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Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton Hardcover – April 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation; First Edition edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075826366X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758263667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mary is a whole lot more than Erin on The Waltons. This book shows how she's handled all the highs and lows with grace." ----George Clooney

"A fascinating look at what it's like to grow up in front of and beyond the cameras." ----Eve Plumb

"Somewhere inside that frightened, shy, freckle-faced little girl, who just wanted to please everyone, to just be "good enough," seethed the heart of brave activist, willing to take on all comers in her fight to save women's lives. Mary starts out writing a heartfelt "love letter" to her Waltons co-stars and fans, (no whining here, there s not an ungrateful bone in her body!) But no sooner has she finished happily regaling us with her behind the scenes Waltons tales, and the moral lessons she took to heart along the way, she reveals the terrifying challenges that forced her to become more "Erin Brockovich" than "Erin Walton"! For someone who started out as a sweet little girl afraid to speak up, it certainly is a pleasure to hear her shout from the top of the mountain now! -- --Alison Arngrim, New York Times Best Selling Author of "Confessions of A Prairie Bitch"

"A fascinating look at what it's like to grow up in front of and beyond the cameras." ----Eve Plumb

"Somewhere inside that frightened, shy, freckle-faced little girl, who just wanted to please everyone, to just be "good enough," seethed the heart of brave activist, willing to take on all comers in her fight to save women's lives. Mary starts out writing a heartfelt "love letter" to her Waltons co-stars and fans, (no whining here, there s not an ungrateful bone in her body!) But no sooner has she finished happily regaling us with her behind the scenes Waltons tales, and the moral lessons she took to heart along the way, she reveals the terrifying challenges that forced her to become more "Erin Brockovich" than "Erin Walton"! For someone who started out as a sweet little girl afraid to speak up, it certainly is a pleasure to hear her shout from the top of the mountain now! ----Alison Arngrim, New York Times Best Selling Author of "Confessions of A Prairie Bitch"

Customer Reviews

Mary McDonough shares her story with honesty and heart.
Juliet Rohde-Brown, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Insitute
I have always loved Mary McDonough who played Erin on the Walton's.
Patsy Johnson
Thanks Mary for sharing your Lessons from the Mountain with us.
renee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Heartfelt Book Lover on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Lessons From the Mountain recounts the childhood of Mary McDonough and her experiences of growing up on the Mountain as one of the beloved children in The Waltons.

Her accounts stirred my heart, bringing to life the young acress' experiences, both delightful and heartbreaking. Through dispelling myths, sharing insecurities and recounting all the good times and gags (mostly by John Boy--my favorite was the foaming mouth scene in the middle of church) from the Walton's set, McDonough's memoirs are touching in true-to-life fashion. She offers the reader a real treat, an inside look into these fond memories, leaving us understanding a little more about the characters and crew that made up The Waltons.

As her endearing innocence faded into insecurities and struggles with self-worth, Mary searched to find herself. Her days were filled with sets and wardrobes, stylists and media scrutiny, bullies and blunders. Lost in an imaginary world where time stood still, she was always seen as the cute kid with freckles through the world's television screen and though the show must always go on, she secretly struggled behind her character's persona. This book shines a bright light on the realities that Mary faced as a child actor and surprisingly, her experiences were often times heartbreaking.

As those around her helped her carve out a new and victorious path, she began to find herself among the not-so glitz and glam of the Hollywood she knew. Yet even as an adult, Mary's struggle with fitting in haunted her and a decision to improve her appearance nearly cost the actress her life.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By L. M Young VINE VOICE on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When she was ten years old, Mary McDonough won the role of Erin Walton in the television movie THE HOMECOMING, which later was picked up as the television series THE WALTONS. McDonough played Erin for ten years (and then in six subsequent television movies) and had an almost universal positive relationship with her television co-stars.

Unfortunately behind "Erin's" sweet public smile there lay an actual person who was beset by doubts, from childish fears to troubling teenage worries about her body and appearance. As an adult, she opted for breast implants to help her have a more positive body image and boost her career. Instead, it was just the beginning of massive health problems that endangered her life and her care of her daughter.

McDonough writes in a stream-of-consciousness style that may bother people who prefer more traditional narratives. As a WALTONS fan I enjoyed her memories of the series, and I was dismayed at the negative effect the implants had on her later life. I personally believe breast implants for cosmetic reasons are ridiculous and unnecessary, and felt bad that McDonough so disliked herself that she would opt for this "solution" to her image problems. It is yet another sign of the unrealistic ideas we have given to young women for years, that somehow having big breasts will make them feel "more womanly" and solve their problems. I wish her a brighter and healthier future.

Please note that this is not simply a memoir of McDonough's time on THE WALTONS. Several reviewers seemed disappointed that this was not the book's only focus. McDonough uses the word "mountain" to not only refer to the series' setting, but to the "mountains" she faced in growing up and with her illness.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Elaine L. Klonicki on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've met Mary McDonough several times and she is a storyteller, no doubt. But when I was reading her book "Lessons from the Mountain," I found it difficult to juxtapose that affable redheaded Irishwoman with the difficult life she has led. Not that she didn't have any fun--she had plenty, especially with Grandpa Walton (Will Geer) and crew and many other recognizable figures in Hollywood. But from her overly-strict Catholic upbringing, to her role as a child actor, for which she was wholly unprepared, she was almost set up to experience the self-doubt, perfectionism, and body image issues which plagued her through so much of her young life. Add to that the tragic circumstances surrounding her breast implants, which eventually ruptured, and her resulting ten-year illness before she discovered the cause and had the implants removed, and it feels like enough to break anyone. Yet Mary has an incredible spirit that just won't let her give up. She went on to act again, direct, advocate for women, testify before the FDA, and pen her first book.

Minus the scandals so de rigueur in celebrity memoirs these days, there is still plenty in "Lessons" to entertain, surprise, and inspire you from start to finish. For all that she's tried to shake that "girl next door" image at times, in fact, Mary kind of IS the girl next door. The sweet one, who's much tougher than she looks. Her book is well worth the read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Boyd on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first saw this book offered, I knew I'd be instantly ordering it. For years I've been calling "The Waltons" the greatest TV series of all time. The love and warmth one would feel watching an episode found its way into our hearts. They were my "other" family. Will Geer's "Grandpa Zeb" was a wise old man who taught us something with every line he was ever given. Ellen Corby's "Grandma" was stern but very loving. What Mary has given us with her book is an inside look at the relationships they developed over the years. Her stories about specific characters and actors is quite revealing. Mary assures us that, despite what one might expect, their life as young actors wasn't as glamorous as one might have thought. She also reveals the occasional trauma that certainly was to come about as a child grew into a lovely woman. Back lot stories of her fellow actors was refreshing and entertaining. I thank Mary for caring enough to share all this with us.
I have each season on DVD and never tire from watching them. Memories abound. Friends would come over and we'd watch The Waltons, followed by Kung Fu... which is a close "second" in my favorites category. What a night of TV!!
Thanks, Mary, for a wonderful book of your own memories, being on set. I'll finish by relating how she and the other young actors would wander over to the Kung Fu set and hang out - becoming friends with the young actor who was portraying Kwai Chang Cain as a youngster.
Mary never lost sight of how fortunate she was to have that role. She said Will Geer assured them that this would be the "best gig" they'd ever have as an actor. She soon realized how true that was.
If you're a fan, get Mary's book - you won't be able to put it down.

Goodnight, Erin.
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