was a movie I enjoyed, and I'm always interested in seeing how storytellers straddle the line between art and fact. What had been stretched, twisted, omitted? How did the writers repack the story of the family von Trapp into a consumable movie/play? There are things I'm glad I know--the fact that Maria von Trapp was paid a pitanance for the rights to the family's story, for example--but there were many more captured in this book that really did nothing for me. Or worse than nothing: they exposed the von Trapp's casual privilege and off-putting (to me) inability to exist outside of their own family. I can try to understand the frustration of a) being forever linked to a multi-million dollar movie that did not truly benefit your family in any way, and b) dealing with the "artistic license" that twisted your reality into a national byline, but ultimately I was unmoved. I'll keep The Sound of Music in all its fictional ridiculous glory.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    Growing up, I loved watching The Sound of Music. I haven't seen it in years but would like to watch it again soon. The cover of the book caught my eye at the library and I snatched it up. This book tries to cover many years in only a few pages. As a result, the book never feels like it breaks the surface of the von Trapp family. The book is extremely clean, very upbeat, and makes it sound as if the family never struggles with any of their circumstances. Maybe that's true; maybe they did go Growing up, I loved watching The Sound of Music. I haven't seen it in years but would like to watch it again soon. The cover of the book caught my eye at the library and I snatched it up. This book tries to cover many years in only a few pages. As a result, the book never feels like it breaks the surface of the von Trapp family. The book is extremely clean, very upbeat, and makes it sound as if the family never struggles with any of their circumstances. Maybe that's true; maybe they did go through some very difficult struggles with optimism and unwavering faith. I hope that's the case but it didn't seem realistic. An example of how the book covers everything in a very superficial manner - "we were granted the opportunity to sing for the pope during a general audience. It was held in a special room in the Vatican under the watchful eye of the Swiss Guard. The female members of our group wore long-sleeved black dirndls and black lace veils, and we performed Mozart's "Ave Verum" for the pope" (187). That's it! How did they obtain an audience with the pope? Did they audition for it? Were they invited? How did they feel while they sang for him? What was the special room like? Did it change their outlook on the Catholic church? Details! I want details! :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heidi-Marie

