• What Falls Away

  • By: Mia Farrow
  • Narrated by: Mia Farrow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (152 ratings)

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What Falls Away  By  cover art

What Falls Away

By: Mia Farrow
Narrated by: Mia Farrow
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Publisher's Summary

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 9. 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 André 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 13 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. Listeners will not easily forget this remarkable book, even long after the last word has been spoken. 

©1997 Mia Farrow (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, a Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

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What listeners say about What Falls Away

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Humanitarian effort?

I had hoped this Mia Farrow would touch on her famous mother, Sinatra and her humanitarian efforts. I found the book the writings of a still bitter woman. I am sorry I wasted my time and money. If I wanted to read about Woody Allen I would have purchased a biography of Woody Allen. Skip this one. Not enough good to outweigh the bad.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

AMAZING!!!

Would you listen to What Falls Away again? Why?

Certainly. She has had an incredible life story. It is so well written and the characters she has met in her life ( from Salvador Dali, to Frank Sinatra to the Beatles) and with whom she had even more amazing stories is a must read/ listen

What did you like best about this story?

It is emotional, beautiful, honest, touching, everything you want in a book.

What does Mia Farrow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Fragility, honesty, closeness.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, the parts where she talks about her adopted children and their traits.

Any additional comments?

Thank you Mia. You are an incredible woman. I admire you profoundly.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Kept My Interest

I am not a big Mia fan but decided to listen to her story. I didn't regret it. She is a strong determined lady who has a tale worth hearing.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A substantial life

Really enjoyed this book, especially as it was narrated by Mia Farrow herself.
She chose not to narrate the sections of the book that dealt with her acrimonious split with Woody Allen.
A great listen to all those who are fans of her films and humanatarian works.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An Eye Opener

Fascinating!! I listened to the story over 2 days and was thoroughly riveted. She is honest to a degree of 'brutality'. In many ways Mia Farrow is at once both naive and worldly. Both stupid and wise. I felt sympathy for her situation and anger at her failures to recognise what was going on and put a stop to it. I have come away with an impression of a person who is a thorough example of a 'human being' with all our many facets of being. None of us are perfect and we will all approach situations differently. I have formed the opinion that she is a 'kind' person who was dealing with a situation way outside her experience, and with hindsight may have done better (as we all could). A thoroughly good autobiography well worth listening to. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Candid & Honest

Ms. Farrow's memoir is interesting and honest. Although she narrates as if she is "standing at the head of the classroom and simply reading a book to her peers), the contents of the book keep you listening.

She is very forthcoming about her marriages, how love effected her life and decisions and her devotion to her children. I especially appreciated her candor at writing and acknowledging the judge's observation that she showed dubious parenting ability when she did not leave Woody Allen and distance herself and her children from him, as soon as she realized what a danger he was to her children and his sexual overtures to her daughter. I began to feel she did not have a strong character, however she did finally do what needed to be done and it is apparent she does love her children very much. She is not a woman who would put a man before her kids! Commendable and honest!

The final chapters are far more captivating and flow with excitement as she discribes all she went through to get where she is today.

I recommend the book highly if readers enjoy a true account that does not withhold the bad and only highlight the good. She tells it all to the best of her ability!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An Extraordinary Life

Would you listen to What Falls Away again? Why?

Yes. I probably would need some time to think through what I've read before reading it again, however.

What other book might you compare What Falls Away to and why?

There are many Hollywood star memoirs that might have some similarities but this book also resembles the memoirs of survivors.

What does Mia Farrow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her soft voice, the bit of emotion she has as she recalls the details of her life.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Mia the Lionhearted, the survivor, the mother.

Any additional comments?

No.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Very Satisfying Listen

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 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).

3 people found this helpful

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Good to know both sides of the story....

Before we (my husband and I) listener to this book we listened to Woody Allen’s book. We found his book funny and quirky until he and Mia got together. He was definitely not good with kids. When we finished his book we immediately started this book. It is written and read with such honesty -about her childhood and marriages to Andre Previn and Frank Sinatra- that we had to believe her account about other incidents. She loved her children -all of them. We recommend this one AND Woodys book as well. Then you can form your own opinion!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting life but...

It was written like fiction; I prefer memoirs to be written as if the narrator is just sitting and talking with me. Also, I think someone else would have done a better job narrating the book. Interesting life though. Definitely worth the listen despite my complaints.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay
  • 03-13-07

One of my best reads ever!

I only bought this book because it was long and read by the author. I was more than pleasantly surprised by it. Beautifully written and read - fascinating story that touches on so many different aspects of Mia Farrow's life. She has a lovely reading voice and I was really sad when I had no more to listen to. I totally recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Suhair
  • 12-29-12

Great read

Nice book. Fascinating life; somewhat whimsical and strange. At the end of the book I felt almost disappointed at her weakness and fragility which, although I’m sure was her “edge” in Hollywood, sadly it couldn’t not help her in protecting one of her children from "him".

great read for people who want to know what really happened.

1 person found this helpful