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Lessons From the Mountain

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  438 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
For nine seasons, Mary McDonough was part of one of the most beloved families in television history. Just ten years-old when she was cast as the pretty, wholesome middle child Erin, Mary grew up on the set of The Waltons, alternately embracing and rebelling against her good-girl onscreen persona. Now, as the first cast member to write about her experiences on the classic s ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published March 18th 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 703)
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Jul 02, 2014 Lorrie rated it liked it
I was (and still am) a huge Waltons fan. I don't live too far from Schuyler, Virginia, where Earl Hamner grew up. I was excited to read this book.

I was a bit disappointed. The majority of the book had nothing to do with "Walton's Mountain"; I guess I found the title of the book somewhat deceptive. I thoroughly enjoyed her commentary about the show and growing up as a child actor. Still, after 9 seasons, I felt she could have devoted more of the book to the actual show and her fellow actors and a
Oct 21, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was ok
I picked up this book, hoping to find some guilty pleasure reading about my favorite Walton girl, Erin. Unfortunately, I found the book fell well short of my expectations. McDonough gives snippets of information about her fellow castmates from The Waltons, often writing no more than a paragraph or two about her memories of each. Throughout the book, she describes her various insecurities which led to a lifetime of self-doubt. This includes several periods in her life when she contemplated suicid ...more
Apr 09, 2011 Corey rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2011
After my Mom died when I was 13 many things changed in my life, one of the most influential being that the remote was passed from my dying mother to my father. We never were the family that had multiple tvs in the household so whatever was on was what you watched or you found something else to do. In the early 90's my Dad found reruns of The Waltons on tv and every weeknight for two hours (via two different channels) I watched The Waltons. In the beginning, I'd groan and make a fuss over it. It ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Jamison rated it liked it
erin was the walton who was sort of...vague. she wasn't a tomboy. she didn't have long, fiery hair, and get into trouble. she didn't play piano. she didn't have a sink-hole on her cheek. she was just...there.

the actress who played her is...nice. and she thinks everyone in the cast was... nice. and she thinks her life in the future could turn out...nice.

just don't get her started on lupus. or breast implants. (never never never gonna get breast implants.)

she talks about each of the cast members,
Dec 17, 2015 Debbie rated it liked it
This autobiography is written by Mary McDonough, better know to many of us as Erin Walton. The behind the scenes information about filming the Waltons is interesting and fun. After finishing the show, Mary struggled with insecurities and depression which lead to some unpleasant consequences. Her honesty and openness about her struggles is to be admired. Sometimes the book is difficult to follow -- not always sequential and many of the people she discusses the reader may not know. Her insights ab ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Carolynne rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Mary played Erin Walton on the TV show about "The Waltons." If you enjoyed the show, you'll enjoy this. Not unexpectedly, in view of the challenges most child actors face as the become adults, she has had to face numerous difficulties, including serious complications from breast implants which have apparently affected not only her own life but that of her daughter Sydnee.
Her fight to make manufacturers of implants accountable for their products is moving and inspiring.
Jul 05, 2011 Kris rated it did not like it
After my Nellie Oelson bio delight, I thought I'd go with a Waltons bio,as I enjoyed both shows. Alas, lightning didn't strike twice.

Her anecdotes about the show were slim,and that's what I wanted. It was really more about her poor self-esteem,eating disorder and early breast implants. Oh wait - they made her sick,now it's about her crusade against something she never should have gotten in the first place. On top of that,it was poorly written.