    Overall an interesting read, especially to see how vastly different the truth is from what the world learned from the movie and musical. I liked reading of the family's history. I liked seeing their devotion to each other and hearing of their faith. The book took me so long because I didn't feel as drawn to it, and I was highly distracted by my fractured fairy tale phase. I felt the parts in the beginning really dragged, and then the end felt like it was rushing. Much of the book felt like an Overall an interesting read, especially to see how vastly different the truth is from what the world learned from the movie and musical. I liked reading of the family's history. I liked seeing their devotion to each other and hearing of their faith. The book took me so long because I didn't feel as drawn to it, and I was highly distracted by my fractured fairy tale phase. I felt the parts in the beginning really dragged, and then the end felt like it was rushing. Much of the book felt like an old woman rambling about her memories (which, in a sense, was true) because it many things were not in chronological order and there felt to be gaps in places or a lot of information in others that I wouldn't have expected to be included. However, I'm not saying this is necessarily detrimental. You get to 89 and see how much you can remember of your entire life, in proper order, and in exact detail to please others! I'm grateful that she remembered as much as she did, and wrote it down for others to share in. I think my favorite memory was the one she shared about the little boat trip she took with her father and a couple of siblings.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    There is something about many memoirs that appeal so much to me. Perhaps it's because they reflect what really happened in someone's life or at least their perception of what happened. I found this read about the Trapp family fascinating. Even though I have seen the movie I wanted to know more about the family and how they lived. It was quite a vagabond existence that revolved around their love of music. That much came through both through this book and the movie. I loved the little tales the There is something about many memoirs that appeal so much to me. Perhaps it's because they reflect what really happened in someone's life or at least their perception of what happened. I found this read about the Trapp family fascinating. Even though I have seen the movie I wanted to know more about the family and how they lived. It was quite a vagabond existence that revolved around their love of music. That much came through both through this book and the movie. I loved the little tales the author told about her family's experiences and the different family members. Her beloved "Papa" was a charming, sensitive, loving man who cherished every member of his family which is a far different picture than one gets from the movie. And, both mothers played essential parts in the development of the characters of the children. Both loved music and adventure and encouraged the children to develop their different talents. Charming read about a family who stirred so many hearts through their music. Makes me want to listen to some of the music that is still available.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The author recently died increasing the continual interest in her family from anyone who can belt out any of the songs from "The Sound Of Music" by heart. Agathe von Trapp is the eldest daughter and second child. She spends most of the book telling us about her real mother, not stepmother Maria who pushed the family. Agathe wants to set the record straight about her father as opposed to how he is depicted in the movie. The book is illustrated with charming sketches done by the author. The book The author recently died increasing the continual interest in her family from anyone who can belt out any of the songs from "The Sound Of Music" by heart. Agathe von Trapp is the eldest daughter and second child. She spends most of the book telling us about her real mother, not stepmother Maria who pushed the family. Agathe wants to set the record straight about her father as opposed to how he is depicted in the movie. The book is illustrated with charming sketches done by the author. The book falls short though of being charming because there is a definite chip on the shoulder of Agathe when it comes to how her family is perceived. It's also clear that she respected her stepmother but I never felt any real affection there. The chapter that updates you on what happened to her siblings contains some surprises including one that is heartbreaking.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    The Sound of Music is my all time favorite movie. This book was similar to sitting with a sweet old woman listening to her tell stories of her beloved family.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I’ve always loved the movie, The Sound of Music, and have often wondered about the family and how much of the movie was true. I then saw The Sound of Musical musical in which some parts of the story were different than the movie. I knew that the time had come to learn about the family and their story. This book is written by the oldest daughter from her perspective and memories. There are quite a few things that happened differently in real life. I learned quite a bit and I’m glad I read it. I’ve always loved the movie, The Sound of Music, and have often wondered about the family and how much of the movie was true. I then saw The Sound of Musical musical in which some parts of the story were different than the movie. I knew that the time had come to learn about the family and their story. This book is written by the oldest daughter from her perspective and memories. There are quite a few things that happened differently in real life. I learned quite a bit and I’m glad I read it. There is a bit of what I would call unnecessary details but the author wanted to include and I respect that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mammakosmo

    Very interesting and a quick read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This memoir is written by Agathe von Trapp, the second oldest Trapp daughter of the famous Family Trapp singers.{ If you have seen the movie, Agathe would be equal to Liesl} I have always liked the movie "The Sound of Music" and last week I got to see the play The Sound of Music. I wanted to know more about this family. For one reason I have heard for years that the movie and play are a fictional more than factual story of this family. I am glad I got to read Agathe's memoir of her family. It is This memoir is written by Agathe von Trapp, the second oldest Trapp daughter of the famous Family Trapp singers.{ If you have seen the movie, Agathe would be equal to Liesl} I have always liked the movie "The Sound of Music" and last week I got to see the play The Sound of Music. I wanted to know more about this family. For one reason I have heard for years that the movie and play are a fictional more than factual story of this family. I am glad I got to read Agathe's memoir of her family. It is true there were seven children. Their mother, also named Agathe died when the children ranged from one to ten. It is true that the father was in the navy but instead of being strict and cold, he was really loving and very involved father. Although Maria came into the Trapp family's life. She was NOT a governess to the seven children but a tutor to one of the ailing Trapp girls also named Maria. That is another fact, the children do not really have the names we hear in The Sound of Music. Agathe was actually the second born child, there was a boy born first. The author also wanted to make it clear that there was always music in the Trapp family home. The father even taught the children how to play some instruments. Agathe gives Maria credit for teaching new songs and being a large part of organizing the Family Trapp singers, she was not totally responsible for the group of singers. There are many other facts i learned about the Trapp family. They did NOT escape through the mountains, instead walked to railroad station and went to Italy where they took a ship to America. Maria gave birth to three more children to add to the large family two girls and a boy. I could go on and on. This is a good memoir packed with the true facts about the Trapp family. If you liked the play or movie, This may be an interesting read to you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I think that Agathe Von Trapp wanted to set the record straight about what really happened to inspire the Sound Of Music and I'm so glad I read this book. Hollywood can have their way with a story sometimes without giving true respect to the people that inspired it. I do not think that Agathe is an excellent writer, but I admire the memories she shared and her desire to tell people the truth about her family. They were not chased by the Germans before leaving Austria, and instead of climbing I think that Agathe Von Trapp wanted to set the record straight about what really happened to inspire the Sound Of Music and I'm so glad I read this book. Hollywood can have their way with a story sometimes without giving true respect to the people that inspired it. I do not think that Agathe is an excellent writer, but I admire the memories she shared and her desire to tell people the truth about her family. They were not chased by the Germans before leaving Austria, and instead of climbing over mountains, they took a train to Italy and then took a boat to America. The family traveled as a touring singing group, performing classical music everywhere they went and garnering rave reviews. They grew up learning music, and Maria Von Trapp began as a tutor, not a governess. There were also 10 Von Trapp children and they all had different names from the characters in the movie. The father was a kind open soul who was adventurous in every way. Maria was in fact a bit of a taskmaster who had strong opinions on the way the childrens' lives were to be run. For those people who cannot read this book with a degree of respect, it is saddening. As lovely as the movie is and as wonderful as those songs are, it does not change the fact that there were real people who inspired that film, and their lives were very different from what was rosily depicted by Julie Andrews.

