In her foreword, Trapp establishes that her theme is to trace the multiple sources and effects of love in her life and in that of her family. As a deeply committed Roman Catholic, she defines this love as originating with God. In fact, the reader of this autobiography will note the degree to which religious values, customs, and beliefs permeate the experiences of the family, and thus the structure of the text. While this approach may be problematical for some young readers, the overall positive message of the work and the glimpses that it offers of another culture make it a valuable addition to their reading.
It is easy to see Trapp as multifaceted in her own account: She desires to be a nun, functions very well as a teacher (a role that she resumes later in the story), and becomes an almost archetypal wife and mother. She is also something of a musical archivist, a gifted performer, and an always interesting writer. Each one of these identities is allotted space in Trapp’s book, but most provocative for young adults are her insights about parenthood and the necessity of forming the characters of children. Trapp has no confusion about what a good parent owes a child, and the account of her battles with the willful Lorli are both comic and compelling.
Most readers will come to Trapp’s autobiography with some familiarity and preconceptions derived from the film The Sound of Music (1965). The points of departure between film and text...
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