Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! This iconic phrase is forever etched in our minds as well as in television history. “The Brady Bunch” ran its course decades before my time, but I was fortunate enough to see every episode via Nick at Night reruns. Like the rest of America, except 30 years later, I was drawn into the fun show about a blended family who solved all of life’s problems in half an hour with a quirky housekeeper who delivered hilarious one liners on cue. However, as is the case in Hollywood, the drama on screen was no match to the drama unfolding behind the scenes.
Maureen McCormick’s memoir starts with a detailed description of her upbringing as well as her introduction into the ruthless world of acting. She then describes what led to her fortune as she lands the role of Marcia Brady. Her life would never be the same. As she gives her perspective of what the show was about, what was really going on between the characters off screen, and her struggles with adapting to life and growing up as one of the most recognizable faces in America, she describes a downward mental, emotional, and physical spiral that is all too common among child actors. She is transparent, open, and honest about her struggles with excessive drug use, serious depression, personal family turmoil, and dangerous eating disorders throughout her teenage and young adult years. The story of the Brady’s ended just as her story was beginning. She took a lot of different paths, and she made countless wrong turns, but she finally found her happily ever after with her husband and daughter. By opening herself up to her readers, she makes herself incredibly vulnerable to and authentic with her audience.
- Why I read it: Pure curiosity (it was on the feature shelf on the library, and I love a good memoir!)
- Trigger Warnings: Drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, abuse, eating disorders, depression
I was/still am obsessed with The Brady Bunch. I love the fun, family drama and humor. I love the time period, the fashion, and I really, really love Alice. I vaguely remember this book coming out years ago but, for whatever reason, I never read it until recently. Of course, I have seen the cable network specials of “Behind the scenes” where America heard the scandalous stories involving the cast members and, admittedly, part of me didn’t want to believe that the actors weren’t as squeaky clean as their on-air personas. McCormick tells the story behind the stories and continuously shatters any expectation I had of the cast members embodying their lives as Brady’s.
I was struck by her blatant honesty. I don’t know if I would/could be so forthcoming with all of my personal struggles. I honestly had no idea how deep she was in drugs. She gave such detailed descriptions of her physical and mental status in some of her movies in the 70’s that I ended up searching on YouTube for the described movie scenes to see if I could detect how strung out she was when saying her lines (I could not). I also had no idea that her personal family life was ridden with the kind of drama that would make Mike and Carol Brady run for the (Hollywood) hills and never look back.
I love anything that is “behind the scenes,” and I truly enjoyed learning about Maureen McCormick apart from Marcia Brady.