Published by Berkley on February 7, 2012
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
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It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between. Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen (I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out") to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already. Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.
You would think that at the age of almost-one hundred, Betty White would be slowing down a bit. Enjoying retirement. Finally stepping out of the spotlight after a lifetime in the television business. (Literally, she literally did the first TV broadcast in LA in 1939.) But no, here she is, expanding into the world of books, writing a series of letters on various topics as she sees fit.
I don’t think there’s much organization to be had in the book. If You Ask Me… shifts from her history in television to her work with animal rescues to any of her famous friendships to the ever-encroaching topic of getting older.
While there’s a lot to be gleaned from the more-current topics, I found the whole history of television as seen through Betty’s eyes to be absolutely resplendent. From her beginnings as a variety show co-host (on air 5.5 hours a day, six days a week!) to her current work, you can get a pretty good idea of the evolution of the TV and film industries through her work.
If You Ask Me… takes the tone of the funny grandma. She’s telling you stories and teaching you something, but her wit is quick and her humor sardonic—even risqué at times. I listened to the audiobook version, which White read herself, so it especially felt like a conversation.
In the end, if you’re a fan of the actress and comedienne, then this is a short, quick read that’ll delight. But there’s nothing groundbreaking or special about it—because Betty White has been groundbreaking and special for over a half-century now.