Picks and Pans Review: Betty White: in Person

UPDATED 01/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

by Betty White

Is there a single writer, however gifted, who thinks his literary success qualifies him for a role on a television series? Okay, then please explain why TV stars, in this unfortunate instance Betty White of The Golden Girls, believe their abilities as actors qualify them to be authors? Video does not equal vision. The scattershot impression left by this book is that the author emptied the contents of her head onto a table (available evidence suggests that it was a snack table), typed it and sent it in to her publisher. Neither an autobiography nor a memoir, In Person is simply Betty White's view on a number of subjects: on names, on name-dropping, on awareness, on things she hates, on anger, on jealousy, on guilt, on love, on friendship and on and on. Here is White on "Measured honesty": "Keep the other person's well-being in mind when you feel an attack of soul-purging truth coming on." Here is White on saving things: "We all have different things that we save for a variety of reasons." Is everybody taking notes? And here is White on people-watching: "Ever looked up into a clear blue sky and followed a contrail to its source...a tiny speck that you know is an airplane. It never fails to intrigue me...realizing that inside that tiny speck there are people eating, drinking, working, dozing. For a few hours that speck is their world." This volume is sufficiently vacuous to make Vanna Speaks, those recent musings of another TV White, seem Shavian by comparison. (Doubleday, $15.95)

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