June 24, 2011

Driving with Betty White...

Who doesn't adore Betty White?

This week Golden Girl Betty White kept me company on a very long, very rainy highway drive. Well, her voice kept me company... another long road trip, another trip to the library to collect books-on-cd for to pass the hours.

First up this week was Betty White's new book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't). This short collection of essays is read by Betty herself, and it really was fun to have her tell me stories from her life as I drive.

White says writing is her favourite thing to do, and yet this doesn't feel like writing as much as sassy Aunt Betty sitting on the sofa, having her third martini, offering opinions and telling tales. If You Ask Me is a disjointed collection of anecdotes and opinions, on topics like fame, marriage, Mary Tyler Moore, step children (they call her the dragon lady), pet love, talk shows, zoos, awards, aging, red carpets, love, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland.

This book is a likable bunch of anecdotes and repartee like those you will hear when Ms White sits down with Jay Leno. That's not a bad thing, and it actually works well in the audio version. It's just not new or revelatory. It is comfortable and amusing. While White repeatedly insists she is not a goody-two-shoes Polyanna, uh, yeah, she is.

Betty is 89, has been in Hollywood forever, and name drops with the best of them, from Fred Astaire to Sandra Bullock. Oh and way too much about Jennifer Love Hewitt... how the hell did she get in here?

My favourite story from the book: In 2010, accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors' Guild, Betty told her showbiz audience: 'What really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you ... maybe had a couple. And you know who you are!' Then when George Clooney came on to present the main award, he thanked Betty for her 'discretion', adding: 'A friend of mine told me Betty was a bobcat in the sack.'

That's the kind of fun stuff we want more of... for the next book, Betty White, bring on the scandal and the raunch!

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