Audiobook Review: If You Ask Me by Betty White
If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)
Author: Betty White
Narrator: Betty White
Published: May 3, 2011
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 31- February 1, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between.
Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White’s wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty’s candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen (“I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out”) to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already.
Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.
Everyone loves Betty White, and when we lost her on December 31, 2021 the whole world mourned her. Betty White is/was/ and will continue to be a figure that everyone loves. This memoir was written in 2011 and focuses on those recent years. We seem to already know everything about her, but you could still learn something about her.
She also narrated her memoir herself and I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to her memoir with fondness. She really loved what she did (she kept herself extremely busy), animals, and her husband Allen. Listening to some parts were bittersweet with her recent death. I loved hearing the part where she mentioned that whenever she gets to Heaven that Allen and her parents will be waiting for her… BUT they would have to get past all her beloved pets, which she goes on to name.
She talks about her previous well-known shows: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland along with several recent at the time movies she filmed. While listening you feel like you get to know her more. Her personality and who she was really shined in the audiobook.
Though you may not really learn anything new about her reading/listening to this memoir, it is still a fun read with a very beloved lady.
If You Ask Me is recommended!
Audiobook Review: The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan
The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm
Author: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Narrator: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Published: May 5, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 19-24, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.
The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.
Burton’s charisma, wide eyed attitude, and fortitude—both internal and physical—propels this moving story of transformation and self-discovery. The Rural Diaries honors the values and lifestyle of small-town America and offers inspiration for anyone longing to embark on their own unconventional journey.
Please note that I am not a Hilarie Burton Morgan fan and have only seen her act in Negan’s ‘backstory’ episode with his wife Lucille. Negan is played by her own husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan. When the lockdowns occurred in 2020, Hilarie and Jeffrey had a talk show from their own home on Mischief Farm. It was watching that where I felt like I got to know them both. And I finally was able to listen to her memoir The Rural Diaries which she also narrates.
This is not her memoir of her entire acting career, but we do get to hear about where she met the man that would eventually become her husband and the start of their life together. They are very different yet also perfect for each other. They love small town life and Burton herself can do some DIY home improvements! We go on their journey to purchasing Mischief Farm and their life with many animals there. It was a learning experience for sure.
She is candid and tells it like it is in this memoir, which includes the good and happy times to the rough times of making marriage work, farm life in general, and dealing with the struggles and determination to have a second child. You could hear the struggle she went through with the miscarriages; it was hard to listen to for someone who really wanted another child and everything that she went through. She genuinely loves her life and they are meant to be living on Mischief Farm and live in a community that takes care of its own. I did wonder about the name of the farm which she goes into.
And she and Jeffrey are really good friends with Paul Rudd! They were also close friends with Bill Paxton and we experience his death through Burton. Their son Gus would watch Titanic so many times (other than the naughty parts) because Uncle Bill was in it!
Listening to her narrate the memoir you can feel the struggles in her voice. I felt like I really know who she is now knowing her story. And don’t knock all those Hallmark Christmas movies she has been in, they were what she needed.
If you are a Burton Morgan fan, then you must read/listen to this one! If you are a fan of her husband, you may also enjoy it, as I did!
The Rural Diaries is recommended.
#Diverseathon2021: Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator by Jill Dobbe
Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator
Author: Jill Dobbe
Published: August 2, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 27- December 4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
“We’re moving to India!”
Travel along with two international educators who take the leap and move to Gurgaon, India, to become principals at an Indian/International school. Excited by the opulent marble hallways and the grandness of the school, they quickly learn it lacks even the most basic supplies, like chalkboard erasers. The couple, however, make a go of it and ultimately adjust to the dizzying day-to-day life of Indian society where sacred cows stop for red lights, women wear glittery saris while planting rice, and dreadlocked sadhus go about renouncing all their worldly pleasures.
Part memoir, part travelogue and part tragic comedy, readers will marvel at all the couple has to endure only to end up leaving the school and India abruptly, without even so much as a Namaste. Despite a catastrophe or two, their go-with-the-flow attitudes and kindred senses of humor help them to endure the overwhelming bustle of India, while recognizing and appreciating its distinctive allure.
I read Jill Dobbe’s previous memoir of living in Cairo, Egypt titled Kids, Camels, and Cairo several years ago. Having been to Egypt, her writing brought me right back to Cairo and those wonderful memories of my family trip I was on with my aunt, uncle, mother, and sister. That was to be my final trip with my uncle as he passed from lung cancer just two months later. Needless to say, I looked forward to reading Only in India and taking a trip without ever having left the house!
Jill and her husband left Cairo and then India was their next destination in their teaching adventures. India is not on my bucket list, but I have seen Bollywood movies, movies in general, and tv shows taking place in India and enjoy all the colors that are present. I honestly do not know much about India, but reading Dobbe’s memoir I definitely learned about the country, culture, religions, and history. I now definitely want to see the movie Gandhi that stars Sir Ben Kingsley, it is sad to say that this ignorant American did not know about the circumstances of his death.
The memoir actually starts at the end of their time in India when she and her husband had to suddenly leave due to visa issues. As I read of her time in India, I enjoyed going on her journey of remembrance with her, as I ‘experienced’ India for the first time. There are definitely huge culture differences and she shows us the culture shock experienced by her and her husband.
It is written similar to a diary, so the memoir is honest and full of their experiences, good and bad while also seeing how the Dobbe’s react to certain situations. They are presently living in Honduras, so I look forward to a memoir that takes place there, so I can journey to another country I have never been to!
I have had this memoir on my kindle for a few years, but just now picked it up. I read it as a part of #Diverseathon2021, and this month’s prompt is a book set in India. December’s Host is Natalie @ One Sleepy Reader and she is hosting at Instagram and You Tube. She is also be having a giveaway: See her You Tube and Instagram pages for information on the giveaway.
For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.
If you are interested in travel memoirs or teaching in foreign countries, I definitely recommend looking into Dobbe’s books. I wish it had not taken me this long to read Only in India, but there are so many books and not enough time! She has one more memoir written that I find myself wanting to read!
Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator is recommended!