  20. 4 out of 5

    April Helms

    Another interesting look at the real von Trapp family, this time through the memories of the oldest daughter Agathe. Agathe, who died less than two years ago at 97, tells the stories of the von Trapp family before Maria came into their lives, as well as about the concerts and tours that would change their lives and fortunes. In addition to her memories, told in an engaging style, there are many photographs of the family and Agathe's own sketches included (she was a good artist) throughout. Another interesting look at the real von Trapp family, this time through the memories of the oldest daughter Agathe. Agathe, who died less than two years ago at 97, tells the stories of the von Trapp family before Maria came into their lives, as well as about the concerts and tours that would change their lives and fortunes. In addition to her memories, told in an engaging style, there are many photographs of the family and Agathe's own sketches included (she was a good artist) throughout. Again, fans of The Sound of Music should give this a read. I find it amazing that there were so many fantastic singers in one family- and not only a family whose members could sing, but could sing in five and six part harmony as well. From reading the chapter at the end about what happened to "the children," it looks like several of the grandchildren have inherited the musical gift as well. I know one thing the family had objected to in the play was the portrayal of the father, Capt. Georg von Trapp. In the play, he's a cold, distant authoritarian figure. In real life, both Agathe and Maria write, he was actually very kind and compassionate. Also, in real life the children all had been taught music, and at least the five older ones could play at least one instrument, before Maria came. Those are just a couple of the discrepancies between the play and real life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Freudenburg

    This memoir gives a lot of personal, first-hand stories. Agathe has a very vivid memory and the accounts here are richly detailed. This memoir overlaps somewhat with that of Maria Augusta von Trapp, but includes some unique material, speaks from a different perspective, and uses a very different tone. Where Maria's book is boisterous, this one is sweeter and gentler. Both books are personal, honest, and believable. This one also includes many original B/W photos. The last chapter gives a This memoir gives a lot of personal, first-hand stories. Agathe has a very vivid memory and the accounts here are richly detailed. This memoir overlaps somewhat with that of Maria Augusta von Trapp, but includes some unique material, speaks from a different perspective, and uses a very different tone. Where Maria's book is boisterous, this one is sweeter and gentler. Both books are personal, honest, and believable. This one also includes many original B/W photos. The last chapter gives a touching account of how Agathe at first hated the movie "The Sound of Music", but over many years gradually learned to love and appreciate how much joy and emotion it brought to people. One of the major themes of this book is the effort to show the reader over and over again that the character and personality of Baron Georg von Trapp was the exact opposite of how he was portrayed in "The Sound of Music". In real life he was warm, charming, generous, musical, comforting, and friendly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I was looking for a book to accompany my visit to Salzburg. Having already read Maria von Trapp's books years ago, I picked up this one, written by the real eldest daughter of the Trapp family (sort of the equivalent to the fictional Liesl). I am willing to give the author a bit of leeway, as she wrote this book in her old age and published it when she was over ninety. However, truthfully, the book is rather insipid. Her main objective seems to identify what was true, as compared to the I was looking for a book to accompany my visit to Salzburg. Having already read Maria von Trapp's books years ago, I picked up this one, written by the real eldest daughter of the Trapp family (sort of the equivalent to the fictional Liesl). I am willing to give the author a bit of leeway, as she wrote this book in her old age and published it when she was over ninety. However, truthfully, the book is rather insipid. Her main objective seems to identify what was true, as compared to the fictionalized version of her family in The Sound of Music. However, the result is a rather uneven story that fails to reflect on the actions and choices of the characters -- which is, in my opinion, the biggest mistake a memoir can make. Still, it's an interesting read for hardcore fans of The Sound of Music.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amee

