My Name Is Barbra

My Name Is Barbra

by Barbra Streisand

Narrated by Barbra Streisand

Unabridged — 48 hours, 17 minutes

My Name Is Barbra

My Name Is Barbra

by Barbra Streisand

Narrated by Barbra Streisand

Unabridged — 48 hours, 17 minutes

Audiobook (Digital)

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Notes From Your Bookseller

Happy days are here again! EGOT, icon and the funny girl herself shares her story — from Brooklyn to Broadway to Brolin, and everything in between.

The long-awaited memoir by the superstar of stage, screen, recordings, and television

PLEASE NOTE The audiobook edition is read by Barbra Streisand. Features additional anecdotes and music that are exclusive to the My Name is Barbra audiobook.

Barbra Streisand is by any account a living legend, a woman who in a career spanning six decades has excelled in every area of entertainment. She is among the handful of EGOT winners (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) and has one of the greatest and most recognizable voices in the history of popular music. She has been nominated for a Grammy 46 times, and with Yentl she became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major motion picture. In My Name Is Barbra,*she tells her own story about her life and extraordinary career, from growing up in Brooklyn to her first star-making appearances in New York nightclubs to her breakout performance in Funny Girl on stage and winning the Oscar for that performance on film. Then came a long string of successes in every medium in the years that followed. The book is, like Barbra herself, frank, funny, opinionated, and charming. She recounts her early struggles to become an actress, eventually turning to singing to earn a living; the recording of some of her acclaimed albums; the years of effort involved in making Yentl; her direction of The Prince of Tides; her friendships with figures ranging from Marlon Brando to Madeleine Albright; her political advocacy; and the fulfillment she's found in her marriage to James Brolin.
No entertainer's memoir has been more anticipated than Barbra Streisand's, and this engrossing and delightful book will be eagerly welcomed by her millions of fans.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 12/04/2023

Streisand’s long-anticipated debut memoir doesn’t disappoint. Utilizing her own journals, her mother’s scrapbooks, and interviews with colleagues and friends, the decorated singer and actor delivers a thoroughly enjoyable survey of her life and career that—even at nearly 1,000 pages—never overstays its welcome. Streisand begins with her teenage adventures fleeing her emotionally distant mother and stepfather’s Brooklyn apartment for Manhattan, where she and a friend went to see Broadway plays and where she eventually moved and got her first taste of showbiz success singing in nightclubs. From there, she dives deep into her key projects and famous relationships, writing of being booted off the Billboard top two by the Beatles (“Their sound was sensational, so I had no complaints”), developing stage fright during her star-making turn in the Broadway musical Funny Girl, and falling in love with leading men from Elliott Gould to James Brolin. The tone throughout is delightfully garrulous, often verging on conspiratorial: Streisand offers detailed descriptions of not only who she rubbed elbows with, but what everyone ate, what they wore, how the room was decorated, and what she really thought about it all (at one point, she returns a dress Phyllis Diller bought her so she can use the money to purchase fabric for a custom design). That combination of fastidiousness and looseness, mixed with Streisand’s natural humor, makes for a deliriously entertaining autobiography that gathers heft from the sheer breadth of its author’s experiences and achievements. This is a gift. (Nov.)

From the Publisher

Praise for My Name Is Barbra

"A 970-page victory lap past all who ever doubted, diminished or dissed her. . . . Exuberant and glorious. . . . There are just so many scintillating Streisands to contemplate over so many years: singer, actress, director, producer, philanthropist, activist, lover, mother, wife, friend, autobiographer."
—Alexandra Jacobs, New York Times Book Review

"The book is undeniably moving—it does not, even for a moment, read as false. . . . Streisand’s chatty, discursive presence hums on every page. . . . Riveting . . . . All the usual memoir forms rear their heads. There’s the sob story, the gallant bildungsroman, the louche chronicle of various addictive behaviors, the righteous making of an activist, the victory lap. Streisand’s book, in its sheer breadth and largesse, attempts to be all of these things, and thus becomes something incredibly rare. . . . If something interests her, then it is interesting, full stop. In a way, she draws on an old-fashioned idea of celebrity: to be a star is to be golden, and to make everything you touch look the same. . . . Streisand has never thought it necessary to contain herself, and there’s no reason to start now."
—Rachel Syme, The New Yorker

