If You Ask Me by Betty White ★★★½

Read 1/17/20 to 1/19/20

This is the first memoir or book by Betty White that I’ve ever read. I left it with a positive experience overall, but I don’t think I would have if I didn’t have so much love for Betty White. I could say that only Betty White fans will probably like this book, but realistically who isn’t a Betty White? She is an icon for a reason, and that is why I chose to read this book. Unfortunately, I was left wanting. She doesn’t focus on anything specific in her life; it feels as if we’re just getting a stream of consciousness about a few fun facts throughout her life, with a focus on the later years. We get a couple snippets from her early career but not a lot. I suspect that is because her earlier works touch on that part of her life.

In that sense, the book was already at a disadvantage, and then little bit of information we do get isn’t very in depth. I’m a grad student; I know how to fill a page with words, sometimes without much substance. Sadly, that is kind of what it felt like reading this book. It felt like Betty White had a goal in mind which she wanted to write this book, and she was just trying to get the material for them. I think part of it may be that she holds herself back by writing entirely by hand, rather than typing. Writing by hand is far more time consuming task. Now, that’s not to say short books and short essays aren’t beneficial; Ariel Bissett just a video where she gave a fantastic discussion of why she loves short books so much. They require focus and succinctness. What little is there often comes with extreme care.

I wish that was the case here, but I don’t think it is. There just wasn’t much substance. To be clear, I love Betty White even if I didn’t love the book. My experience with the book improved when I switched over to the audiobook. I started this book with the physical copy, but I swapped over because I was short on time and am glad I did. The audiobook added the performance of hearing Betty White talk to the content making it a much better experience overall. For what it’s worth, I doubt I would be able to get this level conversation with her on my own, so I appreciate having it here instead of nothing at all. Nevertheless, I have to review the book with an honest opinion. As a book it doesn’t really stand up against the competition. Sometimes it doesn’t have to, and this might be an example of that. 3.5/5 stars

Rating Break Down
Writing Style (7%): 8/10
Content (15%): 5/10
Structure (15%): 5/10
Summary (1%): 3/10
Engagement (5%): 10/10
Enjoyment (25%): 10/10
Comprehension (20%): 10/10
Pacing (2%): 5/10
Desire to Reread (5%): 0/10
Special (5%): 5/10
Final Rating: 3.72/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance.

4 thoughts on “If You Ask Me by Betty White ★★★½

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