Thursday, October 24, 2013

Back in St. Olaf....

In one of those rare cases of my picking up non-fiction, I happened to see Betty White's If You Ask Me (And You Probably Won't) at the library and picked it up.

I was kind of disappointed, mainly because I was expecting more narrative and a linear progression. However, as I found out later in the book, the 90 year old woman has 5 or 6 other autobiographies, which may be where I find something closer to what I was expecting.

So, if this isn't a true autobiography, what is it then? I'm glad you asked.

What's contained in these pages is a series of essays, usually a few paragraphs to a few pages, grouped under different topics about a more specific topic. Like the section "Animal Kingdom", which has 6 essays about various pets she's had, or animals she's met at zoos and aquariums.

Most of the sections dealing with her career have to do with TV (Hot in Cleveland, hosting Saturday Night Live) or some of her more recent movie appearances (The Proposal, You Again, The Lost Valentine). She does mention in passing how much her cast mates on Hot in Cleveland remind her professionally of the women of The Golden Girls, in that they're very professional and have great chemistry. She does discuss Sue Ann Nivens for a hot second or two, mainly discussing how the role was written as a "sweet, sugary, Betty White type".

Another major topic that comes up quite frequently is her now deceased husband Allen Ludden and how much she still loves him. Which is really hard to read at times. It isn't exactly full angst like one finds in in old LiveJournal posts, but more of a love that didn't die with him 30 odd years ago. Kind of reminds me of my mom these days.

She really does love all kinds of animals as well. One of my favorites among her animal anecdotes in here involves Koko, the gorilla who communicates with sign language.And who, when Betty visited, was undergoing an obsession with cleavage. The way Betty describes the situation, one can't help but laugh and see her disarming a gorilla that's semi-determined to remove her blouse.

Really, it's a fun, if very short read. It's a bit like sitting through a one woman show, with Betty telling stories for a few hours.