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Life Is Just What You Make It: The Autobiography

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  432 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
a revealing, candid and honest autobiography by the much loved singer, personality and former member of the Osmonds. Essential for any fan. (bio)
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published 2005 by Orion (first published June 9th 1999)
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Jan 03, 2015 Em rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay-collection
Donny Osmond's bio (with a helper writer P. Romanowski) was my guilty pleasure I bought for myself my last birthday. I picked it up with three other books so it wouldn't look like an important purchase. That as I started it last weekend and quickly devoured the first four chapters and found the copy I had was missing about 30 pages, so I had to go and exchange it. I was a huge fan of the Osmonds, bought all their albums, bought a special purple dress to wear to see them in concert, had their pic ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Helynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in July 1999, my husband and I stood in line for more than an hour at the ZCMI Center in Salt Lake City so we could meet Donny Osmond at Deseret Book and buy an autographed copy of his story. Donny was a nice guy, and we were happy to have the book, but never thought much about reading it in detail (there were a lot of fun pictures to look at in the book, after all) until a few weeks later when we took a long road trip with our two adolescent kids. It was great fun to read this book aloud ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Change your name. Your name is poison," advised Michael Jackson when Donny Osmond was trying to forge an adult singing career in 1983. Osmond's name was not always a punch line. At the age of five, he joined his four older siblings as the pop group The Osmonds. Barely in his teens, Donny became a solo artist, cutting more than 20 gold records by the mid-'70s. From 1976 to 1979, he and his sister starred in the popular, campy TV variety series The Donny & Marie Show. But his toothy, wholesom ...more
Ann Agent
Jun 10, 2008 Ann Agent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love biographies and this one is an exception. It was great to take a look into his feelings of events, most of which we knew about, some of which you learn about for the first time.

My favorite part is Part 2 in the revised edition. I feel that extra section especially the acknowledgements (the last sentence) is a MUST READ! Amen!
Apr 09, 2010 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donny Osmond’s autobiography, Life is Just What You Make It, is a journey-like story about a teen idol’s rising to fame and suddenly becoming yesterday’s news. In the book, he describes the wonderfulness and hardships of being a young, Mormon heartthrob during most of the 1970s decade. He describes his warm beginnings (accompanied by 4 of his brothers, Merrill, Jay, Wayne, and Alan.) with great detail, (taking place in the mid-60’s) and shares the 411 of the music industry, exposing techniques ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
I'm an Osmond fan. I reread this book recently and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Donny shares his life and his career experiences. He's honest and forthright: at times his recollections are heart-breaking. The Osmonds went through some incredible successes and just as incredible losses. As Donny talks about trying to find himself as an entertainer and the humiliations he endured, your heart just breaks for him. As he finds his comeback and transitions to his successful theater caree ...more
♞ Pat Gent
I was the "target audience" for the Osmond Brothers, and I have always appreciated their musical efforts and amazing blend of vocal harmonies. I wan't a particular Donny fan, but I picked this up for an "autobiography challenge" and I have to say it was a pleasant surprise.

