Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

( 81 )

Overview

Marcia Brady, eldest daughter on television's The Brady Bunch, had it all---style, looks, boys, brains, and talent. No wonder her younger sister Jan was jealous! For countless adolescents across America who came of age in the early 1970s, Marcia was the ideal American teenager. Girls wanted to be her. Boys wanted to date her. But what viewers didn't know about the always-sunny, perfect Marcia was that offscreen, her real-life counterpart, Maureen McCormick, the young actress who portrayed her, was living a very ...
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Overview

Marcia Brady, eldest daughter on television's The Brady Bunch, had it all---style, looks, boys, brains, and talent. No wonder her younger sister Jan was jealous! For countless adolescents across America who came of age in the early 1970s, Marcia was the ideal American teenager. Girls wanted to be her. Boys wanted to date her. But what viewers didn't know about the always-sunny, perfect Marcia was that offscreen, her real-life counterpart, Maureen McCormick, the young actress who portrayed her, was living a very different--and not-so-wonderful--life. Now, for the very first time, Maureen tells the shocking and inspirational true story of the beloved teen generations have invited into their living rooms---and the woman she became.

In Here's the Story, Maureen takes us behind the scenes of America's favorite television family, the Bradys. With poignancy and candor, she reveals the lifelong friendships, the hurtful jealousies, the offscreen romance, the loving support her television family provided during a life-or-death moment, and the inconsolable loss of a man who had been a second father. But The Brady Bunch was only the beginning. Haunted by the perfection of her television alter ego, Maureen landed on the dark side, caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life.

Moving from drug dens on Wonderland Avenue to wild parties at the Playboy mansion and exotic escapades on the beaches of Hawaii, this candid, hard-hitting memoir exposes a side of a beloved pop-culture icon the paparazzi missed. Yet it is also a story of remarkable success. After kicking her drug habit, Maureen battled depression, reconnected with her mother, whom she nursed through the end of her life, and then found herself in a pitched battle for her family in which she ultimately triumphed.

There is no question: Maureen McCormick is a survivor. After fifty years, she has finally learned what it means to love the person you are, insight that has brought her peace in a happy marriage and as a mother. Here's the Story is the empowering, engaging, shocking, and emotional tale of Maureen McCormick's courageous struggle over adversity and her lifelong battle to come to terms with the idea of perfection---and herself.

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  • Maureen McCormick
    Maureen McCormick  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Maureen McCormick will always be thought of as the oldest, slightly too perfect daughter on The Brady Bunch. Offstage, Maureen, like all her admirers, could never quite match Marcia's unflagging success. After the show's five-season run ended in 1974, she settled uncomfortably into reruns, sequels, and spin-offs, not to mention serious depression, an eating disorder, and a five-year cocaine addiction. In Here's the Story, she reveals how she survived Marcia and lived to tell her own story. A winning confession from the girl we all loved to envy.
Publishers Weekly

Marcia Brady is one of America's perpetual sweethearts, frozen in time as a sunny teenager with relatively superficial problems and a loving family. But McCormick, the actress who played her for five seasons on TV's iconic The Brady Bunch, has struggled with depression, cocaine addiction, bulimia and a family history of tragedy and insanity. McCormick gives a strong performance narrating her own story, her voice betraying her own frustration about the years she lost to drug abuse, or her great emotion at being reunited with her beloved mother's family in Iowa after she got sober. McCormick's girlishly sweet voice is sometimes difficult to reconcile with the strong survivor who is telling this story. But this is an absorbing and well-told tale. McCormick has come through hell and back, and her story will have listeners cheering. A HarperCollins hardcover. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061490156
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 316,466
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1956, Maureen McCormick began her career at the age of six after winning the Baby Miss San Fernando Valley beauty pageant. She appeared in numerous commercials for brands such as Mattel and Kool-Aid, and performed in early episodes of Bewitched and My Three Sons before landing the starring role as Marcia Brady in the groundbreaking sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired in prime time from 1969 to 1974. McCormick is also a singer and voice-over actor who has made a number of appearances in television and movie roles during her long career. She recently returned to television as a cast member of VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and won! She lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.

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Read an Excerpt

Here's the Story LP
Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

Chapter One

The One Day When This Lady Met This Fellow

I wish my mother had been alive for my fiftieth birthday. I think my attitude would have surprised her. Rather than dreading the half-century milestone, I celebrated it. I embraced the idea of getting older. My family was around me all day. At night, they brought out a big cake and I blew out candles. We toasted . . . me!

