Book Review - "Audition" by Barbara Walters
I've always liked Walters well enough, and this book may have made me like her a bit less. Although her professional accomplishments are spectacular, no question, I found her - at least the way she presents herself in this book - to be rather shallow. For example, I am bothered that she goes out of her way to not reveal her age (she'll be 79 in September) when anyone can do what I did and Google it! Hell, if I were 79 and looked the way she looks and was still working in my chosen profession I'd holler it from the roof tops!
The story of her professional trajectory is fascinating because of the barriers she broke down without really meaning to - she just did it. She talks about a lot of the interviews she had with a plethora of fascinating people, and I found myself remembering them. When put all together the way they're presented in the book, you realize she really has interviewed practically anyone who was anyone in the last 40 years! A clear representation of that is the inside of the front and back covers where the names of all the people she's interviewed are listed alphabetically - very cool.
Not only did she interview important people, in some cases, she actually played small parts in the actual history, serving as a go-between or delivering messages. Again, very cool. Also, in addition to describing the interviews, getting the interviews, etc. she also provides a brief historical overview, enough so that we can understand why the interview was significant and what the ramifications were.
Despite her exposure to the world however, she came across to me as somewhat naive and rather old-fashioned in some aspects. She is after all a woman of her generation and although I'm not in any way saying she's a racist, at points she views and reacts to racial issues as a person of her generation would, and it's a little jarring - at least to me. And although she's obviously clever, she doesn't strike as particularly intelligent.
There's also the matter of her affairs with married men (yes there was more than one) that personally disappoints me. However, she is very honest about her difficulties raising her daughter, her inability to maintain a marriage, and her inability to deal in a healthy manner with her family's issues.
I definitely recommend the book and encourage everyone to not be intimidated by the length of the book - again it is very easy to read and will bring back a lot of memories - as Walters has been witness to a lot of history.
By the way, I don't care what she says - I still think she slept with Fidel Castro!
Labels: Book review