"The celebrity memoir I've coveted most is that of the singular Ms. Barbra Streisand. . . . We don't see a diva, we see a genius. . . .  In a society that tends to value women's passivity while lauding their accomplishments in hindsight, it's a distinct pleasure to look back with My Name Is Barbra and marvel at how the real she came to be."
—Brittany Luse, NPR
“[My Name Is Barbra is] enlightening. It’s shake-your-head funny and hand-to-mouth surprising. The lady who wrote it is in touch with herself, loves being herself. . . . Streisand’s boundlessness, her capaciousness — the lack of precedent for her whole-enchilada ambitions, the daffiness, the sexiness, the talent, orchestration, passion, originality; her persistence and indefatigability; the outfits; the hair — were a watershed.”
—Wesley Morris, The New York Times

My Name Is Barbra is not to be dismissed, even at its astonishing length. It shows a busy intelligence at work and a fair degree of self-knowledge. I find much to admire about Streisand in her memoir, including her refusal to play down her own innate power.”
—Daphne Merkin, New York Review of Books

"Everything you could want from a Barbra Streisand memoir. . . . Scintillating. . . . The memoir is as sharp, funny and refreshingly candid as Streisand herself."
USA Today

“A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star. . . . What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This memoir is as extraordinary as the woman who wrote it."
Booklist (starred review)

"Charming . . . funny . . . . Chatty and sincere, the book reads like a conversation, complete with asides and self-corrections. . . . The effect is like she's sharing coffee cake with us. . . . It feels like it's Streisand telling us all the things she's wanted to say for all of her 81 years on Earth. . . . If you've ever been a fan, even if it has been a while, I can't imagine you'd want to miss it."
—Chris Hewitt, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"My Name Is Barbra dispels rumors and myths but doesn’t hold back on scintillating tales of love affairs, on-set drama and unfiltered anecdotes about her discomfort with fame."
Los Angeles Times

“The question of her talent was never really in doubt. . . . In Streisand’s book, though, there’s more than just talent; we are shown craft, intelligence, a winning, rare curiosity.”

Library Journal

★ 12/02/2023

Actor and singer Streisand elevates the ceiling for the standards of excellence in celebrity memoirs. Numerous times, she recounts her pleasure in editing and re-editing films, and it's a talent she's brought to her writing. Even more impressive than the book's size is that there are no dull chapters, paragraphs, or sentences. Streisand writes with invigorating passion and endearing humor about people and topics that matter to her. It's impossible to be bored when she is so enthusiastic, whether she's writing about feminist issues, love affairs, battles won and lost to create art on film and albums, or how different camera lenses work. Streisand booked her first Broadway musical at 19 and continued singing at a small club, where she had total control over her songs and comic patter. Control is important in her life and career. By age 28, she had won two Emmys, five Grammys, an Oscar, and a non-competitive Special Tony Award. When she takes readers behind the scenes of her films, it's truly a master class in filmmaking, demonstrating her prowess at crafting screenplays, directing, and editing. VERDICT This lengthy but invigorating, passionate, and reflective memoir will be in great demand for decades.—Kevin Howell

DECEMBER 2023 - AudioFile

This is a nuanced, opinionated memoir written and narrated by one of the greatest entertainers ever, EGOT-winning Barbra Streisand. While the early chapters sound a bit tentative, she comes into her own quickly. Her voice is in a lower register than in many of her most famous recordings, and listeners will likely be charmed by the conversational style of both her prose and performance. The production is peppered with the briefest of recorded excerpts; through those musical interludes we see Streisand's evolution from Brooklyn housing projects to Malibu compounds. Listeners will also likely enjoy her highly personal reflections on working with and knowing others such as Brando, Redford, Wyler, and her husband, James Brolin. Ultimately, Streisand sounds content. For her, this is significant. W.A.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2023-11-06
A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star.

When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long—but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, “It’s not just the gift, it’s the willingness to take infinite pains.” The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has—including her mother’s scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer—into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand’s spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn’t want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: “Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential.”

What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178104224
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 11/07/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,068

Read an Excerpt

An “amiable anteater”? That’s how I was described at nineteen in one of my first reviews as a professional actress. I was in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, playing a lovelorn secretary, and I could see the comparison . . . sort of.

Over the next year, I was also called “a sour persimmon,” “a furious hamster,” “a myopic gazelle,” and “a seasick ferret.”

Yikes. Was I really that odd-­looking?

Only a year later, when I was in my second Broadway show, Funny Girl, my face was exactly the same, but now I was being compared to “an ancient oracle,” “Nefertiti,” and “a Babylonian queen.” I must say I loved those descriptions. Apparently I also had a “Pharaonic profile and scarab eyes.” I think that was supposed to be a compliment, though I have to admit one of those eyes does look cross-­eyed at times . . . and it seems like the Pharaoh also had a big schnoz. People kept telling me, “Get it fixed.” (I bet no one said that to him.)