I said silly things like "fifty is nifty." Several reporters called, wanting to know how Marcia Brady felt about turning fifty. Politely, I reminded them that Marcia Brady was still a teenager, but I, Maureen, created not in Sherwood Schwartz's imagination but in the womb of Irene McCormick, felt okay about it.

And no, I responded to another frequently asked question, I hadn't had any plastic surgery and didn't plan to. I borrowed Flip Wilson's line: What you see is what you get. It wasn't that bad. Despite the punishment I'd heaped on my body over the years, gravity had been kind to me. I didn't have many wrinkles, at least none that were undeserved. I had few complaints.

But those questions got me thinking. Why would I get surgically pulled, stretched, and Botoxed? When I looked in the mirror, I wanted to see me. The real me—warts, wrinkles, and everything else. I'd gone through hell and back to get to a place where I could, and indeed wanted to, look at myself—and like what I saw.

My mother had spent nearly her entire life doing the opposite, hiding from her past and trying to avoid the truth. It clouded much that sheshould've liked. A stay-at-home mother, she was a hard worker, with a good sense of people, good morals, and a good business sense.

Before the end, she came around and was much better and happier for it. By then, of course, much had happened.

My mother was born in 1921 in Burlington, Iowa, a small town along the Mississippi settled by German immigrants. Her father contracted syphilis while serving overseas during World War I, and he passed it on to her mother. She entered a mental institution with extreme paresis and died there without being able to recognize my mother or her younger sister.

A week after she entered the institution, my mom's father locked himself in the garage and breathed the exhaust fumes from his car. He died leaving his two girls inside the house. My mother was ten years old when she lost both of her parents. She and her sister moved in with an aunt and uncle. They were dedicated, devoted, and loving people. They provided my mother and her sister with a loving, nurturing home, though small-town life being what it was, my mother and her younger sister were still subjected to scorn. A year later, she was diagnosed with syphilis, an event that scarred her more psychologically than physically for the rest of her life.

It turned out she'd inherited the disease at birth from her mother. Following the diagnosis, she was warned not to tell anyone, ever, lest she be branded diseased and dirty. She didn't have to be told. From that first moment on, she felt dirty and diseased. It was the most shameful thing in the world to her. She was also frightened that she'd end up in an institution like her mother.

She was treated with stovarsol and mercury capsules, though both treatments caused a bad rash and later a more extreme skin condition. She ate her meals off a separate set of dishes. It was like wearing a scarlet A, only worse. At thirteen, she began special treatments at the State University of Iowa in Iowa City to ensure she would never pass the syphilis on to any children she might have. Those treatments lasted for three years and required long and lonely bus rides.

"At the time of her last visit here, on December 28, 1938, she seemed to be in good health, had been taking mercury and chalk fairly regularly, and had been going to her local physician for weekly Bismuth shots," her doctor wrote in a report. "Physical examination at the time of her last visit revealed a well-developed, well-nourished female. She was quite cooperative but acted rather self-consciously."

Despite everything, she did well in school, worked numerous odd jobs, and put herself through business college. She blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent, ambitious young woman. On the one hand, I picture her sitting on those long bus rides to the hospital: alone, scared, praying no one found out about her condition. On the other hand, I marvel at the strength she must have had; though she didn't show it, she was the strongest woman I've ever met.

At twenty, she fell in love and married a soldier who was immediately shipped off to Europe. A week later, he was killed in World War II when a German U-boat sank the transport ship he was on.

Devastated, she moved to the West Coast with her best girlfriend, Mary Crawley. They wanted to live in Hollywood, among the movie stars and fancy theaters. They dreamed of adventure, maybe even stardom. But they ended up fifteen miles away in Westwood, near UCLA. My mom didn't care. She was happy to be out of Burlington and away from the stares and stigma of her past.

My father, Richard, was the youngest of three children born to Joseph McCormick, a bartender in Riverside, New Jersey. His father was a heavy drinker who abused his wife. He lost everything in the Depression and died in his mid-thirties from illnesses related to alcoholism.

My father's mother did the best she could to raise her family, but they were very poor and at one point they had to burn furniture to keep warm in the winter. My dad spent most of his youth in a wheelchair, the result of osteomyelitis. By his late teens, though, his illness was gone. Near the end of World War II, he lied about his age and joined the Coast Guard. One day he was on deck, cooking for his shipmates, and his gas stove exploded, severely burning his leg.

