Biographies, biographers, and interesting people

Archive for December, 2015

Ali Wentworth’s “Happily Ali After”

Ali WentworthI admit that part of my interest in Ali Wentworth’s memoir Happily Ali After was the fact that she is married to George Stephanopoulos. I’ve often wondered about that partnership. As an outsider judging from what I’ve seen of them on TV, they seem totally different. First there is George, who chooses his words so carefully. Then there is Ali. The few times I’ve seen her on various talk shows, I felt like there was no way of anticipating what would come out of her mouth. Almost anything seemed possible.

It turns out that my judging the relationship of two people I don’t even know was playing right into Chapter 4 of Ali’s book. All of the chapters begin with a quote. Chapter 4 starts with this one by Walt Whitman: “Be curious, not judgmental.” It seems that Ali, like me, has been guilty of judging someone from what she saw on TV and on the Internet. In her case it was Kendall Jenner, but when their paths actually crossed, Kendall surprised Ali.

I don’t expect I’ll ever meet Ali, but reading her book has helped me see her in a different light. There have been times when I watched her on TV and felt like I just did not “get” her humor, but her book is laugh out loud funny. I started it thinking I would read one chapter at the end of each day. It would be my reward for having a productive day even if the day was not as productive as I had hoped. After a couple of chapters, I was rewarding myself with three chapters a day. By that time, I was hooked. I ditched my rewards system altogether and just sat down and finished the book.

I enjoyed Ali’s humor, but I was also impressed with her insights into situations I had also experienced. As I read her thoughts about exercising, aging, and family, I realized that I actually had some things in common with her. I especially appreciated what she wrote about Ali McGraw’s famous line from Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” I’ve always felt that is the worst line ever. In my world, love requires lots of apologies. I was happy to learn that someone else feels the same way.

I also liked the chapters where Ali wrote about her husband. I’m sticking with my first impression that they are very different, but I no longer wonder how they manage to stay married. Ali uses some great anecdotal information that clearly shows they care about each other and appreciate their differences.

There are some sections of the book that fall into the category of too much information for my comfort zone, but I give Ali props for being honest. I didn’t read her first book, Ali in Wonderland, but I plan to rectify that.

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