Book review: If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White

In memory of Betty White, I’m reviewing one of her books! I originally bought this book when it was first published, ten years ago in 2011. At the time, Betty was 89-years old, and would go on to live another decade.

This memoir reveals little tidbits about Betty’s life, including some personal photos, fun facts, and pieces of wisdom. You can see how down to earth she is, as she is optimistic as grateful, but also refreshingly transparent.

I have always been a huge fan of Betty White. She reminds me of my grandma (Gram), and I have great memories of watching the Golden Girls with Gram and my mom. She remained popular throughout my teen years, appearing in the movie The Proposal, starring on the TV Land show Hot in Cleveland, and her hilarious SNL performance — demanded by the public through a Facebook petition in 2010 (which I signed!)

The book is an easy read, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of Betty White. She is honest about the hardships of aging, the anxiety of stage-fright that never goes away, getting star struck by other celebrities, and turning down acting roles with scripts that compromise her principles. But she refuses to complain, keeping a positive and gracious attitude.

What also stands out is Betty’s passionate admiration for animals. She openly admits to preferring animals over people. She grew up with many, many pets, and always connected with all kinds of species. She has been involved with many animal charities and welfare programs. In fact, she even reveals an obsession for stuffed animals.

Betty married Allen in her early forties. They had a very fulfilling marriage. She never had children, but did inherit his teenage kids and had a great relationship with them. She claims that having children is a very personal choice, and that for her, she chose to put her career first.

The book ends on a sweet note as she brings up the subject of death. She says how as a child, when someone passed, her mother would say “now that person knows ‘the secret.’” And when Betty’s mother passed, she thought the same thing — now she knows the secret. Death is not to be feared — rather, a mystery to be unveiled. And now America’s beloved Betty White knows the special secret.

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