Book Review: If You Ask Me by Betty White

Title: If You Ask Me (And of Course, You Won’t)

Author: Betty White

Page Count: 273

Publish Date: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Berkley


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.

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)

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My Review:

Who doesn’t love Betty White? Growing up watching The Golden Girls I fell in love with Betty White and all the other ladies on that show. If I could choose any woman to have as a grandmother, my top pick would be Betty White. Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandma with all my heart, but imagine the hilarity of having Betty White in your family. I’ll admit, I don’t often put autobiographies on my TBR but I made the exception for If You Ask Me. I was really curious about the woman behind the many television roles I had seen her in.

While this is not the first biography that she has written it was certainly a great little read. Betty covers a great variety of subjects in this book, sharing her feelings on animals, working in show business, being married, and other aspects of life. Her humor throughout parts of the book had me laughing out loud, which caused weird looks cast my way from my husband. It was great to read up on several of Betty’s adventures in life, including when she met Koko the gorilla. This part was adorable, especially as she described their first meeting. Koko sat with Betty in her cage and pulled gently at the collar of her blouse because at that time the gorilla had a bit of a fascination with boobs. A simple word from her trainer stopped the gorilla but I can only imagine Betty’s shock at that moment.

It was funny to read her talking about how after so many years in show business there were almost no new questions whenever she was being interviewed. Even so, she tried to give a different answer each time to prevent being too repetitive. And the following quote is probably my favorite from the book.

A few years ago I was asked one of the standard questions for probably the umpteenth time: “Is there anything you haven’t done in your career that you would still like to do?” Well I had just seen Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa for the third time, so the answer was automatic: “Yes, Robert Redford.” And I was surprised to suddenly find it true!

I think that is the best answer likely ever given during an interview. After all, what else could one say when having to answer a question they had already answered so many times in their life? It’s that sharp wit and humor that I love about Betty White.

Not only does the book share her stories but there are also a great number of pictures of Betty White throughout her life. Some are during award ceremonies, like the time she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Screen Guild Actors Awards, but also from various sets she worked on, to one showing her when she joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services at the beginning of World War II.

If you are a fan of Betty White, old or new, or simply enjoy reading biographies and memoirs then If You Ask Me is definitely worth checking out. I plan to keep my eyes peeled for her other books to see what other stories she has shared about her life.

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