Thursday, January 29, 2009

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

book coverFridays from 1969-1974, I watched America’s most wholesome stepfamily come together and merge, weathering the adolescent storms of braces, lost Kitty Carryall dolls, and battles for the coveted attic room. When you hear “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!”; “pork chops and applesauce"; “Baton Rouge!”; and “Oh! My nose!”and you immediately think of the Bradys, then you were watching right along with me.

In 1992 Barry Williams a.k.a. Greg Brady wrote Growing Up Brady, a very funny, self-deprecating look at his years on the set of The Brady Bunch. Maureen McCormick a.k.a. Marcia Brady just published Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, a brutally honest memoir of her life before and after The Brady Bunch.

Unlike the Bradys, Maureen's home life was anything but idyllic. Her grandfather gave his wife syphilis, and she passed the disease to Maureen's mother at birth. It was a shameful secret all through her mother's life, and was the cause of her mother's agoraphobia and compulsive hoarding. The McCormick home was always filled with so much clutter that they were ashamed to invite people over.

The All-American girl with the beaming smile and golden locks, Marcia was the envy of young girls all over the country. But the confident boy-magnet Marcia Brady was far removed from the self-conscious Maureen McCormick. Maureen was plagued with negative body images, and she spent the Brady shoot in Hawaii hiding behind beach towels to cover her "flabby" stomach. When shooting began each season, she would size up Eve Plumb's bosom, jealous that Eve might blossom before she did. From age 17 through her twenties, Maureen battled with bulimia in an effort to control her weight.

After The Brady Bunch was cancelled, Maureen found it hard to shake Marcia loose, and she had trouble finding work as an actor. She started abusing drugs and could barely handle what little work she was getting. She had two unplanned pregnancies that ended in abortion. High on cocaine, she blew an interview with Steven Spielberg, who was casting the leading lady for Raiders of the Lost Ark. She went on a date with Steve Martin, but she blew that too when she was too stoned to react to his jokes.

This is one of those reads that I was able to finish in two days. I think it's because I enjoyed the nostalgia of a favorite childhood TV show, but I also appreciated the frank way Maureen admitted to her mistakes and revealed her flaws in an effort to heal herself.

Our beloved Marcia Brady is now 52-year-old and enjoys the support of her husband of 23 years and her 19-year-old daughter.

Six good reasons why The Brady Bunch Variety Hour bombed in 1977:

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