    A nice thorough account of the von Trapp family before the Broadway musical and then movie, The Sound of Music, was made. It is interesting in some parts to see how the movie got it right or wrong, but for the most part it's a very dry account of a seemingly idyllic life. It seemed like there was very little emotional attachment to these memories. Everything was always just great, even when their mother died or they had to leave Austria because of the Anschluss. It never seemed to be a sad or A nice thorough account of the von Trapp family before the Broadway musical and then movie, The Sound of Music, was made. It is interesting in some parts to see how the movie got it right or wrong, but for the most part it's a very dry account of a seemingly idyllic life. It seemed like there was very little emotional attachment to these memories. Everything was always just great, even when their mother died or they had to leave Austria because of the Anschluss. It never seemed to be a sad or trying time. The only real emotion was the disdain the Trapp family had for the portrayal of their father in the play/movie. That was the only time it seemed like anything was strongly felt. I guess as a fan of the movie since childhood I expected a little more in learning about their lives before the movie. These memoirs are interesting, but not as compelling as I expected.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    This book written by the oldest von Trapp daughter was not nearly as interesting as the one written by her stepmother. It's basically a recitation of events much like one would read in a journal or traveling log. It does not have all the flair, drama, and interesting anecdotes of the book by Maria. Maria's personality is so evident in her autobiography. In this case, I would have to say Agathe is definitely overshadowed by her charismatic stepmother and a little bitterness seems to come through. This book written by the oldest von Trapp daughter was not nearly as interesting as the one written by her stepmother. It's basically a recitation of events much like one would read in a journal or traveling log. It does not have all the flair, drama, and interesting anecdotes of the book by Maria. Maria's personality is so evident in her autobiography. In this case, I would have to say Agathe is definitely overshadowed by her charismatic stepmother and a little bitterness seems to come through. It was disappointing to realize that the movie is not an accurate portrayal of their lives at all. Even Maria's book tended to be a rosy look at their lives. Agathe, however offers a different perspective. Clearly not all was as wonderful in the family dynamic as it might have appeared. It's a good reminder that blended families have many difficulties and there are many perspectives to consider.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    Having read "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Von Trapp many, many years ago, I knew that "The Sound of Music" was a highly fictionalized account of the Von Trapps' actual life story. This book makes a nice companion to Maria's account, telling of the early years of the family before Maria entered it. Agathe's style is very direct and unsentimental. She gives a very brief background of her parents and how they met, and goes on to share her memories of her childhood years. Her Having read "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Von Trapp many, many years ago, I knew that "The Sound of Music" was a highly fictionalized account of the Von Trapps' actual life story. This book makes a nice companion to Maria's account, telling of the early years of the family before Maria entered it. Agathe's style is very direct and unsentimental. She gives a very brief background of her parents and how they met, and goes on to share her memories of her childhood years. Her family lived an odd mix of privilege and deprivation due to WWI and its aftermath. Some of the family events had been covered in Maria's book; it's interesting to get Agathe's viewpoint of the same events.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elaine D

