Lessons From the Mountain
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Lessons From the Mountain

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  212 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Best known for her portrayal of Erin on TV classic "The Waltons," McDonough gives readers an intimate look behind the scenes of one of the most beloved shows of all time, and reveals an inspiring story of challenges and personal triumph.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published March 18th 2011)
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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...more
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
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,...more
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
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...more
"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
Edwin Martin
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...more
Mar 25, 2014 Lorna rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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.
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.
This book was great! I'm a long time Walton's fan and loved reading about Mary's experiences then and now.
Joanna Wilson
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...more
Shari Larsen
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...more
Aug 28, 2012 Lori rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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...more
Devika Koppikar
As a Walton fan, I had to read this book to learn about the story behind the taping of this wonderful show.

It was interesting to learn what was going on behind the scenes:

* How hard Mary tried to "cry" for the first time - during the Easter Story episode.

* What it was like to kiss Ashley Longworth and how they had to put ice in their mouths to avoid fogging up the air during the cold months.

There were also some sad behind-the-scenes stories - like when a crew member made a pass at Mary while sh...more
Christie Litchfield
My feelings were mixed on this book. There were very interesting parts and some parts that seemed to drag on. What I did take away from the book is that The Waltons brought people into her life that to this day provide great influence and friendship. Admire her honesty and willingness to discuss her issues with breast implants and Lupus.
Bonnie Krueger
I found myself skimming it rather than reading it carefully. Like many of the reviews, it seemed less about the inside look at The Waltons, and more about her insecurities, and then about her breast implants gone wrong.
Susan Wilcox
So much to love about this book! First, I really wish all the other Waltons cast members would also write memoirs. Second, I was happy to read that Jon Walmsley, who played Jason Walton, was just as kind and sweet to his fellow cast members in real life as his character Jason (who is still my favourite Walton).

Quite a lot of the book is about Ms. McDonough's post-Waltons life, which was just as interesting as the behind-the-scenes part, since I didn't know anything about what she'd done after Th...more
I liked this book predominantly because I liked the show, and was very happy that she had good memories of her time spent on it. However, the story jumped around a bit too much through the years. It wasn't always very chronological. I cut her some slack though, since this is understandable when relaying memories of childhood.

I was surprised to find out how thoughtful and sensitive Mary really is. She could be called introverted. It's not surprising that she has some inner struggles working as a...more
Chantal Shaw
A must read for any Walton fan, I found it honest, happy, sad and interesting all in one. Love The Walton's!
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
I loved the Waltons but I had a hard time with the book. I thought her style was circular and hard to get into.
I had a really hard time finishing this book. I felt it needed some heavy editing. There is no flow to her story; the book is divided into chapters and then random sections. There's a lot of repetition, everyone she names is "nice" and she doesn't name the few people that pissed her off. But perhaps the most maddening thing about reading this was the author's insecurities. Every "section" relates back to how she was hurt/not worthy/too ugly..............it was draining to read.
McDonough has an easy to read style that made this book a snap to get through. All in all I thought she wrote about her highs and lows in an interesting way. She mentions her contacts with several famous people, but not in a self-serving or bragging way as I have encountered in other memoirs. While she is obviously passionate about her cause, it did not come off as preachy, which was refreshing. Also, it was great to read about a former child star who did not end up in rehab or jail.
Sep 30, 2012 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved "The Waltons".
Recommended to Dawn by: "The Waltons" was one of my favorite shows.
An interesting look at Mary's life on "The Waltons" and beyond. "The Waltons" was one of my favorite shows growing up. I enjoyed reading about the making of the show and some of my favorite characters (Grandpa Walton/Will Geer especially). Mary has had quite a life of ups and downs, but she seems to have made it through pretty well. It was nice to read a book about one of my favorite childhood shows and not have nasty truths told that ruined by enjoyable memories.
Jess Trebanna
Lessons From the Mountain was awesome!! I truly enjoyed it. Mary Beth McDonough gives us some amazing and fun insights into one of my very favorite TV series ever. She is a truth-teller, but she absolutely refuses to be mean or trash her co-stars, and I can't tell you how much I respect that. She also lets the readers into her personal life, which takes a lot of courage to do. I've already recommended the book to quite a few people. :o)
I loved the Waltons and still watch my DVDs as I exercise. Erin was my least favorite although the actress is my exact age. The beginning seemed like many books that celebrities or actors have written about the hard life of a child actor/actress. However, when she got into the part about breast implants and the effects it had on her health and the health of her child, I was quite interested in that. Don't know why but it was.
Lisa Cline
Loved hearing about the Walton's and liked that she had class and didn't name people who wronged her but told about the incident because it was part of her story. I am saddened to learn about all that the and her daughter had to go through. The only part I wasn't into was her talking about her Buddhist philosophy's, but that was minimal. It is nice to have read a Biography on someone who didn't get into hardcore drugs.
Great to read a book from a Walton's kid (best show ever!). A little too much ruminating and I would have preferred less focus on the implants/lupus issues, although I know that would be of utmost importance for many people. The highlight for me was the up-close and behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the Walton children. It would be awesome if they all got together to write a memoir. C+
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