I honestly skimmed heavily after about the 70th page
Jul 30, 2011 BJ rated it liked it
"Lessons from the Mountain" is the first book written by any of the Walton's TV show stars. Mary McDonough who played middle-sister, Erin does a good job of combining the story of her activism concerning lupus and silicone breast implants with anecdotes from her days growing up on the Walton's. She is not out to ruin any reputations of her cast members, so if you are looking for dirt, this is not the book to read! In general, she seems to have loved her fellow Walton's and still stays in touch w ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Holly rated it it was amazing
I bought the book to begin with because I like Mary. She has always been appreciative of her Waltons experience and obviously loves her co-stars but still didn't make it seem like her life was perfect just because she was on a very popular tv show. I admire her writing, her courage in being truthful and telling her story. I loved the book on its own merit because it changed me and how I look at myself and the world around me. And it did have enough Waltons references to not overwhelm the rest of ...more
Apr 28, 2016 Mediaman rated it it was ok
Shelves: autobiography, tv
This book is the kind that people who loved a TV show like The Waltons will love--it is filled with plenty of behind-the-scenes stories about the series from the childhood memory of one of the kids. However, the writing is extremely weak, the timeline jumps around to the point where she goes off on recent tangents in the middle of old stories, and the writer's liberal political/religious views unnecessarily infuse sections. Then about two-thirds of the way through, the book suddenly turns into a ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met Mary McDonough at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest where she was promoting her book. I was a huge Waltons fan and was so excited to actually get to talk to her and say "goodnight, Erin." when I left--like she hasn't heard that a million times. She was so lovely and sweet and her book is just like that. It's amazing to have seen her on the show, know about her success and learn how "insecure" she felt about so many things. I loved the first part of the book where she talked about her life on ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
As a child I was a Walton's Mountain "nut"! I wanted to live there and have a family just like Ma and Pa Walton. So I thoroughly enjoyed having a look into the "Walton Family" and the making of that television show. Mary McDonough, who played Erin, also gives a glimpse into her own life as a child actress. The book also takes a turn as Mary shares with readers her "life after the Mountain." Mary, developed lupus as an adult and was a victim of the dangers of silicone breast implants and has spen ...more
Edwin Martin
Aug 26, 2014 Edwin Martin rated it liked it
I went to the library Monday before 11am, and by closing time at 5pm, I had read the last 80-90% of this book, so I'm saying I finished it. Only part I didn't read was the part before she was cast to play Erin Walton at age 10 in THE HOMECOMING.

Nice nostalgic look back at the best true American family TV show ever made. Best because it's realistic in both the mother and father characters. And Grandparents as well. If you didn't grow up with this show (I'm only 6 months older than she) then it wo
Mar 25, 2014 Lorna rated it liked it
Shelves: bios
While helping a boy find a biography in the M's, I found this book. Erin Walton wrote a book - get out! You see, I AM Erin Walton! OK, not really, but I filled that role in my family. I had the older sister much like Mary Ellen and the cute little sister Elizabeth. I was the freckle-faced one in the middle. (We also had John-Boy, the eldest son, but I guess they forgot to have Jason, Ben and Jim-Bob.) So I always felt an affinity for her. It was fun to read, and unlike some other reviewers, I th ...more
Terry Coffman
Jun 13, 2011 Terry Coffman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Waltons was one of my favorite shows and I've watched many of the episodes several times, so it was interesting to read about what things were like on the Walton's set and how the actors interacted together. McDonough became an advocate for women who suffered after having breast implants since she was a victim of implants gone wrong.
Mary Lou
Jun 02, 2015 Mary Lou rated it it was ok
Lessons from the Mountain:

1. "Hollywood" can be shallow and mean. Keep your kids far away from the business, especially if they're thin-skinned.
2. Don't get breast implants.
3. Lupis sucks.
4. Don't read this book if you, like me, are annoyed when people blame things on, or give credit to, "The Universe." What does that even mean? If you believe in God, say so. If not, it's all a crapshoot. "The Universe" doesn't want anything from you. Stop it.

