Books make good gifts. When I got one last Christmas, it had an unusual title, “Home”, by Julie Andrews in England.

When I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Within three days and nignts, I read all 399 pages.

This could be my fastest reading ever. Having read thousands of uncounted books since age six, now 76, I’m surprised to find such a great autobiography from a film and stage star, with other achievements, after a strange youth and many problems.

You can read her superb story for free at the McAllen Public Library, but there might be a long lending list there.

Or you can read this classic for $15.99 at Barnes and Noble bookstore in North McAllen and perhaps other stores in the Valley. You will not regret it, unless you dislike strong women who succeed against long odds.

I would bet that most who buy “Home” as a gift will read it themselves, too. Don’t miss it. Julie Andrews sub-named her title as “A Memoir of My Early Years.”

Of all the thousands of books I have read, It now ranks among the top 10, and tied for the best by another British stage legend, Sir Laurence Olivier, for another knock-out writing performance.

Her subtitle, “A Memoir of My Early Years,” ends in 1963. Let us hope that she unveils the second act of her long and fasinating life, for another frank climax to more ups and downs and great writing. In that case she would climb, I feel certain, to the top of highest esteem reached by any English-speaking stage star.

As for the star of Mary Poppins, the Sound of Music and so many more, she tells the honest truth, unlike so many celebrities, and her “Memoir of My Early Years” is fit for children 10 and over to read, I believe.

Julie Andrews survived living in London and other places when Hitler’s Germany was bombing it. Some of her other experienceswere bad. It will be interesting to see what the second book would be like if she writes it and what millions of her admirers plus her children and grandchildren will make of THAT. She should do it. I will try to stand first in line if she writes again.

And thanks to our daughter Kelly Gillespie, who gave the book to us for Christmas, one of the best presents we ever got.