A Q&A with Ali Wentworth and her mother, Muffie Cabot
Ali: Were you nervous when I first gave you the book to read?
Muffie: YES! I was! Because everyone has a view of their childhood that is very different from the parent’s view of their childhood and I didn’t know what to expect…
Ali: Anything you would change?
Muffie: Not a thing (clears her throat), but I believe in the old Japanese tale of Rashomon, in which everyone’s view of an incident is different.
Ali: Not sure what you’re talking about, but okay.
Muffie: It’s an old, wise, Japanese…
Ali: (interrupting) Anything surprised you?
Muffie: Well yes, quite a bit. Of course, everything is laced with humor. I don’t remember things the way you do.
Ali: No? Like what?
Muffie: I didn’t know about some of the babysitter’s behavior.
Ali: Like the one who sold heroin out of our house?
Muffie: Yes, like that one.
Ali: Or the one who stole your only son’s virginity?
Muffie: Is this what we’re talking about today?
Ali: You’re right. Let’s move on. Mom, your favorite part?
Muffie: There’s so much I love.
Ali: Mom, go ahead, you can be honest.
Muffie: I love all the chapters about when you were a little girl. Before you went off to boarding school.
Ali: You mean when you shipped me off to boarding school?
Muffie: Not against your will…
Ali: The guy who assembled the straight jacket would beg to differ.
Muffie: Don’t print that; people will think it’s true.
Ali: I want them to.
Muffie: You learned a lot in boarding school.
Ali: It was women’s prison and I barely made it out alive.
Ali: What other parts did you like?
Muffie: Well, I wasn’t around as much when you were older…
Ali: And tried drugs?
Ali: Just once, Mom.
(Muffie is clearly uncomfortable)
Ali: Did the book seem accurate to you?
Muffie: Yes, but you’re a writer and you make events come to life that are your reality.
Ali: Meaning… it’s all BS?
Muffie: Just YOUR reality!
Ali: You had some comments after you read it?
Muffie: Yes, I did. I thought you needed to tone down the pee and fart references.
Ali: But that’s just human nature and happened during certain points in my life.
Ali: I get your point. Less is more.
Muffie: I also was protective of you and wanted you to make the ex-boyfriends less identifiable.
Ali: So they wouldn’t kill me?
Muffie: Well, that would be unfortunate.
Ali: Want me to write another book?
Muffie: Do you have to?
Ali: If I did, any ideas?
Muffie: When the muse strikes you!
Ali: I don’t understand that either. Do you think my siblings will like the book?
Muffie: They will laugh. Roll their eyes. Recognize you on every page.
Ali: Of your four kids, who’s your favorite?
Muffie: Do you actually think I’m going to answer that?
Ali: Do you want a percentage of sales, or not?