Ranting aside, if you're a huge Waltons fan, rea
Jul 20, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing
Very much enjoyed this memoir! It's about so much more than Mary's days on The Walton's, although I did enjoy all the little tidbits a lot.
I particularly enjoyed reading how Mary found her identity, followed her path and and ultimately, found her destiny. Highly recommend this memoir.
Julie Barrett
Dec 31, 2015 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing
lessons from the mountain by mary mcdonough , tales of background scenes while filming
different episodes of waltons mountain. all the things i learned, wow just in time for my
trip south to visit the waltons museum in a few weeks.
Feb 18, 2016 Sara rated it it was ok
I do find the oddest things in my Kindle stash, mostly gotten for free or all of 99 cents. This one is okay (yes, I watched The Waltons) but repetitive and episodic, as many Hollywood memoirs are, clearly "as told to" rather than actually written. She does hit her stride when recounting getting breast implants in her early 20's, surviving many subsequent health problems, including a lupus diagnosis, and passing on health issues to her daughter (probably caused by leaching implants while pregnant ...more
Jan 15, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Mary McDonough was just 10 years old when she was casted as Erin Walton. The Waltons was very popular TV series show. Mary tells a few behind the scenes stories and a little about her off the set relationships with a few of the cast members. She also talks about her self esteem struggles, battle with depression and how she one day decided to take a stand for herself and others and became an activist for women's body image issues. Book is a dry but good read. I like the fact she did not do a lot ...more
Jun 10, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
This book was great! I'm a long time Walton's fan and loved reading about Mary's experiences then and now.
Jan 22, 2015 Tabb rated it liked it
I just finished watching the 9 seasons of The Waltons plus all the movies so I felt I just had to read this book. I read reviews on goodreads beforehand and they made the book sound shallow, as if all she talked about was breast implant awareness etc...and yeah she does touch on that but the book was also bursting with other goodness!
I definitely got my full of behind the scenes stuff and stories of her growing up on the show. I love how she never bad mouthed any of her co stars and they all se
Apr 15, 2016 Meg rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading Mary's memoir. I learned a lot about the entertainment industry and enjoyed hearing about the closeness of the actors who played on The Walton's. Mary and I grew up very similarly as Catholics in Catholic school and even attended the same high school; though in different decades. I came to see things from an interfaith perspective much later in life and enjoyed hearing how she learned of it so young. It was a completely different perspective for her growing up on the set ...more
Summer Lane
Feb 04, 2015 Summer Lane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess being a Walton doesn't make life perfect. This is a sweet, interesting look into the life of Mary McDonough, the girl/lady who played Erin Walton on 'The Waltons.' I've been watching this show since I was a little girl, so naturally when my mom read the book I had to read it, too. I was expecting maybe a little bit more information on the actual filming experience of being on the television show, but that's just me.

Mary spends a huge portion of the book talking about how damaging her br
May 03, 2015 Annemariemcbrearty rated it liked it
Found this book a little disappointing it was nothing like I expected. I was a big fan of the show growing up and was really looking forward to a trip down memory lane. The book starts off very promising, reading about her time on the show was enjoyable but I expected a little but more, from the middle of the book I got a bit bored. She talks a lot about the problems she had with her breast implants, her fight to help other woman although commendable didn't hold my interest. It did pick up again ...more
Joanna Wilson
Oct 09, 2012 Joanna Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: tv-film-books
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to get my own personal copy of the book signed by the author last December. If you'll remember, I attended the 40th anniversary screening of the Christmas TV movie "The Homecoming" last year and I served as the moderator at that event for The Waltons cast reunion.

Waltons fans will be delighted to discover that McDonough's book is chock full of details about her experiences during the ten year run of the hit TV series. Approximately 150 of the 250 pages in t
Shari Larsen
Jan 11, 2013 Shari Larsen rated it it was amazing
Mary McDonough is best known from the TV show The Waltons; she played the part of Erin Walton for 9 seasons. I grew up watching this show, and it's still one of my favorites. I enjoyed reading about what it was like to grow up while being part of the show, and the things that happened behind the scenes.

It was not always easy being a child star; while Mary talks about the down side of the business, she is still very appreciative of the opportunities that she was given. They were all truly a famil
Aug 28, 2012 Lori rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
an almost four. I liked watching the Waltons back when they were on in the 1970s.I was a kid myself then and reading this book brings back some memories of the Waltons. Mary McDonough gave some fun accounts on her nine years as Erin Walton.she had fond memories of growing up working on that show and has nice things to say about the whole cast.she also mentions some of the other child actors she met growing up and became friends with.she also talked about the rough times growing up. her being qui ...more
Amy Lignor
Sep 16, 2011 Amy Lignor rated it liked it
For anyone (like me) who was a great fan of The Walton’s (That, and Little House kept me going throughout my grade school years), this is not only a book that will bring you back to that time, it is also a fascinating and amazing memoir of a little girl who became a part of a huge, fast-paced world.

Mary McDonough played Erin on that set – after starring in the movie The Homecoming - which came out on television and was the start of one of the most dramatic and much loved series in the history of
Jan 03, 2016 Jeannie rated it liked it
The Walton's were a part of the 70s. It is so sweet, when you catch it on repeat, you may get cavities, and McDonough, who is currently living a relatively normal life, tries to write about an important part of her life: portraying Erin Walton. At times, it feels self-indulgent and mundane; a bit of an attempt to the "remember me" middle child. None-the-less, it was a quick read with a few entertaining tales of other castmates. Here's one time when there isn't such crappy backstage drama!
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