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Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  248 ratings  ·  68 reviews
For millions of people around the world, Carol Brady is synonymous with motherhood, but growing up as the youngest of ten children in rural Indiana in the aftermath of the Great Depression, Florence Henderson lived a life quite different from that of the quintessential TV mom she later played on television.
Florence's father was a dirt-poor tobacco tenant farmer who was ne
Hardcover, Large Print, 416 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2011)
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I picked this book up mostly to read about Florence Henderson's experience with The Brady Bunch. For the most part I enjoyed reading about her personal and professional life before and beyond. I thought it was a decently written biography. There were things that bothered me. From the Introduction she called herself a victim and I felt like she had a "victim" mentality. Several times she blamed choices that she made later in her life on the "abuses" she endured as a child. First, I'm a firm belie ...more
Jennifer Wilson
I picked up this book because The Brady Bunch is one of my favorite TV shows. I thought I would skim those parts, look at the photos and that's it. But no! The book was so good from start to finish -- with Florence explaining how her rough childhood impacted her as an adult, balancing motherhood (with 4 kids), a marriage and working, and sharing inspiring things about her Catholic faith. This is one of the best autobiographies I've read in a long time.
Really fun and interesting. I had a very distinct image of who Florence Henderson was in my mind and in certain ways I was absolutely right but in many I was completely off. This is a fast read and very well written (although sometimes the time line is a little hard to follow) and completely enjoyable. I read an advance copy- it will be out in September. I recommend if you are at all a fan.
Dec 01, 2011 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children of the 60s and 70s
Recommended to Mike by: found at the store
Many of us equate Florence Henderson with Carol Brady...the mother of a blended family from the Brady Bunch....but did you know she has also done other television, Broadway productions, and even has sung? All that and more....

Her autobiography is a decent seems she puts more emphasis on the beginning of her life and how she got into show business eventually getting the roles in different plays and untimately getting role of the matriarch of the Brady clan...but there is so much more.
Penny Peck
Henderson's early life was tragic, but she is not. In this frank and fun memoir, she describes the dire poverty in which she was raised, but dwells more on the people who helped her get out of her rural town and into a successful stage and TV career. Parts of her story serve as a lesson on breaking into the Broadway theatre scene, and working in early live TV. Sometimes she can get a little too philosophical for some of us, because she is a licensed hypnotherapist, but she doesn't over do that a ...more
Alona Perlin
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it wasn't an account of Florence's painful childhood, it was a relfection of her life as an adult, forging in her career and her personal life, despite some personal obstacles!

This book is a testament to faith, courage and perseverance in breaking free from your emotional troubles. I really enjoyed reading about Florence's life. It was honest and inspiring. It wasn't a typical "rags to riches", stardom autobiography!
Florence Henderson is quite a person and since her young years has always been an uplifting and vibrant person. The book was very interesting. Biographies are interesting in that they give me a perspective into how I lacked something or how I may incorporate something good into my life. On the other hand some biographies teach you how not to be the ungrateful living dead, like "Hitler". Hooray for those who help themselves and try to uplift others with them.
I liked it very much. It was written with a clear, comfortable style that made me want to finish it. I originally planned to just read the "Brady Bunch" parts but got hooked by her hard working Midwest demeanor and was glad that she didn't spend more time than was necessary on that part of her life and career. An interesting book about an interesting woman.
I have occasionally seen a Brady Bunch episode here or there back when it was rerun in the 1980s. I honestly paid more attention to Florence Henderson during more recent interviews on The Today Show or other talk shows.
In her memoir, Henderson writes about her tumultuous childhood, her life on Broadway, and her television experiences. I enjoyed her dip into hypnotism and varying relationships.
This mother of four has accomplished so much and has inspired all of us to always change, grow, and tr
There's more to Florence Henderson than Mrs. Brady, and she doesn't pull any punches in this autobiography.
Bonni Sweet
There is more to Florence Henderson than being Carol Brady or The Wesson Oil Lady. I had no idea that she came from such an abusive background or that she was such a "drive on" kind of gal. She doesn't seem to make you want to feel sorry for her but she does share what she went through in her life as if it were not a big deal. Almost as if it were normal. She describes the bad but at the same time tries to keep going with her "go to" attitude which is maybe what has made her so successful. The i ...more
Being a true fan of anything Brady, I was captivated by this book cover while at the library. I was inspired by Florence's gumption, perseverance and determination to rise above her troubled childhood to pursue her dream of singing and dancing, despite the many challenges and pressures that these dreams entailed. I appreciated the forthright way in which she addressed her mistakes of her past and their consequences and how she reflected on the lessons learned. She is an amazingly optimistic pers ...more
I will readily admit that I knew Florence Henderson from her iconic role as Carol Brady and nothing else. I certainly had no clue she had such an astounding career both before and after The Brady Bunch!

I realized pretty quickly that Florence's life was interesting in its own right, and since I knew nothing about her, every revelation was a surprise. She seems like a good person and admits her own shortcomings and faults with what seems like genuine insight.

I went into this book expecting a ton
Holly Weiss
Article first published on

Florence Henderson, best known for her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch opens up about the challenges of her life. Her childhood, stage fright, divorce, and hearing loss are but a few highlights. Her memoir, Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond is co-authored with Joel Brokaw. Her ability to survive despite setbacks shines throughout the book. She notes that her memoir is written, “as a natural consequence of for
Does anyone really see the person behind the movie star? Florence Henderson was iconic in her T.V. show years, but how many people actually knew her as Florence rather than, say, Carol Brady? She has a very diverse and complicated background.

