Classics Club: Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

  • Author: P.L. Travers

I checked out the audiobook edition from my university’s library.  I had wanted to read Mary Poppins for years.  I thought it would become a new favorite since I loved the Disney adaptation so much.  What happened is that my belief in Disney’s inability to stick to the original story has been reaffirmed.  Mary Poppins is not the sweetheart she is portrayed to be by Julie Andrews.  She’s often cranky, taciturn, extremely vain, and sometimes downright mean to the children in her care.

Mary Poppins isn’t the only character that gave me pause.  There is a scene where a mother and owner of a bakery literally breaks off her fingers to give to Jane and Micheal’s younger siblings to chew.  While it turns out her fingers are a different baked good each time, I couldn’t get over the creepiness of it.  She’s also emotionally abusive towards her two daughters and I’m not sure how her screaming at them about every little thing was supposed to be amusing.

Each chapter of the book brought a new level of bizarre to my ears.  I was repeatedly shocked that this was, and still is, considered to be one of the best children’s stories of all time.  While it certainly wasn’t the worst book I’ve read, I won’t be bothering to read any more of the series.  I’ll stick with the Disney film, thank you.

One thought on “Classics Club: Mary Poppins

  1. I had the same reaction when I read the book! Mary Poppins was so cranky and vain, it took me a really long time to begin liking her as a character. Some of the things that happened in the book (having lunch with Mary Poppins’ uncle on the ceiling, for instance) was brilliantly odd, but I agree that there were also some very strange things going on in the book that I didn’t like all that much.

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