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True North: The Shocking Truth about "Yours, Mine and Ours"

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Tom North is one of the eight North children, who together with the ten Beardsley children, became the family which was featured in the 1968 film, “Yours, Mine and Ours” starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, and again in the 2005 version starring Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid.

The book begins in the 1950s on Whidbey Island, Washington, where Tom’s mother, Helen North, became
Paperback, First, 356 pages
Published July 15th 2013 by True North Productions LLC
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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I received this book through a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway (and was pleased to receive a personalized signed copy!)

Actual rating 2.5 stars.

I learned today that "Grammar Pedantry Syndrome" is a form of OCD which causes you to feel the need to correct every grammatical error you see. I think maybe I suffer from this because I desperately wanted to take a red pen to this book and send it back edited (except that I want to keep my signed copy! Ha.). This book seems to be self-published and I think
Kirsten Lenius
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In 1968, a movie called Yours, Mine and Ours was released. It starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda and was based on the story of a widow and widower who married and combined their families and who had a total of eighteen children between them at the time of their marriage. The movie showed an idyllic, though chaotic and hectic family life and many people fell in love with the idea of it, myself included. The idea of a large family t
Marcy Goodfleisch
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tom North's book will resonate with anyone who has experienced child abuse or serious dysfunction in their family life. The book takes us into the actual household of the blended family Helen North (Tom's mother) and Frank Beardsley created when they married about a year after each was widowed.

North has peeled away the veneer of 'one big happy family' seen in the movie, "Yours, Mine and Ours" in 1968 and exposed his true story of living with the violence, fear and abuse inflicted on the househol
Jo-Ann Murphy
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable read. While in the beginning of the book there is some reference to the abuse suffered in the Beardsley family, the book is really about Tom North's journey, education and healing. He has led a very diverse and interesting life, learning from his mistakes and changing the pattern of abuse he lived for many years rather than perpetuating them. ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
True North: The Shocking Truth about Yours, Mine & Ours is a memoir by Tom North, one of the children in the Beardsley/North marriage that the 1968 movie, Yours, Mine and Ours was based on. The problem is that the movie version was fiction. The real life blended family that the Beardsley/North union created was fraught with abuse, mostly at the hands of Frank Beardsley, but Helen was a distant mother and did little to stop it.

Tom's father, Richard, tragically died when he was six, leaving Helen
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Whether you're a fan, friend, pop culturist, sociologist, or fellow traveler, Tom North's True North: The Shocking Truth about "Yours, Mine and Ours," proves a convincing and compelling read. An autobiography describing North's recovery from the abusive, incestuous, malnourished and neglectful household of the celebrated Carmel family, the book also provides an absorbing look at baby-boomer childhood in a semi-rural, hippie-riddled community of suburban California.

Fans will enjoy the fleshed-out
Kris Dickinson
I won this book in exchange for an honest review. I recieved an autographed copy and was thrilled to see it personalized. The movie on which this familys lives are based is one of my favorites. So I was very anxious to read this book. The book, although well written and full of detail, doesnt really talk as much as I had thought about life growing up in the North Beardsley household. There is some, sure. But it was mostly about the authors journey and struggle thru his adult life to get past his ...more
Mae Blue
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not so good. The scenes were not set in a compelling manner, they were just told. The drama and fear were not realized, as the writer has no ability to structure his material in a compelling way. He needed a good editor, if such thing exists today. North seems like a good guy, he had weathered much abuse, but he does not make it real for us. Also the stories about fishing and nature were unendurably long and meandering for the tastes of an average reader. They were well written though, just woul ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tom North tells how his life changed after his real father dies. His mother married Frank Beardsley, who it turns out was a nasty tyrant who beat his children for everything. It tells how he lived his life and what he did to survive his younger life. I thought it was really interesting. I had watched the movie, Yours, Mine and Ours and thought it was a good story. However, after reading this book, I found it to be a terrible shame that all those children had to endure so much abuse in their live ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I orginially went into this book curious as to the family that was formed between Helen and Frank thinking the author would give more insite to each individual member and was very surprised (pleasantly) that it was about his quest for healing. I myself am on a personal healing quest and have been tapping into my own spirtual self. It is amazing how the Spirit guides you in this world.
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won "True North" on Goodreads First-Reads. Tom North has written a compelling and inspirational book. I watched "Yours, Mind And Ours" and it makes me sad that Tom and his siblings suffered so at the hands of that man and the movie portrays him as such a wonderful man. Keep telling your story, Tom. You never know who your story will touch that is experiencing similar abuse. ...more
Tammi Baliszewski PhD
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's a story of abuse and anguish but also a story of surviving and ultimately thriving. It's based on the true story of Tom North and how his family was the inspiration behind the film "Yours, Mine and Ours" starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom North and will post the link soon. ...more
Kelly Krenek
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You've had an interesting life. I enjoyed reading about it, however I would have enjoyed hearing more about the rest of the family, too. Thanks for the book. I think your a great writer and glad I got to know a little bit about your famous family. ...more
Donna Marshall
I was disappointed in this book. Yes, it did give little details of the North/Beardsley household, the majority of the book was about Mr. North and meditation. Though I find nothing wrong with that as his way to heal, I just wished the book had been marketed that way.
Maria Wroblewski
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read after watching the movie. Te only problem I had with the book was that there should have been more info about his siblings and less about his college education at a TM college.
Dec 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, movie, tm
This is a very deceptive book--what's supposed to be the true story of the Yours, Mines & Ours family is really a propaganda piece for Transcendental Meditation. The first 60 pages are about the Norths and the "lie" movie--but that leaves 270 pages! I wondered how the author would fill those pages, and about 230 of them are about his boring teen years, life on an Alaskan boat, and then his college years studying TM at a tiny college in Iowa! Not until the final 40 pages does he again get back to ...more
Mandy Edwards
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having seen the mid-1990's version of "Yours, Mine and Ours" I never imagined that there was a completely opposite story that never saw the light of day. The family portrayed in the movie was happy - sure they had ups and downs but you saw love. Tom's story however, pulled the curtain back to reveal the true story behind the curtain. As a parent, I could not even fathom hurting either of my children the way his stepfather did. During the time period this all took place, there was not as much awa ...more
Sarah Lameche
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abuse
OK well where to start. At the end.. I cried near the end of this book. What Tom North and the rest of his siblings had to deal with growing up no child should have to go through. As a mother I can't forgive HIS mother. She should have protected her children yet it was her who put them in that situation. I would die or even kill for my child so I just can't comprehend this woman's mentality. I was fascinated by the first third of this book. Reading about the circumstances that brought all this a ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Copy received from Giveaway.

