Wow! That title automatically makes one think that this book is about something in the arts, like acting, until you notice who the book is by: Audition by Barbara Walters.
Yep, that’s right, she was in the arts, sort of. This book is a fascinating read. I honestly expected it to be all political and newsy with a little bit of childhood background but Ms. Walters managed to write a memoir about a real human being, just like anyone else. People tend to think of celebrities or the like in an out-of-reach or bigger-than-life perspective and cannot really relate to them. This book, however, really connects to the real Barbara Walters as she lets it all hang out. She talks about her true feelings about her sister (which was hard for me because once upon a time I can remember that I, too, felt that way about my mother), her dating (she dated Alan Greenspan, yes, that one!) and married life PLUS her affair (which surprised me a little but is relatable), her devotion to her parents, especially the ups and downs of her father’s businesses, her struggles with having a baby, and her trek to the top (a woman journalist in a man’s world). She is shy and insecure too. Imagine that! A powerful woman like Barbara Walters, shy? I am shy too, to a certain degree.
She does write about the people she interviewed over the years and what fascinated me about those passages is that there were tidbits about the interviewees’ personalities, these powerful people we know only from the five o’clock news: A young Fidel Castro, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, and Richard Nixon, whom she was evidently close to, among others, all of which she brought to life with little tidbits about their person. For example, when she was going to interview Anwar Sadat she noticed, “a slight, bemused man sitting on one of the empty boxes our television equipment had come in, puffing on a pipe and watching his sitting room being transformed by the crew setting up the cameras and microphones, monitors and lights. There were no security guards, aides, or secretaries around him. The president of Egypt was simply taking in the scene.”
I love the title of her book too because of what it means to her. She viewed her life as an audition, each step, each challenge, each venture. Being a woman in a man’s world in those days must have been tough because she writes about how tough it was to get equal pay or more, or to get on-air alone without a male host, things like that. Wow.
Being an experienced, well-educated journalist she opted to use simple English, that is, so many journalist types tend to use over-the-top language and big words to make their work more elite and interesting. She didn’t do that which made the book that much better to read.
Ok, the book is lengthy and you have to be really interested in her in order to even begin reading this long book. I have to admit that the beginning is a little tiring because any memoir will usually start with the author’s background or childhood and it tends to get a little boring if it was from way back when, like with this one that started in the 30′s. I don’t even know what that is! If it is someone who was born a little closer to your age, you can probably relate a little better. But still, that background in this case is relevant throughout the book and I admire that she kept her life ongoing regarding her childhood friends, family, and parents. I would highly recommend this book because it is so fascinating, a little history if you will from a journalist’s true perspective with a touch of humor. It’s not a boring book, I guarantee that, if you like this type of read. I will admit that I was originally interested in this book because I saw a preview of it on Good Morning America where she reveals that she had an affair with a US Senator. What??? Squeaky clean Barbara Walters? Hey, we’ve got to get our interests from somewhere, right? LOL!!!