This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett
Published by: Crown Publishing Group
Published on: April, 2010
Page Count: 288
Genre: Memoir / Personal Essays
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased in CD format from my local Barnes & Noble store
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
This Time Together is a collection of Carol Burnett’s memories from her life. This book sprang from her question and answers tour, similarly to how she used to open The Carol Burnett Show each week. Since she won’t be performing this show much any more, she tried to answer some of the questions she’s answered over time for those who haven’t seen her show.
I have loved Carol Burnett for as long as I can remember. Although I was alive when her comedy sketch show was originally taping, I’m quite sure I watched them in reruns because I had a strict 8pm bedtime until I was in junior high. It was her “Went With the Wind” sketch that first brought Gone With the Wind to my radar screen and for that I’ll be forever grateful for that introduction. What I love the most about that show was how Tim Conway could always make the other comedians laugh when they weren’t supposed to. Some of my favorite characters were Ms. Awiggins, Tim Conway’s dentist, and, of course, the main characters in the Mama sketches. I think those sketches highlight just how extremely talented that group was. The dynamics between Mama, Eunice, and Ed were hilarious and priceless.
When Ms. Burnett published her biography in the 1980s, I remember reading it with my mom. I loved the story of her and her beloved grandmother. I wasn’t mature enough to fully understand exactly what delighted me about Carol Burnett then, but isn’t a wonderful to read about a person who makes lemonade out the lemons instead of just being bitter? Remembering how much I enjoyed One More Time, I was excited to hear that she would publishing another book. I meant to pre-order it, but it slipped my mind. It’s all just as well because when I saw it at Barnes & Noble displayed along with the audiobook, I noticed that she did her own narration. I walked out of the store with the audiobook and started listening immediately.
Here are the highlights:
- Carol Burnett is the epitome of class and grace. Of all the people she’s ever known and all the things she’s seen, she only shines a spotlight on what is good, fun, and heartfelt. There are a few sections where she had to point out quirks in people’s characters to completely tell a story, but she never names them. She doesn’t have a negative word to say about anyone. What a decent and stand up woman she is. Her lasting legacy will be laughter, love, and friendship. Those who feel the need to tear others down to lift themselves up should look to Carol Burnett before publishing a memoir or autobiography.
- The chapter about meeting John Steinbeck cracked me up. If you’ve ever met an author you admired, you will relate to Burnett’s story and see yourself in it.
- I love it when people are as obsessed with their soap operas the way I was (was only because it was cancelled)! If you’re a fan of soaps or just like a laugh at their expense, Carol Burnett’s story about keeping up with All My Children will really tickle you.
- There are many touching moments in This Time Together. When she speaks of her late daughter Carrie it is clear how much she loved her daughter and how much she appreciated the moments she had to spend with her. The most touching part of the book for me revolved around her story about Kathy, a sick young girl she met toward the end of her life. Unfortunately I had to stop listening to that story just at the end because I had to get to a meeting. If I’d been able to listen to it all the way through I would have been crying like a baby when it was all done. As it was, it took me a second to stop the tears.
- Several years ago Tim Conway and Harvey Korman came to perform at our local Civic Center. Danny and I knew it was something we wouldn’t want to miss. I am glad that we went, but it was apparent how much they’d aged from their heyday. It shouldn’t have been shocking because those shows premiered nearly 30 years ealier, but a shock it was. I am still so thankful to have had that opportunity to see them in person. They are part of what shaped my sense of humor and just thinking about them makes me smile. Carol Burnett did moreso. I suppose you don’t think of your icons as mortal because I got a little of the same sense listening to This Time Together. Carol Burnett sounded just like Carol Burnett, but you can hear the age in her voice. This might be a touch sad, but she has lived her life well and without regrets. Who could ask for anything more.
My Final Thoughts
If you are a fan of Carol Burnett, you must read this book. You’ll feel like you were able to attend one of her Question and Answer shows. Listening to her read the book made this feel even more intimate. I enjoyed every minute I spent with Carol listening to her stories. I plan on passing this along to my mother and grandmother. It is sure to be a treat for every Carol Burnett fan in your life.
I’m publishing this review as part of Audiobooks Week, coordinated by Devourer of Books.