The reader will get to read a little about her mother and father, how different they were and the problems Florence faced as a young child. She endured abuse and abandonment...described with a fair amount of detail in the book. The reader will immediately l
This isn't a book a normally would have picked up on my own. But since I won a copy of the book, I was quite excited to read it. Not completely knowing what to expect this it, I wound up really pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting to read quite a bit more about life filming The Brady Bunch, but now that I've read Florence's story I understand it. There are really only a chapter or two about the show, which really doesn't seem like a lot considering that's want she's know for. But what I had no i
I was a Brady Bunch fan so that was what drew my attention to the book. Henderson does touch on the series in one chapter, but it is treated as just a tiny portion of the book, just as the series was a tiny portion of her life. She candidly discusses growing up in poverty in a dysfunctional family and through hard work and determination made it to the spotlight. Henderson writes of her family, friends, faith and her path to fame in an open, honest way. It is a quick and entertaining read, and fo ...more
I really enjoyed reading Florence Henderson's memoir--there is so much more to her career than just being a cast member of The Brady Bunch and The Surreal Life. Henderson has a wonderful, if not also heartbreaking life story, and I loved finding out things I never knew about her like she was real-life friends with Julie Andrews, and how she got to met and perform for the real Maria von Trapp. Henderson was even the original Today show girl, whom Barbara Walters eventually replaced.

My only criti
I didn't grow up on the Brady Bunch like many who picked this book up. I don't remember seeing episodes of the show until my teens when I wasn't exactly the target audience, so my reason for picking up the book wasn't the same as most. I found it for $1 at a remainder store and figured it would be a light read and I would learn something about this iconic TV mother. I did indeed learn about her as I really knew nothing about her career except Brady Bunch. However, as usual with celebrity penned ...more
This autobiography begins with the challenging childhood of Florence Henderson, better known to many as Mrs. Brady. Poverty and an alcoholic parent actually created a sense of humor and determination in Florence. Her life-long struggles make her seem so human and real to the reader. Fun to read little known facts about other celebrities which are woven into her story. I had no idea how awful her circumstances were! The writing style is sometimes difficult to follow, as the topics skip around and ...more
Seminole County Public Library
(submitted in the Summer Reading Grand Prize Drawing at the East Branch - chosen as a staff favorite)

Florence Henderson’s persona as a “nice person” as the mother on the TV series, The Brady Bunch certainly is a carry-over from the real person. Her autobiography details her life as the youngest of ten children growing up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky. Her natural gift of a good singing voice opened doors that any singer today would envy. You can almost say she started at the “top” at age 17, whe
Maybe this book deserves 2 1/2 or 3 stars... I bought it as a 'light read' on my iPhone on a plane flight. I grew up with the Brady Bunch and knew that Florence Henderson had done many things in addition to that show, so I thought it would be interesting to know more about her life. It was somewhat interesting, but unfortunately, it was also poorly written. So much of it seemed to 'skim over the surface' with little explanation or insight, but written as if the reader knew all about the circumst ...more
I have always liked Florence Henderson and I know she has a reputation for being quite witty off-screen. I have roots in Broadway, I'm a television addict, and I love autobiographies - so for all of these reasons I was looking forward to reading this book. Much to my surprise, I found most of it boring. The most interesting part to me was her husband John. I thought his work was fascinating. I think her work was probably fascinating too, but that didn't come across at all. Many of the events she ...more
I feel kind of bad only giving this two stars - there were many interesting (and some funny) things that happened in Florence Henderson's life, and there were some good learning points for me ("the show must go on" meant that she continued working even while seriously ill - I never really thought about celebrities calling in sick ... or not being able to). But the main problem I had with the book was even up to the very end, I could not warm up to the writing style. I was annoyed in parts (I'd s ...more
It was nice to hear this book read by the author. I admired her for overcoming a lot of challenges in her childhood. She sure got around a lot. Not what you'd expect from "Mrs. Brady".
I wish I could give this 2 and a half stars. It's a quick read but very bland. It's not that there isn't a lot of dirt that made this a somewhat uninteresting read, just that the way the information was presented wasn't interesting. Ms. Henderson grew up dirt-poor, enduring a mother who deserted the family and an alcoholic father who was abusive. As an adult, she suffered from post-partum depression and ended her first marriage. She has led an interesting professional life with roles on Broadway ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Like many who grew up watching the Brady Bunch and Wesson Oil commercials, I had no idea that Florence Henderson has had such a long career. I learned that she started on Broadway and was the original Today Show girl and that she came from an alcoholic, impoverished home. Florence talks about abuse, postpartum depression, her father's alcoholism, her mother's abandonment, divorce and affairs. But, I found her memoir straightforward and easy to read and she shares her story with a refreshing hone ...more
I had no idea her life was so challenging and her skill set so varied.
Florence Henderson became a household name with the TV series "The Brady Bunch", but did you know that she was an entertainer many years before and after that show?

This memoir allows the reader to get to know and appreciate the woman behind the entertainer/star. She tells about her childhood, her challenges, abuse, and so much more. She becomes human and a woman that shines through all the challenges she has faced.

I enjoyed this book and found it to be well written and very interesting. I have
I had to force myself to finish it because it was quite boring.
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Florence Henderson's Short-Cut Cooking: America's Favorite Mom Helps You Get Dinner On The Table Fast A Little Cooking, a Little Talking, and a Whole Lot of Fun One-Minute Bible Stories, New Testament One-Minute Bible Stories I Want Much More Than a Dinosaur

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