Betty White’s latest book, If You Ask Me (But Of Course You Won’t), is a charming, heartfelt compilation of stories and anecdotes describing her life in her own words. It is a short read that feels much like a conversation with your grandmother, while she tells you funny stories about her life and gives you her random observations. With the wisdom that comes with age, Betty draws upon her life’s lessons and gives her advice on how to live the type of satisfied life that comes with gratitude and humbleness.
“That’s when you have to remember that image in the mirror and not let success get to you. It is important that you not believe your own publicity. Be grateful for whatever praise you receive, but take it with a grain of salt.”
Betty’s 6th authored book does not disappoint her readers. She includes many stories that most of her fans had never heard before. She discusses topics that include love and romance, beauty tips, the effects of stardom, her love of animals, her time on Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland, some of her personal quirks, as well as her thoughts on aging.
“It’s [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”
I enjoyed reading of her animal adventures like her visit with Coco the gorilla, and the time she spent with whales. Betty has such a passion for animals. She has donated a lot of her earnings to animal rights and conservation efforts. She has turned down several movies because of her distaste for their treatment of animals. She even refused a role in As Good As It Gets because of the scene where Jack Nicholson puts the dog down the garbage chute. While the dog was not harmed and most people found it funny, Betty was not amused.
“Animals don’t lie. Animals don’t criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do.”
I found her crush on Robert Redford to be most intriguing. When a reporter once asked her if there was anything in life that she wanted to do, she responded with “Robert Redford.” Redford actually wrote her a poem upon seeing the interview. She refuses to reveal the contents of the poem to this day. She also speaks of her true love Allen, and how she has never stopped loving him. She admitted that she can still feel his presence with her, even now, long after his death.
There are also a few odd details that I found surprising. Betty has an enormous doll collection, and she considers each doll to have a unique personality. She is friends with each one, and even talks to them. It is interesting to note that it was a Facebook campaign that convinced her to host Saturday Night Live, after having refused to do so several times prior. Another unexpected fact is that she had agreed to appear only in the pilot episode of Hot in Cleveland, because her schedule was too full. After enjoying it so much and falling in love with the cast, she ended up doing over a hundred more episodes. You would never guess that although she adores her fans and enjoys acting, she continues to struggle with stage fright and does not like going to red-carpet affairs.
Another great feature of If You Ask Me, is that it includes many pictures from throughout Betty’s life. Full of images that we might not have otherwise been able to see, this book gives us an even closer look at the woman we all adore.
In true Betty White fashion, she remains charming yet candid as she uses humor and wit to reveal the varied details of her life, as well as lessons she has learned over the years. It is a light and enjoyable read that lifts the spirits, and leaves you with a smile. As a bonus for her fans, the audio-track is even more of a pleasure as it is read by Betty White in her warm, sweet voice. This is the perfect book for a lazy afternoon when you just want to relax and unwind.