Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: If You Ask Me by Betty White


If You Ask Me: And of Course You Won'tIf You Ask Me: And of Course You Won't by Betty White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Betty White was 89 years old when she wrote If You Ask Me, and, some might argue, at the height of her popularity. Thanks to a Superbowl commercial and SNL appearance, she was appealing to a whole new generation who was only cursorily familiar with her as "the nice one" in Golden Girls.

And so, this book's purpose seems to be to familiarize a whole new generation to this funny lady, who's in on the joke a lot more than people may realize. She doesn't understand the appeal of the internet, and she answers what she does of her fan mail by hand, herself, but she's also a Hollywood and small-screen veteran, with a ton of fascinating stories.

Betty White is a class act, first and foremost. She has nothing but praise and love for everyone she's worked with, and she squeezes in stories about her love for animals whenever possible. When I was listening to the section where she talks about how cats are affectionate, and not standoffish at all, I had two cats curled up on or right next to my lap, and I had to smile.

There isn't much of a narrative structure to this book. Mostly, it's vignettes and short informational blurbs. Sometimes, she repeats herself within the narrative, but the context is often different. She speaks wistfully of growing old, losing friends, what she hopes Heaven will look like, as well as her family growing up, her life in show biz, her difficulty with public speaking, and, of course, about her animals.

I listened to this on audio, narrated by Ms. White. She chokes up a few times when she talks about animals who have passed on, but otherwise, her narration is warm and inviting. She has a vocal "catch" whenever she pronounces the letters "cl" together, but it's not terribly distracting.

This was an enjoyable, quick read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for heartwarming and lovable memoirs.


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