    This was so interesting to read mainly because I grew up LOVING the SOund of Music. It was one of the 3 movies that my Nana had at her house while I was growing up and my sister and I knew all the songs and watched it more times than I can count. I was interested to find that although i knew that the movie was based on a true story, many of the incidents from the movie were not real. Also, I was a little disappointed that Hollywood felt like the names and ages of the children needed to be This was so interesting to read mainly because I grew up LOVING the SOund of Music. It was one of the 3 movies that my Nana had at her house while I was growing up and my sister and I knew all the songs and watched it more times than I can count. I was interested to find that although i knew that the movie was based on a true story, many of the incidents from the movie were not real. Also, I was a little disappointed that Hollywood felt like the names and ages of the children needed to be changed? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learning more about one of my childhood gems. I feel like I understand the story of the Von Trapp Family more fully now! I can't wait to watch the movie again with a renewed sense of understanding!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Berzenski

    I recently saw the stage production of The Sound of Music and it made me curious about the real Von Trapp family. This book was written by the oldest daughter (although not the oldest child- she had an older brother). It was striking in how different their actual lives were from the movie and play. But because of that, and I think because she wanted to make sure everyone knew what was right, she spent lots of time and detail on their lives before they came to America. After a while it got to be I recently saw the stage production of The Sound of Music and it made me curious about the real Von Trapp family. This book was written by the oldest daughter (although not the oldest child- she had an older brother). It was striking in how different their actual lives were from the movie and play. But because of that, and I think because she wanted to make sure everyone knew what was right, she spent lots of time and detail on their lives before they came to America. After a while it got to be a little tedious in its detail. It could have been a book about any Austrian family growing up in the early 20th century. If you loved the movie as I did, it is good to know the true story. Just a little less detail would have been nice.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Agathe von Trapp is not a writer, she is a singer. This memoir really doesn't have a flow and she has listed items one after the other. This wasn't a horrible read, but just mediocre. Agathe tries to clear the perception of her actual family life versus the Sound of Music. Music was always in their home, before and after her mother's death, and her father playing a large role in this. Agathe wants her mother included in the story of their success and not just Maria. My favorite part is when they Agathe von Trapp is not a writer, she is a singer. This memoir really doesn't have a flow and she has listed items one after the other. This wasn't a horrible read, but just mediocre. Agathe tries to clear the perception of her actual family life versus the Sound of Music. Music was always in their home, before and after her mother's death, and her father playing a large role in this. Agathe wants her mother included in the story of their success and not just Maria. My favorite part is when they came to America to tour during WWII and Maria's comment to immigration officials about loving America so much they wanted to "stay forever" caused them to be detained at Ellis Island for 4 days. A manager and her brother bailed them out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Being a 'Sound of Music' buff, I was fascinated to read of the life of the Von Trapps prior to what we know. Agathe wrote this as an older woman, in part to rectify the image of her father as portrayed in the stage show and film. I needed to remember this book was written by a woman not of my generation or cultural background because I found some of the passive acceptance of events a bit hard to swallow. There was also a tendency to sugar coat things which only adds to the saccharine perception Being a 'Sound of Music' buff, I was fascinated to read of the life of the Von Trapps prior to what we know. Agathe wrote this as an older woman, in part to rectify the image of her father as portrayed in the stage show and film. I needed to remember this book was written by a woman not of my generation or cultural background because I found some of the passive acceptance of events a bit hard to swallow. There was also a tendency to sugar coat things which only adds to the saccharine perception from the movie. This is not a memoir that dishes the dirt,lol! But saying all that, I would recommend this to anyone who loves the movie and wants to explore a bit more about the lives of the real Von Trapps

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Rushton

    I found the book enlightening and very full of the day to day of the Trapp family, from there lives when their parents were young to when they lived in Vermont and worked at the Trapp Family Lodge. The point of view from the eldest daughter, Agathe, was poignant. She stated from the out-set that her view point may differ from others as it is her perspective and she if right. My complaint is that the story was bit long and tedious at times with the detail but overall, if you wanted to know the I found the book enlightening and very full of the day to day of the Trapp family, from there lives when their parents were young to when they lived in Vermont and worked at the Trapp Family Lodge. The point of view from the eldest daughter, Agathe, was poignant. She stated from the out-set that her view point may differ from others as it is her perspective and she if right. My complaint is that the story was bit long and tedious at times with the detail but overall, if you wanted to know the family really well, it was a great read on everything pertaining to the music, gardening skills, and the desire to live a good life. Overall, I enjoyed the book and found it fascinating how it is very different from the movie and play.

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