I posted a version of the following review here a few years ago. The version below appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders, which can be read here. Thanks to Mary-Jo Lord, editor-in-chief, for revisions she made to this review, with my permission, of course. Enjoy!
COMEDIAN SHARES LIFE THROUGH LAUGHTER
REVIEW OF IF YOU ASK ME: (AND OF COURSE YOU WON’T) BY BETTY WHITE
BY ABBIE JOHNSON TAYLOR
Could you use some good laughs, especially during these unprecedented times? If so, look no further than Audible, where you can download a recording of this book, narrated by Betty White herself, may she rest in peace. I couldn’t help laughing when I saw her on television as the scatter-brained Rose in The Golden Girls. She was also on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but I was a little young when that was running. My mother watched that as religiously as I watched The Golden Girls.
According to her biography on her IMDB page, Betty White was born on January 17th, 1922 in Oak Park Illinois. Her mother was a homemaker, and her father was a lighting company executive. Her family moved to Los Angeles when Betty was two. She attended Horace Mann Elementary and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to be a writer, she became more interested in acting after writing and playing the lead role in a graduation play at Horace Mann.
Her television career began in 1939 when she and a former high school classmate sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel. She also worked in radio and movies. Best known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) and The Golden Girls (1985), she performed in a variety of other television shows including Life with Elizabeth, Date with the Angels, The Betty White Show, The Golden Palace, Hot in Cleveland, and Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. After Rue McClanahan’s death in 2010, Betty White was the only living golden girl until she passed on December 31st, 2021 at the age of ninety-nine. She won seven Emmy awards and received twenty Emmy nominations. She was the first woman to receive an Emmy award for game show hosting Just Men and is the only person to have an Emmy award in all female comedic performing categories. In May of 2010, she was the oldest person to guest host Saturday Night Live and won a Primetime Emmy Award for this. As of 2012, she was the oldest Emmy nominee.
In If You Ask Me, Betty White combines her ideas on such topics as friendship, technology, and aging with anecdotes from her childhood, career, and work with animals.
Humorous quips about exercise and hair color, and her rumored crush on Robert Redford are delivered in classic Betty White style. She shares what happens backstage at awards ceremonies and how her role as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show changed her career.
She talks about developing a friendship with a guerilla, meeting two whales, and adopting a dog rejected by Guide Dogs for the Blind. I can relate when she says how frustrating it is not to recognize a face, especially when the face belongs to a celebrity she meets at a party and thinks she should know. Being visually impaired, I have the same problem but don’t run into celebrities at parties. In any case, I recommend this book to anyone needing some good laughs.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?