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Spencer's Mountain

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
The classic novel that inspired the television series "The Waltons," read by the series' star.
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1962)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 22, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A re-read of a classic novel, now that I have seen the 1963 classic film. Please enjoy the review I originally posted during my first read-through of this book:

Earl Hamner Jr. invites readers to take a trip back to the 1930s and explore the Blue Ridge Mountains in rural Virginia, where the Spencers have lived for generations. Clay and Olivia are trying to raise a family the best they can, helped by the eldest, Clay-Boy, and the strong-willed community. As the story progresses, the narrative take
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Thank god for OhioLink. *grabby hands* The Waltons is my favorite.

Kathy Ferrell
Nov 19, 2012 Kathy Ferrell rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read. I read it years ago, and I remember most clearly the youngest child, a girl named Patty-Cake (the basis for Elizabeth on the tv series "The Waltons") shocking her family at the dinner table by saying, "Damn, damn, double-damn, triple damn, HELL!".

She learned it from Daddy, naturally. It was fun to read a more frank depiction of Hamner's life. Like "Little House on the Prairie", the books are much more honest and interesting than those squeaky-clean, extra-nice televis
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 John Yelverton rated it really liked it
A really enjoyed the book, but it was definitely NOT "The Waltons" and it certainly isn't for any age group either.
May 30, 2014 Don rated it really liked it
My motivation for reading "Spencer's Mountain" had to do with the author, Earl Hamner Jr., whose name became familiar to me as the result of the TV series "The Waltons." I must admit that I loved the show even though most of my friends questioned my sanity as a result. Recently, I had an opportunity to view many of the episodes again and was happy to discover that they stand the test of time. The TV series was so well written that I felt like each and every Walton was a member of my extended fam ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Charles rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
I read it before it became what "The Waltons" was based on. Pretty good.
Nov 18, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
I love this book, I will have to try to find another copy of it. I grew up on The Waltons TV show, but originally it all began with The Homecoming to watch during Christmas. I always wanted to be part of a large family, who were self sufficient and Christians. I loved all the characters, from the youngest child, Elizabeth, to the oldest John-boy (as known on TV or Clay-boy in Spenser's Mountain.)
Jennifer Nelson
Oct 28, 2009 Jennifer Nelson rated it did not like it
Shelves: the-book-dump
Claris ruined this book for me.

I didn't find her a very believable character and didn't like the influence she had on Clay-boy.

I'll agree with another reviewer that I didn't like how this book presents pre-marital sex in a somewhat nonchalant manner.

Otherwise, I loved the all of the other characters in this book, thought the writing was awesome, and was very sad to put it down 3/4 through.
Mar 08, 2009 Bekah rated it really liked it
I laughed a ton while reading this book! Would have given it a 5 except for how premarital immorality was treated as "to be expected from young people" provided that the girl didn't end up pregnant. This occurs at the end of the book.
Chelsea Hagen
Jun 16, 2016 Chelsea Hagen rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I wish I could own a copy. I like that it was like the Walton's. It was funny because Clay boy or John boy was not the innocent boy you watch on the TV show. The book was much more realistic. I really enjoyed the descriptive writing.
Oct 24, 2007 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The TV series "The Walton's" was based on this book.
Feb 01, 2017 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed
I really enjoyed it, but I can see how some may criticize it as too corny. That is not a problem with me
Jan 02, 2017 WaferBiscuits rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
An incredibly enjoyable classic, this is a quick read that's perfect for lovers of fiction on post-depression rural America. Some parts for the modern reader are bit unpalatable (the character of Claris being the main offender here) but that can be overlooked for the quality of the work overall.
Oct 16, 2013 Dulci rated it it was ok
I am very puzzled by the readers who have rated this book with 5 stars. Now, it certainly has well-written descriptions of rural Virginia and good character development (though I can't quite determine how much of this is the book and how much should actually be credited to the TV series), but it is truly not 5-star 'amazing'. I had to stretch a little just to give it 3 stars. To each his own, I suppose.

That being said, there are several aspects of this book I really enjoyed. I liked seeing a mor
Michele bookloverforever
I read it when the series came out...
carl  theaker
Oct 31, 2012 carl theaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fancy-fiction

Spencer's Mountain is a slice of literary Americana, good old folks
living in the mountainous country side of Virginia in the 1930s, which
might as well be the moon as far as their knowledge, or interest, of
the outside world goes.

This family of 11, and growing, is a great example for any one
who dreams of distancing themselves from the modern world and
'get back to the basics'. Life is a lot of work, making and cleaning
up for meals is a full time task.

In this large cast of characters is the prota
Nov 11, 2015 kelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, fiction, 2015
I am a fan of "The Walton's" a television series made in the 1970's. The series was based on this book so I thought it would be fun to read it. I liked learning about the Clay Spencer family that lived in the hills of Virginia. Clay Spencer works at the local mill. I was a little confused because I don't understand the industry, but the main industry was cutting rock out of quarry's on the mountain. I'm not sure how a mill ties in. Clay Spencer had 9 brother's that had sold their portion of the ...more
Sep 07, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
Most people know what this book is about, by watching the TV series, "Walton's Mountain". The movie version, starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara which was made in 1963, follows this book pretty closely. I really enjoyed reading this, and following the character of Clay-Boy, who was based on the author Earl Hamner. This story follows Clay-Boy's attempt to get into a college, which would be the first for any of the Spencer family. Times were very tough in the 1930's depression, and everything ...more
Jan 04, 2016 John rated it really liked it
The 70's generations know The Waltons but few of us know the prototype, Clayboy Spencer, as first told by Hamner. The Waltons, of course, is the made for television version of Spencer's Mountain. This prototype novel is more salty, without being graphic; more home spun without cloying.

