Two curiously linked admissions bracket the eponymous new tell-all memoir from Shirley Jones.
The future working mother of The Partridge Family (1970-1974) was all of 6 years old, she confesses, when she stole a pack of gum from the only drugstore in her hometown of Smithton, Pa.
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Busted by her mom and banished to her room, young Shirley trashed the place, then defiantly challenged her mother, "Why don't you come in and look at my room?" Her mother made her undo the damage, of course, but Jones "didn't feel guilty about what I had done. I was already a little hell-raiser, and proud of it."
After 276 more pages, having divulged various graphic details of her sexual résumé (a three-way with her husband and a Vegas showgirl; sniffing amyl nitrite during sex), Jones still sounds remarkably like that petulant little girl: "I have always liked to shock people a bit," she informs us somewhat redundantly. "Despite my age, I still do."
To find out why someone with such a squeaky-clean reputation would dish all that dirt — about herself, no less — we talked to the Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress, Elmer Gantry, 1960) in the middle of her book tour for Shirley Jones: A Memoir. (Read the interview below and watch the video at the bottom of the page.)
Q: Have early readers been shocked by your memoir?
A: I wasn't sure how it would be received, to tell you the truth. But so far it's mostly been very good.
So many people think of me as that little girl from Smithton, Pa., or as Mrs. Partridge. But I'm also a normal human being — and I like everything else that goes along with that, too.
Q: You write that "I've always been an extremely sexual woman, easily aroused, and intensely orgasmic." What's the strategy behind such candor?