As I started reading this books, I had the vague memory of what 'Yours, Mine and Ours' was...was it a movie, a TV show? I had no idea, maybe that's why it wasn't really a shocking tale to me. And I continued reading without bothering about it. Just as well, the author proceeded to explain it pretty well.

What I enjoyed about this book is that it is all about the process of healing oneself from any kind of abuse or trauma suffered in the past, and the author did a good
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very hard book to read but at the same time the message of hope and healing prevailed.

I always loved the movie "Yours, Mine and Ours" and I had even read the book that the real life mother (Helen Beardsley) wrote. Lies lies lies and more lies.

Tom North tells the reader what really went on in that family and it was horrible. Every kind of abuse of went on at the hands of Frank Beardsley... "the father." No one helped the children. The mother protected the father and allowed her childr
Jun 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads

I know I am one of the few people that did not care for this book, but I could not bring myself to like it; I wanted to but it so did not happen. There was something about the book that was just not believable for me. The writing style was a jumbled mess to me. The author in one chapter goes from 16 to 12 to 16 again. This book just was not a book I can recommend to anyone. I found it odd that with 20 children in this blended household the only ones that are mentioned are his full blooded siblin
R.J. Murphy
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. “True North” is the biography of a man whose childhood was depicted in the 1968 movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours” – a comedy about a widow with eight children who marries a widower with ten children. In real life there wasn’t much to laugh about. His family was totally dysfunctional. He doesn’t mention most of his siblings by name or give many details about them. This is his personal story. I found Tom North’s journey into Transcendental Meditation fascinating. He wrote of it in ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*I received a copy from NetGalley.
This was the true story of growing up in the North-Beardsley household made famous by the movie, "Yours, Mine & Ours" starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. Unfortunately it was not like the movie but instead full of abuse. The author shares his experiences and how he spent many years coming to terms with them.
Very moving, it dragged in some places, but overall a good read. Readers who enjoy true stories of overcoming abuse/tragedy will probably be interested i
fleur d’elaine
I love the movie version of this family's life, but certainly can understand that things are not always what they seem. The author does seem to be very heavy into TM (another reader's comment as well), and I think that this account should also be taken with a grain of salt. I'm sure life was not rosy and everyone in that huge family must have their own truth. It would be interesting to read any other autobiographies that come from this family. ...more
Victoria Griffin
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not really sure how to feel about it. Am glad he has been able to conquer drug addiction etc by using transcendental meditation. But it seemed like to me the middle of the book was simply promoting it. I was rather shocked at the abuse the kids had to deal with from the step dad. Am really horrified over the fact that family members and the church did nothing to try to help any of these kids.
Carolyn Comings
A mixed bag.

Like everyone else who grew up in Carmel in the 1960s, I knew the basics about the blended Beardsley-North family. I saw the movie and read Helen's book. I went to high school with some of the kids from both families, but I can't say I really knew them. (I did know some of the schoolmates the author mentioned, particularly Liz and Kelley. And his wife Connie was in my class, but I barely knew her.)

This book is a real eye-opener about what actually went on in that house on the hillsi
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Very interesting story. With so many family members (too many?) he found he needed to become self sufficient at an early age. He needed to find defense mechanisms for his bully of a step-father. He found himself without a mother's love and yet endured by going to Mother Nature. I most enjoyed his adventures of hunting, living off the land for a week-end, fishing boat worker in Alaska, etc... I've seen the movie numerous times, and have family who were acquainted with Frank's sister and brother - ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is Tom’s story how he survived and eventually overcame heartbreak, abuse, and neglect.
Erica Roberts
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once you start reading True North by Tom North, you won't want to put it down. While I wasn't familiar with Yours, Mine and Ours, and have still never seen it (after knowing the truth behind the story, I have no desire to now), I don't think knowledge of this movie is necessary to be able to relate to Tom's struggle. I was horrified by his descriptions of the abuse his stepfather Frank Beardsley subjected him and his siblings to, but he described it in such a compelling way that I kept wanting t ...more
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“Being in the depths of the ocean was like being in the womb, suspended in a liquid environment, listening to my own breathing and heartbeat. Whether it was the serenity and security of being surrounded by this living liquid, or the total distraction of the adventure of the unknown which took me far away from the daily weight of the child abuse and violence at home, I sank beneath the surface, and if only for those few moments, was free.” 5 likes
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