Here's the Story LP
Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice
. Copyright © by Maureen McCormick. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Almost great

    PROs : For some reason I am a big fan of reading stories about celebrities who become addicted to drugs and have other issues like that. She goes into detail about some very personal issues, particularly her battle to locate and maintain a relationship with her father. There is some really tragic stuff that I won't spoil for you, but it will probably make your OWN problems seem a little less severe.

    CONs : She completely glosses over the Brady Bunch era. It felt like maybe half a chapter is spent talking about the behind the scenes stuff. Her writing style didn't really grab me. There was a LOT of name dropping throughout the whole book to the point where I'd just roll my eyes whenever she'd mention another B-level celebrity's name. I kinda skimmed through some paragraphs about Christianity.

    CONCLUSION : I really wanted to like this book and when I started I thought for sure it was gonna be a four-star story. But I was very disappointed that she practically skipped over her Brady Bunch years. I was looking forward to hearing about that era. But if you can live without detailed stories about "Marsha", and if you like stories about celebrities who have screwed up personal lives (I love stuff like that!), then give this book a try because it'll be right up your alley.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Trying to Find Herself

    Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, by Maureen McCormick, is a memoir of a woman made famous by her role in the Brady Bunch, as the eldest daughter, Marcia. The Brady Bunch aired from 1969-1974, when Maureen was 13-18 years old. The Brady Bunch was a wildly successful show that ran on Friday nights--I know, I looked forward to it every week.<BR/><BR/>McCormick struggles most of her life because of her role as "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." (This now infamous line was uttered by the middle daughter, Jan, because she felt her older sister got all the attention.) McCormick writes: "Imagine being shadowed by a younger,prettier, more popular you," referring to her role as Marcia.<BR/><BR/>I mentioned that I looked forward to watching The Brady Bunch every week--now, I was 8 years old when it started and it was the first show of its kind. But, it was always a bit dippy and moralistic. For example, whenever one of the kids did the slightest thing wrong, the whole family had to gather and mom and dad would lecture. GAG.<BR/><BR/>The reason I mention this is that McCormick had a thing about being "imperfect" her entire life compared to the "perfect" Marcia. Now, I was a kid, but it was pretty obvious this was a TV show--not something real.<BR/><BR/>On the other hand, I would have killed to look like Marcia---thin, with long, straight, blond hair. Maybe that was the perfection part.<BR/><BR/>McCormick provides details of what it was like on the Brady set,including crushes and such. I felt that there were too many details--do we really care about when she first got her period and how it happened? Or that she was jealous that Eve Plumb developed breasts before her?<BR/><BR/>The book is enjoyable, don't get me wrong--but it gets 4 stars, not 5 because it should have been edited more. Too many details throughout, the book drags at times.<BR/><BR/>McCormick reveals her family history (her mother's dad had syphilis and passed it to her mother) and her own life that included drug use, bulimia, and depression.<BR/><BR/>When McCormick turned 50, she agreed to be on the Celebrity Fit Club, a reality series in which the stars try to lose weight. McCormick is very successful at losing weight and feels good about herself. She writes: "After spending my life worrying about what people thought of me, what they might think of me, and trying to present a certain image, I gave up and was just me."<BR/><BR/>Ultimately, Maureen McCormick was brave to share this revealing memoir with the world. If nothing else, it shows that perfection is an illusion and that we would all be much better off if we could simply accept ourselves for who we really are.<BR/><BR/>Nice work.<BR/><BR/>By the author of the award winning book, HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME & YOUR PLANET.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book!

    You know I read something about this book before I read it. I almost didn't read it cause I heard she had 2 abortions and I am 100% pro-life. However something told me I needed to read this book and I said just buy and read it what can I lose? I have to say I am so happy I did buy the book and then read it. I have depression and at the time I was in a bad place. This book has helped me and my depression to know that other people even "Marica Brady" has depression. I now look at Maureen Mccormick as my role model.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Here's a part of the story

    McCormick's lack of detail seriously impaired my enjoyment of this book. Even the frequently lurid details were written in a bland manner, without inflection or any reason to care. This is a story of a spoiled girl who ruins her life and then successfully reconstructs it into something worth living, but without answering very many of the questions raised within the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Let's Get a Grip

