Simon & Schuster Audio Division
Running Time: 6 Hours
Who doesn’t like Ricki Lake? She won everyone’s hearts as the original Tracy Turnblad in 1989’s Hairspray. She then came into everyone’s living rooms daily for over a decade in her self titled talk show and recently placed third on Dancing with the Stars. Her new autobiography, Never Say Never: Finding A Life That Fits, would have to be great, right? Right.
Ricki holds nothing back in talking about her past. She shares stories of abuse, her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her affairs, and of course, her weight.
One of Ms. Lake’s greatest appeals has always been her ability to be open and honest and that immediately makes her feel more like she’s your friend then some Hollywood starlet.
Like the title, the book is broken into chapters that all start with the title of something Ricki never thought she’d do or experience, good and bad. She’s very open about her feelings in the business and within her personal relationships without ever being vicious or gossipy. She’s very careful to be clear that she’s not telling anyone what to do, but only hopes that others may glean something useful from what she has gone through.
Body image is something that most women struggle with at some point in their lives and that is an area where Ricki is an expert. It’s hard enough to be a heavy-set young woman in our society, but when it’s in Hollywood, it’s almost a crime. The reader (or listener) goes inside Ricki’s head as the tough girl who embraces her heftiness on the outside, but is really struggling with who she wants to be on the inside.
I usually listen to audiobooks when I’m driving to and from work and I enjoyed hearing Ricki “talk” to me everyday. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend who was more than willing to tell me everything I missed. The introduction, read by John Waters, had me howling and Ms. Lake often had me giggling, shocked and empathic. I was also reminded how much I like her. I never saw much of her day-time talk show because I was at work and I’m not a fan of Dancing with the Stars so I missed that too. I was excited though to hear she’s revving up for a new talk show and I think I’m in.
As an audiobook I did find a couple of bothersome issues. In the beginning, some small sections of the reading sounded as if Ricki was shouting. This seemed to be a recording issue, like the equipment was set differently in some section. I literally jumped a bit while driving because suddenly Ricki seemed to be yelling at me. She has a nice soothing voice for the most part, but several times she stumbled over her lines and it seemed odd that those sections weren’t re-recorded. Were they rushed for time, or did they want to give a more “real” feel? It wasn’t a big deal.
Overall this was a very enjoyable autobiography and it’s a plus to hear a star tell their story to you. The only downside with an audiobook is you don’t get to see the photos that are usually in the middle of the book. I always enjoy this in Hollywood autobiographies, because I want to see the pictures when they were kids and from their private collections. Maybe publishers can start providing an online link when you purchase an audio book so that you can look at these? Just an idea.
**Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for providing a review copy and
Audiobook Jukebox for the hook up!