6/6/17

Golden Memoirs: Reading the Books of The Golden Girls




I'm a huge fan of The Golden Girls. I watch it nearly every single night. I find the show to be wildly relevant even 24 years after it last aired. I wrote about the show during my undergrad because I found it to be such a wonderful example of a variety of different social issues. I also appreciate how it represents a less than traditional household composition. The show makes me laugh even if its an episode I've seen twenty times before, but I can also pick it apart and nerd out on it. There's just so much to analyze!

I wanted to further my knowledge of the cast members I have grown so accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis, so I decided to check out some of the books they have published. I ended up reading Estelle Getty's book, Rue McClanahan's and one of Betty Whites. Unfortunately Bea Arthur never wrote a book and there aren't any unofficial biographies to be had (that I know of, anyway!). I've learned over the years that I quite enjoy reading biographies/memoirs so it was fitting to read theirs.

The first one I read was Estelle Getty's If I Knew Then What I Know Now...So What? All three books are dated of course, and were written during/following the success of The Golden Girls, so it's important to keep that in mind and it actually makes for an interesting read in my opinion. It's sort of like traveling back in time, or opening a time capsule and I found it enjoyable to step back into the past. Estelle plays perhaps the most popular and well known character on the show: Sophia Petrillo. While much of the zingers written on the show come from the writers, that same humor is evident in Estelle herself. Reading her book was a quick and enjoyable read and I would certainly give it a thumbs up. It's difficult to read the book and not think of Sophia, but regardless, the book is full of laughs. I also learned quite a bit about Estelle Getty and she truly led a fascinating and action filled life.

The next book I tackled was Rue McClanahan's My First Five Husbands and the Ones That Got Away. I honestly found this book to drag quite a bit in the beginning, but once I got into it, things got a bit better. It's not that it was a boring book to read - having an interest in the actors kept me engaged enough, but it was just so action packed with names, dates and places and sometimes I felt that McClanahan drifted from one person or topic to another. After giving it some time, things started to go more smoothly and I enjoyed learning more about the woman I personally only knew as Blanche. There is always so much more to an actor than just one of their characters and Rue had really been everywhere, and seen it all. It was fascinating to enter into her world for a bit.

Lastly, I read a book by Betty White. Betty has quite a few books under her belt and I really felt overwhelmed trying to choose just one to start from. I ended up going for Here We Go Again, which chronicles her personal life and her career in television stretching a bit past The Golden Girls. All of the women involved with the show led such interesting lives both personally, and in show business, it is amazing to read their stories. Betty's love for animals (and Rue's for that matter) hits a soft spot with me as a fellow Animal lover and I loved all the photos Betty included in her book - I think more photos would have actually been nice in the other two books. Betty White is the lone surviving Golden Girl and I found myself often wondering what her life is like now and what stories she would tell if she were to write another book.

I enjoyed reading all three memoirs and I would definitely pick up another of Betty White's books...I'm just not sure which to pick up next! If you're a Golden Girls fan, then I encourage you to get to know the actors who took on these unforgettable roles! They're all worthwhile reads and I can't pick a favorite!


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