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

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  440 ratings  ·  94 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 nea
Hardcover, 1st edition, 288 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  440 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Florence Henderson.
Recommended to Dawn by: I enjoy Autobiographies.
A very good memoir about a very talented lady. Many only know her from The Brady Bunch. I also remember her Wesson Oil commercials and her cooking show. I did know that she was a talented singer because my Mom had told me that she and my Dad once saw her perform at a resort in the Poconos. I did not know though of her illustrious career on Broadway. There was so much more to her than just The Brady Bunch. I had this book sitting on my shelf for quite awhile and I'm sorry that I did not read it u ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
i wanted to read Florence Henderson's memoir in memory of her. She writes a pretty good memoir.she writes of her painful childhood growing up the youngest of ten children. Her family was very poor. Her dad drank a lot and when she was 12, her mother left the family and the youngest kids with the father. Florence writes of her years on broadway and traveling the country in plays like Oklahoma.Getting married young, having four children in nine years. Her move to Hollywood, and of course, her five ...more
Jennifer Wilson
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Penny Peck
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: celeb-biogs
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
Holly Weiss
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Robyn Markow
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I grew up watching Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch so that's the main reason(like many of other people in my age range)that I picked up this book at the library. Yes,she played Carol Brady but she also appeared on Broadway in a starring role within 2 years of arriving in New York from a small town in Indiana. The 9th child(out of 10) of a Tenant Farmer father & Housewife mother who were both alcoholics and divorced when she was a teen;Henderson's up-bring was as far as the idealized Br ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Alona Perlin
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's more to Florence Henderson than Mrs. Brady, and she doesn't pull any punches in this autobiography.
Quinn Lavender
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography-memoir, tv
What I liked about the book was learning about the other career achievements Henderson made - besides the obvious role in the Brady Bunch. What a talented lady! I was particularly surprised to learn that she was the first female guest host of The Tonight Show. Clearly her humor was intrinsic and not projected through that show, which is what I had always assumed.

What I did not like about the book was its random, very minor details. I don't need to know about the first time you felt the erection
Catherine Von Bargen
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting. This one was recommended by Matt’s grandma. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of The Brady Bunch but I have seen reruns just flipping through channels. I would not want an actress’s life - too much auditioning, traveling and self-care involved.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
She's definitely not an author, but it was interesting to read about her early life, and learn that she already had a major stage career before she became forever known as Mrs. Brady.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
A littlr disappointed in the life style of stars it wrecked my image of sweet wife and mother
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good insight on an American icon.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting to know more about Mrs. Brady.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the Brady Bunch growing I was looking forward to reading Florence Henderson's memoir. Not disappointed. This lady was so much more than Brady Bunch. Good easy read.
Ryan Snarr
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read about a lovely lady that you feel like you already know from her work on tv.
Mary Phillips
Jan 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Disappointed, it was very bland. I didn’t love this book.
Marcia Furman
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a really fun and interesting read! Florence seemed to be different than other “famous” people. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean.
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
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
Bonni Sweet
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read she is such a wonderful actress and I love the Brady bunch that's why I chose to read her book didn't disappoint at all
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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