Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Time Together by Carol Burnett


This Time Together:  Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett is one of those rare celebrity memoirs where you feel like you are sitting in a room, perhaps across a table enjoying a cup of coffee and just listening to these wonderful stories.  The chapters are short so it is an easy book to dip into and walk away from without feeling you are going to forget or miss anything.  Some of the stories Burnett shares are poignant and touch the heart.  But most, and thankfully, the stories are funny and often self-deprecating without being exploitative.

There are many behind the scene moments although the focus remains mostly on relationships.  Her friendships and celebrity encounters give her a wealth of possible stories to share, no doubt, and her choice to only share those that will most honor the person about whom she is speaking is lovely.  Even when the story borders on the weird (and in my opinion the Joan Crawford chapter was a little uncomfortable for me and I wonder if it was as uncomfortable for Burnett) or wild (like pretending to be making out in a hallway when . . . well, I won't give too much away), Burnett never shares anything that would embarrass the other person so much as herself.

I didn't grow up with a television but I spent enough Saturday nights sleeping over at my friend's home to see some episodes of The Carol Burnett Show, including the famous "Went With the Wind" one.  I remember her opening routine of inviting the audience to ask her questions. And of course, the ear tug that concluded every episode when she and the other members of her comedy team would sing "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together" and then take their bows.  I'm glad I read this book and it's nice to know that Burnett is glad she had this time together with more and more people each and every year.  I look forward to sharing her with my children's children and maybe I'll remember to share some of my glad time stories with them while I'm at it.

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