Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Ali in Wonderland

By Melissa Amster

**Giveaway is now closed**

Nowadays, it seems like almost every celebrity and their mother is writing an autobiography. There are almost too many to choose from! However, when I saw the cover and read the premise for "Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales" by Ali Wentworth, I knew I had to check it out. Was it because Jerry Seinfeld endorsed it? Maybe. Was it because it featured a fun-loving female shown jumping into a teacup? Most likely. I just knew it would be a great fit for our blog. Was I right? Read on and see for yourself!

Alexandra "Ali" Wentworth is a comic actress who has been featured on In Living Color, Seinfeld (as "Schmoopie" in the famous Soup Nazi episode) and Office Space (as Peter's ex-girlfriend who was clearly cheating on him). She grew up in Washington D.C. as the daughter of President Reagan's White House social secretary (whom apparently everyone knows) and eventually ended up back in the district when she married political and media star, George Stephanopoulos. However, her story isn't about how she got from point A to point B. It's about all her crazy adventures along the way, including prep school, living in L.A. and an internship in London.

I was definitely entertained by all of Ali's adventures in "Wonderland." She has a way of speaking to her readers where you'd think she was chatting with us over coffee. Her words just flow really well and she doesn't lose momentum. Each story she shares is more fascinating, and possibly crazier, than the next. Yet she infuses humor into every facet of her life, from her youth through motherhood. I never knew what she was going to say next. She didn't try to sound cheesy or sappy, but was instead candid and not afraid to make fun of herself or share the most embarrassing moments of her life. I had to wonder if some things were an exaggeration, but I went along for the ride nevertheless. Sometimes, I could totally relate to something she said and other times I saw how different we were and was able to appreciate those differences. She's definitely had her share of rough days and I give her a lot of credit for how she handled things. Ali is a tough cookie when she has to be!

I have to warn readers that you may not want to be eating while reading Ali's memoir. While she's not afraid to share all the "gory" details of everything that has happened in her life, some details are just a bit gorier than others. Just keep that in mind. It all depends on how much talk of bodily functions you can handle. (As a mom, I've already seen it all.) Also, since she doesn't say how she got from point A to point B, she leaves the story free to go in whichever order she prefers, which means she'll be nine years old in one chapter, thirty in the next and sixteen afterward. There's a lot of skipping around in time. It doesn't detract from the fun of the story, but if you were expecting a semblance of order, you won't find that here. These are vignettes from various parts of her life and they're told in the order that she sees fit for a memoir. Finally, if you were expecting to learn about how to become an actor or actress, this is not where you'll find answers. Ali shares everything about her life except the parts I was hoping to hear about. She delves into a little bit of her gig on In Living Color and talks about the acting troupe where she worked with Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow, but those are really just to set the scene, so to speak. I would have liked to hear more about what it was like to work with Jerry Seinfeld and have a role in one of the most iconic cult comedy films of all time. That's just the pop culture freak in me, but maybe if there are others who agree, we can beg her to write a sequel all about her Hollywood years.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to read "Ali in Wonderland," thanks to HarperCollins. I didn't really know much about Ali Wentworth, but now that I do, I could see myself hanging out with her if she's ever back in DC for a visit. (She moved lives in New York now.) Mind you, my stories would not be as fascinating as hers and I would just sit and listen to her talk the whole time. It was nice and refreshing to read about a celebrity who worked for her fifteen minutes of fame as opposed to people who appear on reality TV and somehow think that will make them a good writer. Overall, it was a fun read and I encourage readers to get to know Ali as well as I just did.

Your chance is right now, thanks again to HarperCollins, who is giving away THREE copies to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.

How to win "Ali in Wonderland":
Tell us which celebrity's memoir you'd like to read (even if it hasn't been written yet). Please leave your e-mail address or another way to contact you if you should win. One entry per person.

US/Canada only. Ends March 12th at midnight EST.

Check out the trailer, which captures the mood of the book:

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mep said...

Celeb memoir I'd like to read? Oprah's, if she ever writes one!

I'm like fiftieth on the list for Ali in Wonderland at my library so I would LOVE to win a copy. I've been looking forward to this book for months!

mep AT nottobrag DOT net

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read a memoir by Demi Moore.


Elissa said...

Maybe something by Reese Witherspoon...My email is :

Jonnie (JB) said...

I would love to read Jennifer Aniston's memoir. She is funny and has worked with so many people.

Stephanie said...

I love to read a memoir by Jason Segel.

StereoQueenBee said...

Perhaps something by Johnny Knoxville? I bet he's got some crazy stories!

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

rubynreba said...

I'd like to read a memoir by Garth Brooks. I think that their might be one out there.

Jeryl M. said...

I'd like to read a memoir by Madonna.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fun book.

i'm a follower, too

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Lilian said...

I would definitely like to read Jon Stewart's memoir (I think he published essays..but not a memoir yet)

AND one that actually exists (or will exist)

Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)'s memoir "Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir" which will be out in April.

Seeing book bloggers with the ARC makes me so envious that I wish I worked at Penguin.


bn100 said...

Betty White

Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) said...

I would love to read a few of my favourite Canadian musician's memoirs ... like Sarah Slean, Chantal Kreviazuk, or Hawksley Workman! Maybe one day ... :)

Thanks for the giveaway!


leonel said...

I would love to read Madonna's memoir, and I want it to be bitchy.

leonelescota AT Gmail

Cher said...

Kristen Wiig's memoir would no doubt be hysterical and smart, maybe she'll follow in the very funny footsteps of Samantha Bee, Mindy Kahling and Tina Fey and put together a book.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Krystal Lynn said...

I really want to read A Book by Desi Arnaz!

Kim W. said...

I would love to read a memoir by Jennifer Aniston!

And I love the cover of this book, btw! Awesome!

Erica said...

Hmmmmmm... maybe a memoir by Leonardo Davinci???

Does that count?

wordywon AT gmail DOT com

faithspage said...

Ashley Judd which has been written, and Pink's which hasn't been written.
kyfaithw at aol dot com

Dolly said...

I'd love to read a memoir by Jesus (how does one define 'celebrity'?) I'm all about the first-person account!

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

Nancye said...

I'd like to read a memoir written by Robin Williams.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Melissa said... chose 1, 15 and 19. Congrats to mep, Krystal Lynn and Dolly! :)

Dolly said...

Thanks!! I'm looking forward to this one!


Stephanie Hayes said...

This cover is so adorable.

Melissa said...

One of our winners did not respond to claim their prize, so we're picking again. chose #20. Congrats to Kim W!

Aging Ophelia said...

It should be noted here, that Wentworth also wrote and starred in an outrageously funny series of her own-- Head Case, which is without a doubt one of the most disturbed, and hilarious, shows I've ever seen.
It's available on Netflix, in fact:

And this is not spam, it's a correction to the article, from a fan of Ali's!

reiderses said...

I tried leaving a comment before the giveaway ended, but that's okay! Loved the review and can't wait to read the book... I can only hope that my name at the library comes up sooner rather than later!