    I loved The Brady Bunch. Alice was my hero, not Marcia, and Mike and Carol Brady were the most enviable parents on the planet.<BR/><BR/>I've seen too much about Ms. McCormick on TV and in the tabloids to waste my precious time and money to read this book. While I'm happy for her healing and escape from her many demons, I think she is a dismal role model for teens OR those of us now middle-aged who once looked up to her as Marcia Brady.<BR/><BR/>The world does NOT need another Hollywood memoir about the downward spiral of a life of money, drugs, sex and their disastrous consequences for an outwardly successful, beautiful and perfect person! It is this IDEA that is rubbish. The fact that somehow being open and sharing of her life makes her boo-boos (sorry, when did things like drug possession and abortion get relegated to that status anyway?) all better is absolute untruth at its most dangerous.<BR/><BR/>There are lots of people without the money, family and other resources Ms. McCormick had who have done or are doing jail time for similar activities. Her life stories, as depicted in interviews on TV talk shows and in other tabloids, are things best left NOT talked about--the way she delivers some of the information is so I-totally-fooled-everyone-all-those-years-HA it's very difficult to watch or listen to. And the abortions? Abortion leaves a gash in the soul, the heart, the mind, the spirit. To deal with it in such a gossip-column-style way is heartbreaking. Anyone suffering with the guilt and grief of having had an abortion has my utmost sympathy. But let's face it, there is only one place from which forgiveness is forthcoming, and it's not the general public, and it's not even of this earth.<BR/><BR/>Did Ann B. Davis (Alice) write a memoir? Because I'll bet THAT member of the Brady Bunch would write something worth reading. She was the best!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2008

    Disappointed

    When I saw that "Marcia Brady" was coming out with a book about her life, I became very excited. I watched The Brady Bunch alot when I was younger. I realize the struggles that Maureen had were real, but to me the book was very poorly written. As I was reading I kept telling myself that it has to get better. It seemed like it only focused on coke, sex, and drugs. I didn't finish it, I didn't want to. It may be a true story, but I felt like I was reading a cheap smut magazine. I was very disappointed...

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    SHOCKING, EMOTIONAL, AND EMPOWERING

    She knew she definitely wasn't in Kansas any longer shortly after the hit television show The Brady Bunch ended. Maureen McCormick had played the part of the flawless elder daughter, Marcia, from 1969 to 1974. While she was Miss Perfection on the small screen she was quite the opposite in private life.<BR/><BR/> One of four children she grew up in a dysfunctional household - her father was an abuser who ran around. This disharmony left her with deep feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Despite the overwhelming popularity of the Marcia Brady character she portrayed Maureen did not feel liked much less loved.<BR/><BR/> Maureen had begun playing Marcia at the age of 14, and when the show closed she found herself a young actress in Hollywood with evidently nowhere to turn. What she did turn to was drugs. She became the ultimate party girl going to the Playboy Mansion and Sammy Davis, Jr's house. Sad to say she sank deeper and deeper into the quicksand of addiction until she offered sex for drugs.<BR/><BR/> However, more than happy to say that she is a survivor. It has taken the better part of her life but with the help of friends, medicine, and countless therapy sessions she has learned to accept who she is and find contentment. While her story is painful, frequently shocking, it also gives hope and courage to those who suffer. Listeners will be especially touched when they hear her voice tell us quite frankly how it was then and how it is now.<BR/><BR/> - Gail Cooke

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    Incredible Lady!

    I had this book read in less than 24 hours. I could not put it down. Boy....and we think we have a hard life sometimes huh? It's amazing how at times we think about doing something and don't, or delay doing it and end up paying a price. How many of us expect a perfect lifestyle, a perfect family especially when we go out of our way to accomplish such? Maureen teaches us in her book, that it is ok to make mistakes, it's ok to not be so perfect and thankfully even God forgives us when we do goof-up in a big way.<BR/><BR/>Thanks Maureen for sharing with us your ups and downs. Now my downs don't look so down anymore. God Bless You Always!<BR/><BR/>LINDA

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2008

    Don't waste your money on this book

    This book is totally garbage. It sounds like she made up everything in this book just to get people to buy this book. Don't your money and time on this book.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    A huge disappointment

    I was looking forward to reading this so much and could barely get through it. It was very poorly written. Marsha brought us so much happiness. I wish Maureen had left it at that. I'm clueless as to why she aired her very dirty laundry.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wow!

    I had no idea everything she went through. She has great strength and perseverance. She is a great woman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Just so so

    I don't know if maybe my expectations for this book were unrealistic or what, but this book fell far short of what I thought it would be.

    Ms. McCormick seemed far too whiny to me about being Marcia Brady. While I realize fame can certainly be a double-edged sword, would any of us have purchased this book if she hadn't been Marcia Brady?