While The Waltons is more Mayberry meets the Love Boat. The emotion of Spencer's Mountain definitely feels like a real novel. A difference, for starters, is the main character. Clayboy has a hormonal balance missi
Julie Barrett
Jun 24, 2014 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hammer Jr.
Recalled the author's name from the creator of The Waltons.
Foothills in the VA mountain as the eldest boy is leaving to go to college-very similar to the Walton's. you will see the resemblances.
At the family house the whole crew of 9 sons gathered the day before Thanksgiving. The day they would all go hunt a deer.
The mill had closed but Uncle Virgil had a job in the city. Clay boy looked up to him for everything!
Love the legend of the white deer and the one w
J.E. Lowder
Sep 21, 2011 J.E. Lowder rated it really liked it
OK, so I admit, I was a big Waltons fan growing up. And the narrator of the show (along with the main writer) was Earl Hamner. Being a Virginian, I became a follower of this writer as a teen and still love the warmth of his stories.

I purchased Spencer's Mountain years ago and was delighted to find the book full of the characters from the TV series, as well as being true to the movie of the same name. In the book, Clay-boy is our hero who is beginning his "coming of age" journey through hunting/f
Jul 30, 2014 Wes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I returned to the Waltons television show a few years ago with my own kids, and I read this thinking it would be similar. It is, of course, but it seemed to me more like I was reading the novel that John Boy was always working on in the show. I enjoyed it. Having been to Schuyler, Virginia, it was easy to picture in my mind the locations Hamner describes in the novel, and it feels more autobiographical than the Walton's television series. The novel focuses more on the father and Clay Boy than it ...more
Apr 27, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
When I read that the author recently passed away, it brought to mind this lovely book which holds a special place in my heart. It was the first book taken out of our little library branch on my "yellow" card! When a patron turned 12 years old, the "pink" children's card became a "yellow" adult card. This was way before "The Waltons" tv show or any movies made from the book. It's a coming of age story taking place in rural Virginia...and told in a lovingly old fashioned way. Although rereading it ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this many, many years ago. I was also a fan of The Waltons. The funny thing is I read it so long before the show that I didn't make the connection. I think I prefer the book now that it has fallen into place in my head :). Hammer does a good job. Clay is a different character than John Walton. He is an enigma to me. I don't really know what to think about him. I like works that challenge my thinking. This is a good read.
Jan 21, 2008 Eve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens, adults
Hearwarming and beautifully written. The story of the Spencer family is touching, and quintessentially American. This is the original story that was the basis for "The Waltons" television show of the 1970s. The book isn't as sappy as the show (although I loved it at the time). Earl Hamner is an incredible author and weaves the story with his use of colorful language and description. The characters are fully developed, and Clay-boy Spencer is heroic but very human.
Dec 22, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars. I must be on a kick of reading books on which TV shows are based. Hamner's novel was, of course, the inspiration for "The Waltons," which I loved as a kid growing up in the '70s. To me, the best thing about this book was its positive portrayal of marriage and of a family who loved and took care of each other. And what's not to love about a family of redheads? Claris, though, needed a good slap, and I simply can't understand why Clay-Boy fell for her.
Taylor Elwood
Aug 26, 2013 Taylor Elwood rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Would recommend it to anyone. Very good story about coming of age poor in a big family. I see the resemblance between the Walton's but the mental images I got weren't Walton's mountain. If you go in not expecting the Walton's you'll be good (: there are definitely some not so Walton's moments. Fantastic book though. Loved every minute of it and was very sad when it ended. I read it aloud to my dad and he also loved it
I've seen the movie version of Spencer's Mountain and, of course, The Waltons TV series and in some ways liked the TV show better. The characters and storylines were more fully developed. The Spencer men are really rascals in the book and were fun to read about but Clay-boy's friend Claris seemed out of place. The book is written in a very simple style for children and young adults I guess.
Feb 12, 2016 Cricket rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story

I could see The Waltons in this book. Good book for all ages from ones old enough cuss to 94 years old. We just got done reading it to my mother in law who is 94 years old. She is blind and has dementia but loved the story and laughed so hard at times. I could see episodes of The Waltons in some of the chapters. So glad we read it.
Sep 16, 2009 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable book pattered after "The Waltons".

I loved the character of the Dad - such a good neighbor but never went to church. Then, to correct what he had done to the preacher, he conned all the church members back to church by threatening to charge them for his repairs if they were not there.

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Earl Henry Hamner Jr. (born July 10, 1923 in Schuyler, Virginia), was an American television writer and producer (sometimes credited as Earl Hamner), best known for his work in the 1970s and 1980s on the long-running CBS series The Waltons and Falcon Crest. As a novelist, he was best known for Spencer’s Mountain, which was inspired by his own childhood and formed the basis for both the film of the ...more
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