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Description⎮Reviewed Sep. 2016
Narrator: Betty White
Length: 2h 17m
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2011
5★ Audiobook⎮ I started this audiobook immediately after finishing Betty’s career memoir Here We Go Again: My Life In Television. As much as I enjoyed Here We Go Again, If You Ask Me knocked my socks off. This was the Betty White I was expecting in the previous audiobook. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) is a much more personal account of Betty’s many wise and humorous philosophies.
It showed much more detail and there was also a lot more name-dropping, which is always entertaining. Betty’s love of animals was also evident in If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) and she even admitted to turning down roles if animal cruelty was a source of comedy. The amount of intimate detail provided in this audiobook is exactly what I thought was lacking in Here We Go Again and I’m so glad that I decided to give this one a try.
Betty gave her opinion on almost every topic, from hair color and plastic surgery to death and old age. I said in my previous review that my admiration of her grew tenfold after learning of her dedicated work ethic. Now I must say that it has grown twice that after being given this glimpse into her inner self.
She gives the listener much more access to her life in If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), opening up about the death of her parents, her husband, her pets, and her decision to pursue a career instead of motherhood. I particularly appreciated how she approached the latter subject. It wasn’t from a place of defensiveness or justification, but personal philosophy (in line with the entire book). She emphasized that a decision such as that is an extremely personal one that everyone must make for themselves.
The format of this audiobook was extremely unique. Each chapter was only a few minutes long and focused on a different topic. The audiobook almost sounded like it was comprised of a collection of soundbites. Let’s face it, Betty White is an extremely quotable person. I especially enjoyed the format and I feel that it was executed very well. Each chapter seemed to exist as its own entity, yet they were all arranged to provide a “flow” throughout the audiobook. It didn’t feel choppy or discombobulated at all. In fact, I think this arrangement made for an even more convenient listening experience.
This is an audiobook that could be easily listened to during a commute or around the house. It requires very little effort to follow along and never had to compete for my attention. Even though I preferred this audiobook to its predecessor, I don’t think I could have enjoyed this one quite so much without the other. However, I don’t think it is necessary to hear them both in order to enjoy either one. If you are more interested in Betty the woman than Betty the icon, I would overwhelmingly recommend If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t). But you really can’t go wrong either way. Betty White is a national treasure!
Narration review: I made a mental note about halfway through the audiobook to point out the level of emotion in Betty’s voice as she narrated this audiobook. Whenever I review an audiobook, one question I always ask myself is “What can be gained from listening to this audiobook that cannot be gained from reading the physical version?”. In this case, the clear emotion in Betty’s voice as she recounted losing one of her beloved pets evoked a similar reaction in myself. As her voice began to break, I thought I would break down in tears thinking of my own furry darlings.
That’s the sort of thing that can’t come across on page. And, as I’m learning to appreciate, it also can’t be found in fiction audiobooks. That was such a genuine moment of narration and I feel honored that Betty allowed it to be shared with her listeners instead of being dubbed over. She certainly is a class act! ♣︎