    There were several issues I felt that were bypassed by the author or just barely touched upon that I think many people would rather have known more about. The book seemed sloppily put together and as if it was written just for the money it would bring. I felt I wasted my money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2014

    Interesting! Nice to hear her side...

    I like reading autobiographies of actors/entertainers so when I found this one, I knew I had to read it! She's been through a lot. Nice to see she turned out okay...Now, I need to read the Barry Williams one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book! I didnt realize that she had such a

    I really enjoyed this book! I didnt realize that she had such a messed up life! I actually read this book in conjunction with Anthony Keidis's autobiography &quot;Scar Tissue&quot; and I have to say she was EVEN MORE messed up then he was! Its a really good read!

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  • Posted March 28, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A very interesting story. I was moved by the author's demons and

    A very interesting story. I was moved by the author's demons and battle to conquer them. Not much info on the Brady Bunch though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Very highly recommend

    Hard to believe Marcia Brady actually has a not-so-perfect life outside of her perfect Brady Bunch life. For those of use who were Brady Bunch fans and thought they all must lead such charmed lives this is a must read. You'll find it hard to put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Anonmyous

    Loved it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Marcia marcia marcia

    Enough already everything is not what they seemed she was not the girl next door read the book and you will look at both sides of a person i read the book in aday iliked itthough sick of only one view even papa brady was a fag and a fag with aids so dont judge a persons smile as when they grin too much they are often phonies (and im not talking rhe telephone)look more closely before you leap

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Very disappointed!

    I asked for and received this book from my children for Christmas 2009 after listening to a brief radio interview with Barry Williams about Maureen's 'tell all' (that portion involving him.) I thought it would be a 'blast from the past' since I grew up watching 'The Brady Bunch.' I had misplaced the book and recently found it and started reading while on vacation.
    I struggled with the story almost immediately, continuing to read since I thought 'it must get more interesting soon.' By page 27, my attention was piqued by the grammatical errors and on page 34 there was a five line sentence which included five commas. I wondered if Ms. McCormick had hired a proofreader before this book was published.
    I also grew up in Woodland Hills, CA and, though Maureen is four years my senior, we attended the same Jr. High and High Schools. I began noticing factual discrepancies when she wrote, "...and had my first kisses on the hill behind the (Jr. High) school." This may have just been her way to geographically simplify things for the reader but the closest hill to that school is at least seven blocks away. By the time I reached page 79, I had lost complete interest in her mundane stories, which seemed to be embellished to fill the pages, and her unnecessary gossip about the other actors on the show. I chose to close the book at that point and have no interest in reading the remaining 200 pages.
    Though I applaud Ms. McCormick for overcoming her addictions and feelings of worthlessness (due to a character she played for only five years 35 years ago,) I prefer to spend my leisure time reading memoires written by people who have achieved much more than just pulling themselves back up after hitting rock bottom. She had so much more going for her than the thousands of 'nobodies' who have gone through similar or worse situations and I have yet to see those other unfortunates' memoires published for all to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Yeah Marcia-um, Maureen!!!!!!

    I love Marcia Brady. She is the girl I have always dreamed of being-smart, stylish, athletic, pretty, popular, and with an extremely groovy and equally as awesome older brother, Greg, whom I have kinda always crushed on. I was a little reluctant to buy this book-i knew marcia had abused cocaine-but judging by the title of this book, I figured she would focus mainly on the Brady Bunch and not reveal her own personal and very private issues and information. Well i bought it and whoa. Although a very strong, generous, and loving person, maureen seems to feel it necessary to share every personal detail of her life and fling her doors wide open, starting with her mothers syphillis and her fathers affair to her own personal struggles with meth, cocaine, abortions, and bulliemia to her fiery temper and then-abusive control over her husband. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Maureen airs her dirty laundry so frequently it is almost innopropriate.
    On the plus side, as I mentioned before, Maureen is a kind, sweet, and gentle person in general, throwing no one under the bus and spreading happiness to the less fortunate. She knows she made some bad choices and presses on, ever lovingly, and her sweet motherly tone is difficult to abhor.
    My conclusion? Three and a half stars, but I'm rounding it to four. Maureens tale of helplessness and self-loss is sure to leave you sobbing into a mountain of Kleenex but her conclusion of joy and love is guaranteed to put a smile in your heart and prayer for her future as you realize we can do it after all if Marcia, Marcia, Marcia can.
    Reviewed by littlehousegirl

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