Forever Young, Hayley Mills (Grand Central Publishing, 2021). Hayley Mills has written a memoir of, roughly, the first half of her life, ending around the time of the birth of her first son. The book stretches from her earliest memories through her marriage to Roy Boulting. Most people probably remember Ms. Mills most for her Disney films, and they will be quite pleased with the detailed reminiscences she has of them.
I saw most of the Disney films back in the day
and have to confess to having a bit of a pre-teen crush on Hayley Mills. I wasn’t the only one. Then, I forgot all about her until I had children and the opportunity to re-watch all of those great movies with them. She possessed a certain charisma and screen presence in those films that few other adolescent actors have. Pollyanna and Parent Trap stand out in particular. In her book, she shares a number of very entertaining anecdotes about, and behind the scenes glimpses into, the making of those movies. So, if you were ever a Hayley Mills fan, her book will be a real treat.
Aside from the movie memories, this is very honest and sincere account of her journey to adulthood. She relates her problems and issues along the way without holding back much. She’s quite frank about her insecurities. Although she was born into a family of acting royalty (her father was John Mills) and regularly hung out with the glitterati (she went out on a date with George Harrison as a teenager), her story is a familiar coming-of-age journey in many respects. We’ve all been there, done that, if not in so august a company.
I’m normally not a fan of memoirs, but this one I would highly recommend. I found the writing to be quite excellent and thoughtful. Although Hayley Mills made a great name for herself in acting world, I can’t help but wonder if maybe her true calling might have been to follow in the footsteps of her author-mother. Ms. Mills is a very talented writer.
Important Note: I would recommend listening to the audiobook, as I did. Hayley Mills does the narration and she turns in a great performance. Her story really comes to life with her reading it.