loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #01: Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters
My very first book review ever! This review refers to the *unabridged* audiobook version of Audition: A Memoir narrated by Bernadette Dunne. There is another audiobook available – an abridged version, read by Barbara Walters herself, which I have not listened to.
I really knew nothing about Barbara Walters’ personal life and hadn’t thought too seriously about her work, besides irregular watching of 20/20, her interview specials (Oscar Night Specials and 10 Most Fascinating People) and even less often, The View. But, I’ve paid enough attention to know that she is a well-respected broadcast journalist who has interviewed, not only celebrities, but many important political personalities as well, so I was interested to learn more about her life and personal feelings about the people she interviewed. I wasn’t disappointed.
This was one of the longest audiobooks I’ve listened to at 26 hours and 46minutes (624 pages in the print version), but it kept me interested much more than I expected. Bernadette Dune does a wonderful narration job, sounding similar enough to Barbara in maturity to have the same feel, while leaving out the quirks of Barbara’s voice and speaking style which I think I would have tired of well before the end. Bernadette is also a talented voice actor for reading the quotes from a variety of different well-known people from Barbara’s personal and professional life.
Barbara begins by introducing her mentally challenged, older sister Jackie – a subject she has been very private about before. This sets the tone of the personal aspects of the book with Barbara looking at her family-life from her earliest memories forward with the maturity of hindsight and the courage to reveal her own faults and, at times, selfishness. I found the the stories of her father’s great successes and failures and the toll on the family interesting and revealing. And to me, the details of Barbara’s marriages, other relationships with men and the challenges of motherhood vs. career, made her seem more human than her TV persona.