Donny writes with humor and grace about his life - no sugar coating here about what it was like to grow up with a strong disciplinary father and the youngest member of "the group." He talks honestly about his "lost years," an
May 02, 2009 LuAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'll admit this has been on my bookshelf for years, unread. Hey! I thought I knew everything that was in it already, so reading the book wasn't a high priority. But now that I'm working on a book with Donny's brother Alan, I decided it was time to finally give it a read. And I'm glad I did. It's funny, poignant, and gives me much more insight to the man I thought I already knew. Of course, I'd heard some of the stories, and it was fun to see how many of these events I had actually been there for ...more
Feb 08, 2009 Rosieontheroad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I enjoyed reading this book. I was surprised at the challenges Donny Osmond faced growing up and performing as part of his famous family. He discusses his insecurities in dealing with fame, including the panic attacks he would feel from worrying about being the perfect performer and the perfect person. He shares how his wife and a therapist helped him to overcome this social phobia. Did you know that Donny wore purple socks not only because he like the color, but because he would be physically u ...more
While this book was enjoyable to a point, I have to give it only 2 stars. I was a Donny Osmond fan as a child, and watched the Donny & Marie show faithfully as a teen. While I didn't expect a Donny Osmond "tell all" book, I was a bit annoyed at the way he constantly made excuses for bad behavior on everyone's part: his family; his fans; and various people in the business. I know that he is a genuinely nice guy, and I didn't expect him to really bash anybody, but the continual excusing got to ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Donny Osmond fan so I am somewhat biased, but I have to say that his life has been really, really interesting so far. I knew he was a perfectionist, but I had no idea to what extent and how that drove him to near madness. I could totally relate to the things he described and I was also thoroughly entertained by his stories of show business as well as those of his family - from his 8 show biz brothers and sisters to his own supportive and understanding family today. He's done so much ...more
Nov 10, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good. I have a whole new respect for Donny Osmond. What an unusual upbringing. It would truly be difficult to be a child star and he has gone through some really difficult things. Most of all, just never living a "normal" life. He has dealt with extreme cases of rejection, but kept on moving forward and had a truly long "showbiz" career. Here are some quotes from the book I liked: "We do not display my gold records or other commendations in our home, because we feel that hom ...more
A fun feather-light read for those of us who adored Donny and his brothers in the '70's. Donny tells his own story the way he saw it and, we shouldn't be surprised, it's a bit sugar-coated. The extent of his sheltered showbiz life is revealed in his naive albeit good-hearted views of people and life in general. His image has always been that of a sweet young man, now a sweet grown man, and that's okay. That's why we love him. We should all strive to follow his example and try to see the best in ...more
Doris Raines
Apr 13, 2016 Doris Raines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doris-shelf
I. Like. This. Book. In. One. Word. You. Are. So. Right. Donny. One. Bad. Apple. Dont. Spoil. The. Hold. Bunch.
Julie Jacoway
I think sometimes you expose yourself too much. Yeah, I liked him better before I read the book.
Jun 01, 2015 Robyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love Donny Osmond. He never should have endured some of the cruelties that he did.
Winter Sophia Rose
A Beautiful Touching Book!
Jul 02, 2014 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say...I'm a fan
Dec 02, 2009 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in reading this because of what I had heard about Donny's struggles with anxiety and perfectionism. Plus I've been a fan ever since hearing the soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. (that voice = crush). It was mostly a straightforward account of his life; and he and his family impressively stayed rather wholesome throughout their careers, so not too too much drama, but definitely some. I didn't even realize that he won Dancing With The Stars! Go him!!
Feb 13, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donny is very close to my age, so I grew up hearing about him. I wasn't much of a fan as a teenager, but I do love his Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat album. It was very interesting to learn more about him--he is a man who has kept his feet on the ground, maintained a long and faithful marriage and seems happy with his life--good for him. I admire he would openly admit his life is not perfect, but with the support of others, he has found a way to make it work.
Lisa Gregor
This is my second read - I’m a huge Donny fan! This book really humanizes Donny, showing there’s a lot more behind that great smile than just an iconic pop star. He successfully relays his anxieties and feelings about growing up in the limelight and his struggles with maintaining (and regaining) a successful career, while at the same time, keeping his morals and strong family upbringing in tact. An honest account of his life, this book is a must read for Osmond fans.
Apr 10, 2010 Nyla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donny's Story was intriguing. It was filled with names of people and songs I'm clueless about. He could have left out many of the names and it would have been just as interesting. I've been indifferent about the Osmond Family but have been curious about how they lived in show business and still maintained their LDS beliefs. It answered a lot of my questions. I came away with some admiration for Donny and the challenges he's faced while still maintaining his faith.
Aug 11, 2011 Jeannie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Besides being a great read that took me back to the sixties and seventies,this is a great book filled with real life lessons that we can all relate to. I wouldn't want to experience Donny's particular heartaches and rough roads, but I am more than happy to learn from his experience. It took a lot of courage to publish a book as personal as this one is. Donny leaves no doubt in the reader's mind as to who he really is and what he believes is most important in this life.

A friend and I have this friendly bantering about who is better - Donny Osmond or Neil Diamond. (Does that age us, or what?) Anyway, I pulled this book off the shelf at the library and thought I would catch up on what has happened in Donny's life since the Donny & Marie days and the fall of the Osmond empire. Interesting, sad, funny. . .times where you could read between the lines to see what he 'really' was saying. All in all, okay book, but Neil still sings better. haha
Sep 26, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look into what it was like to grow up as a "one take Osmond." I read this because I was interested in his take on social phobia (and as a psychologist, have to give props to him for his honesty about his therapy, as well as him giving a shout out to his therapist!) but it contained some very interesting tidbits of trivia and behind the scenes info. Fans of Donny Osmond will eat this up, but I think even non-fans will find it interesting.
Jan 22, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started off not knowing if I'd really like this book but I ended up not being able to put it down. I liked the honesty of all the ups and downs Donny has gone through and the ultimate optimistic attitude the book ended on. I'm glad I took the opportunity to read it!
Feb 06, 2011 Vonnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love a good biography, but this was just okay. He is a nice guy living in the tough world of stardom, maintaining LDS standards. The question I still have is...did the church really ask him not to go on a mission. I have heard the same about David Archuletta and have always wondered if that is Mormon myth. Donny talks about his sons serving missions, but nothing about his reasons for not. I am still curious about that.
Jan 04, 2010 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I didn't know that Osmond story and I found this very informative and gave me a better perspective on Donny and his family. I think they are a great family. I have more compassion for the Osmonds in general and the struggles they've been through. It's funny that I learned so much from this book having grown up around them all and their studio, Osmond Lane, Marie being in our ward, etc.
Sep 29, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Donny so of course this book rocked! It was very interesting to read of all of his trials and tribulations. The only thing that makes me sad for him is having to be perfect...he is perfect in every way to his fans!!! I think since he has let down his guard...he has become even better if that is even possible. Its simply amazing to see and witness all he has done in his lifetime!
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