Sunday, 5 February 2012

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) by Betty White


Obligatory name-dropping moment: I picked up this book when I met Betty Freaking White in New York. The fiance and I were just doing the tourist thing, wandering around Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue one day, when I saw a sign stating she'd be there for a book signing the next day. I can't remember what we'd had planned for that day, but we (I) pretty much canceled those plans immediately. As a massive Golden Girls and Betty fan, I couldn't miss this opportunity to meet her. So we got down there early the next morning to get a good spot in the line. We went to the front of the store and saw that the line went right around the corner. So we followed it... and kept on following it... and kept on following. It reached around the whole block.

Even I was hesitant at that point. We were only in New York for a week - did we really want to spend half a day in a line? My fiance wasn't overly enthused, but after weighing it up I thought, when else am I going to get the chance to meet Betty Freaking White?! The fiance, bless him, agreed, and diligantly held our spot in the line while I ran into the store to buy If You Ask Me. I rejoined him half an hour later. He'd moved forward about 10 metres. We waited another half an hour and crept forward inch by inch. The fiance spotted a sports store and went shopping, while I progressed another 10 metres. After an hour and half, we finally neared the corner of the store, not too far from the entrance. Staff came out and warned that we might not get to meet Betty as she'd have to leave soon. My heart sunk. We decided to stick around, just in case - we'd waited this long, after all. We got closer and closer to the door. The manager came out and said they were only letting five more people in. I was number six.

There I stood, at the front of the line, 25 years old and about to burst into tears because I was going to miss out on meeting Betty White. All of a sudden, the manager turned around and said, "Ok, you, and you can go in". Me?! ME can go in?! I raced through the door before she changed her mind, the fiance in tow... and we joined another line. Another 20 minutes later, I finally got a glimpse of Betty. We were told to have our books open to the right page and not to ask for pictures, because she had to leave. My turn came, and the loud-mouthed guy in front of me wouldn't stop talking to Betty. They tried to push him away three times before he finally left. I wanted to thump him in the head with my book but all I could do was stare. At Betty. During the two-and-a-half hour wait I'd thought of about 267 things I wanted to say to her. In the end all I managed was a manic "OHMYGOD-I-LOVE-YOU-SO-MUCH". She smiled, said, "Thank you so much for coming to see me, today. I appreciate it SO much." We had a connection. And then I was moved along.

My lovely fiance hung back so he could sneakily snap a few pictures of my moment with Betty....


So close...

Betty is RIGHT THERE, I swear. And I wanted to punch that guy next to me really, really hard.

The Betty Effect.
Anyway, if you're still here after my rambling, you're awesome, and you're also going to finally get to hear what I actually thought of the book. I read it in a couple of hours yesterday. It's a super easy read, but I have to say I was slightly disappointed. I haven't read any of Betty's previous books so I don't know what they contain, but this one gave very little insight into her or her life. It seems to have been written more for people who are already fans of Betty; there's the assumption that you already know her story, her career, her love of animals, and this is just a series of anecdotes about what's been going on with her lately. Like catching up with an old friend. The tone is very conversational, and each chapter jumps from topic to topic with no segue.

It's a lot of fun - just not quite as hilarious or insightful as I anticipated. There were a few highlights for me, like the fact that Betty has a room that keeps her up at night - you know, that room where you just dump things and plan to organise "one day". It makes me feel better about my own semi-hoarding that Betty Freaking White does it too. Her passing reflections on being the last Golden Girl and the loss of her husband, Allen, and her dear pets, are touching and poignant. You finish the book, if not more in touch with the "real" Betty, at least more in awe of her energy, enthusiasm, humour and positivity. She's still going strong - let's hope she stays that way for years to come!

Rating: 3.5/5

14 comments:

  1. I was going to flip if they didn't let you in that door! But... YAY! You met Betty Freaking White!! And really, who cares if the book was not so amazing? You got to meet her and you had a connection :)

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    1. Yeah, the book could have been complete crap and it still would have been totally worth it :D

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    1. I kind of have to keep reminding myself that it was actually real! ;)

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  3. That would have been a sad day if you didn't go through that door. I would've yelled and chucked a spaz. You're so lucky to meet her!!

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    1. OMG, I would have been HEARTBROKEN. So glad we made it through :)

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  4. What an exicting moment! I wish i could of seen her!
    I am deeply in love with Betty White, i want to be like her when i get to my 70's-80's, what out Cougar! haha

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    1. She just turned 90, it's amazing!

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  5. Sounds like an amazing experience!! I love when traveling leads to unexpected adventures like that! :)

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    1. Yes it was totally unplanned and turned into one of the highlights of the trip!

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  6. Congrats on your brush with fame! Sorry to hear this one didn't quite live up to expectations, though!

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    1. I think I've decided I'd rather watch Betty than read her :)

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  7. Wow, that's so awesome! What a cool coincidence that you were in town when she was doing a book signing. I love Betty White too and read this book last year. I didn't know what to expect but you're right, it doesn't tell much about her life, just some cool and funny stories. Still, I enjoyed it.

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    1. It is definitely still worth a read. Such a lucky coincidence!

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