But sometimes I’ll just pick up a magazine in the dentist’s office, for example. (I happen to like going to the dentist, because I love how my teeth feel after they’re cleaned. It’s also an hour of peace with no phone calls.) Once when I was waiting, I saw a story about Neil Diamond, who was a grade ahead of me at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. Actually it was about his brother, who’d invented some crazy bathtub that had a stereo system and all sorts of electronic gadgets (perfect . . . for getting electrocuted). And it’s not cheap . . . fourteen thousand dollars! I’m thinking, Who would ever buy such a thing? And then I read that I’m one of his customers! I didn’t even know my friend Neil had a brother, and now I’m being used to sell his bathtub?!

That’s irritating, but other stories cut deep. One night, my dear friend Andrzej Bartkowiak, a brilliant cinematographer who did two films and a documentary with me, came over for dinner. (Actually, he was cooking, because I’m a hazard in the kitchen. I can burn water.)

Andrzej had been to see his friend earlier (a medical doctor, by the way) and happened to mention that he was having dinner with me. The doctor said, “I hear she’s a bitch.”

“What?” said Andrzej. “What are you talking about?”

“She’s impossible to work with.”

“That’s ridiculous. Have you ever worked with her?”


“Well, I have . . . three times . . . and she’s wonderful to work with. In fact, she’s a very nice person.”

“No, she isn’t. She’s a bitch. I read it in a magazine!

That’s the power of the printed word.

And there was no hope of changing this man’s mind. He chose to believe some writer who had never met me, rather than the person who really knows me. That upsets me deeply. Why couldn’t he accept the truth?

For forty years, publishers have been asking me to write my autobiography. But I kept turning them down, because I prefer to live in the present rather than dwell on the past. And the fact is, I’m scared that after six decades of people  making up stories about me, I’m going to tell the truth, and nobody is going to believe it.

Recently, my husband, Jim, and I were driving home from a movie and stopped at the supermarket because I suddenly had a craving for coffee ice cream. We walked into the market holding hands, and a man came up behind us and said, in a loud voice, “I’m so happy to see you back together!”

Back together? When were we apart? Did my husband move out and I some‑ how failed to notice?

You see, I like facts. I have great respect for facts, and the idea of just making something up really bothers me.

So I finally said yes to writing this book, after dancing around the idea for ages. I actually wrote the first chapter back in the 1990s, in longhand with an erasable pen . . . and then lost it. Now I wish I knew how to type, because once I started again it took another ten years, since I still have other commitments, like making records, and besides, I get really bored with myself. I’m trying to recall things that happened a long time ago. (Thank God for the journals I’ve kept, which have been invaluable.) And then sometimes I realize that I haven’t been remembering the full story and have to dig deeper, no matter where it leads . . .

I wanted to be an actress ever since I was a child . . . maybe from the moment I was taken to my first movie, and stood up on the seat so I could see the screen. Still, it’s amazing that my dream came true, and I’m very grateful to all the people who helped me along the way.

They say that success changes a person, but I think it actually makes you more of who you really are. Frankly, I think I’m rather ordinary. I just happened to be born with a good voice, and then I guess there was something about my looks, my personality, whatever talent I had that intrigued people (or annoyed them). I know I ask a lot of questions. I have a lot of opinions, and I say what I think . . . and sometimes that gets me into a lot of trouble.

I’m not a very social person. I don’t like to get dressed up and go out. I’d rather stay home with my husband and my dogs. Sometimes we’ll invite family and friends over for dinner and a movie, or to play games like Rummikub, backgammon, or hearts. (I also play every night on my phone in the dark before I go to sleep, to clear my head of all the stress of the day.) I love painting with my son, Jason (he’s much better than I am) . . . I can spend hours taking photographs in my garden . . . and because I don’t go out much, I forget who I am to the outside world.

Which reminds me of something. Recently I was going to the dentist (to get my teeth cleaned again), and while I was waiting for the elevator, I noticed this woman staring at me. So I moved away, but she didn’t stop. I thought, Why is she still staring? Did I spill something on myself?

And then I realized, Oh yeah . . . I’m what’s her name.

I think it’s time to dispel the myths about that creature.

And that’s why I’m writing this book . . . because I feel an obligation to the people who are truly interested in my work, and the process behind the work, and perhaps the person behind the process.

So, here goes . . .

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