With wry humor and good sense, the Emmy-winning Italian-American Mom of Everybody Loves Raymond offers advice, recipes, and reminiscences about personal and professional good and bad times.
This is not one of those linear memoirs that proceed from humble birth to exalted present. Instead, Roberts sidetracks here, detours there, but cumulatively offers up a lively if discursive account of her life. She accompanies each chapter with an appropriate recipe, usually an example of good Italian home cooking like her potato salad or lasagna. Beginning with an assessment of Marie, the character she plays in the hit comedy, Roberts revisits particular times, experiences, and relationships. Now in her 70s, expected when young to marry early and stay home raising the children, she admits to loving Marie because if things had turned out differently she too could have been such an overbearing mother. In other chapters, Roberts describes the unusual annual Christmas party she throws for the cast (“the greed party, where guests scheme to get the gifts they want”), recalls how she landed the part; and expresses the satisfaction she gets from still being able to work. Without self-pity she describes a lonely childhood: her taciturn, critical, and divorced mother had to work, and Doris was left with grandparents who regarded her as imposition. Only an uncle gave her a sense of worth that enabled Roberts to survive her first marriage (to a man she supported while he went to law school) and difficult early attempts to become an actress. Her second husband was the love of her life, she has one son and three grandchildren, and she happily details the joys of motherhood. She seasons everything with insights she picked up along the way: the value of perseverance, a positive attitude (think pink rather than angry red), and accepting who you are.
An agreeable visit with a chatty old friend.