Saturday, May 28, 2011

The other side of Betty White

book review

Book: If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)
Author: Betty White
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Putnam Adult (2011)
Excerpt: “…if one is lucky enough to be blessed with good health, growing older shouldn't be something to complain about. It's not a surprise, we knew it was coming-- make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.
Actually--and don't laugh--there may even be some upsides to aging. People treat you more gently. They may even think your years of experience make you wiser than you are. And somebody always finds you a place to sit down, whether you want it or not.
Somewhere along the line there is a breaking point, where you go from not discussing how old you are to bragging about it. I have never lied about my age, but these days I seem to work it into the conversation at the drop of a hat. Please stop me before I get to the point of, "Hi, I'm Betty White--I'm eighty-nine years old!" There's nothing to brag about--I didn't accomplish that age, it sneaked up on me.”

2010 was a phenomenal year for Betty White, the 89-year-old actress who has had a television and film career spanning over six decades and is still going strong. With her popularity seeing a resurgence of late, Betty has amassed both more fame and acclaim since last year after being cast in Hot in Cleveland, and hosting Saturday Night Live  following a Facebook campaign led by her fans, while earning awards along the way.

In her latest book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), Hollywood’s favourite octogenarian shares her thoughts on topics like life, love, and growing old. Not so much a memoir (which she has also previously written) as a collection of feelings and opinions, the book is divided into sections such as body and mind, Hollywood stories, stagecraft, love and friendship, animal kingdom, and state of affairs, each of which house her views on relevant issues as the actress shares anecdotes and remembrances from her career. While the book mostly focus on her work during the more recent years, Betty touches up on various areas; she writes about her parents, husband, co-stars, and even her animal friends, and talks about her experiences of working on different projects.

The musings are interesting and witty, and the tone is both candid and friendly. The book, however, is too short, and the content is a little random, plus there aren’t any big revelations, so you won’t exactly be inundated by a lot of new information about the celebrity. That said, it is still interesting to read what she has to say about things like turning down roles, walking the red carpet, appearing on talk shows, fans and fan mail, and being eighty-nine years old, and the book remains enjoyable throughout.

All in all, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) makes for a short but pleasant read. Some might find the content unsubstantial for the price of a book, but Betty White fans will still enjoy it, even though they’ll probably wish the book was longer and offered some more content.

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune - 28th May, 2011

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