Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Semester Break Read


I spent the last couple of days reading Barbara Walters’ memoir, Audition – a 400-page thick book about this respected journalist whom I greatly admired. Released in June last year, I found her self-written memoir a very good read, a rare adjective for memoir/autobiographies which could be dreadfully boring most of the time. Though her memoir lacked of fancy words and redundancy in story-telling, it was a very entertaining and inspiring read and as if listening her talking to an old friend and she had no trouble name-dropping those involved in the matter she talked.

I didn’t grow up watching Barbara Walters on her ‘Today’ show on NBC while she was still in the network prior 1974. I knew her from her talk show ‘The View’ and I had an opportunity to read an excerpt from her memoir sometime last year in Vanity Fair (the one with Bobby Kennedy’s picture on the cover) and instantly I got a gripped on it.

What really made me connected to her story was about being seen as this perfect, no problem figure by people around when actually they know nothing about you. It was like standing in a glass box, as she recalled, and all they could see was the superficial side. “You could scream at the top of your lungs, telling them ‘It’s not like what it seems’ but they couldn’t hear a thing and you’ll continue being you, as perceived by their eyes.”

It was quite a refreshing read, after having a couple of breakdowns on my own. Being a huge bundle of sadness, misery, anger, frustration for some of the people around me. How to have a family who only knows how to text you whenever they feel like and not knowing how I’d been or even where I lived. Indeed, it was frustrating and sad on top of it all, especially when you hoped they would care more and show that they care instead of just saying some easy words, but they didn’t.

At least from her memoir, I knew someone else had been through quite a similar situation before, only tougher. But her family wasn’t screwed up, instead the people around her, the public, co-worker (whom publicly revealed that he despised her) and others. She showed how perseverance really paid off in the end and how the brightest sun always shines after the worst storm has passed.

Now the only thing is, to remain strong and stand tall. If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it. Amen.

Barbara Walter’s , Audition: A Memoir is available now and distributed by Knopft.

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