THE TIMES OF MY LIFE by Betty with Chris Chase Ford
Kirkus Star

THE TIMES OF MY LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Betty speaks out again. . . and although she doesn't add much to what's generally known, she knows how to make the most of it. She sees herself as ""an ordinary woman who was called onstage at an extraordinary time"" and suddenly became interesting to people. At the outset, this is the high-stepping story of Elizabeth Ann Bloomer: fearless at 14, a Herpolsheimer model at 18, dancing with Martha Graham at 20, and back home--after mother's finagling--at 23. Her first marriage soured quickly but then you-know-who showed up, and the rest is a Midwest to East Wing express, heavily anecdotal, with an added chapter (as yet unavailable) on her recent drugs-and-alcohol quandary. Betty is, as always, candid, but also cunningly selective: she covers the controversial stands that precipitated those ""Keep Betty in the White House"" buttons, sidesteps the Republican Convention balcony show, and misses only a few cues--what she thinks of Nixon's behavior or Ron Nessen's charges of her jealousy. Although she spotlights a few special occasions, she virtually ignores politics, and alludes to few politicians (the Rockefellers are ""old shoe""). Instead, there's a steady recap of campaign stops on the honeymoon, housekeeper Clara's pot roasts, the four children's follies, her short-term psychiatry, Jerry's comment their first night in the White House (""the best public housing I've ever seen""), and the loving-to-loony letters that followed her cancer surgery. From the start, the just-folksiness that distinguished her from her tight-lipped and more reserved predecessors comes shining through--a reflection of the woman herself and the sure-footed effort of her collaborator. Expect a big turnout at the polls.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row