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Ali in Wonderland Hardcover – February 7, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 396 customer reviews

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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.

Muffie: (Silence)

Ali: What other parts did you like?

Muffie: Well, I wasn’t around as much when you were older…

Ali: And tried drugs?

Muffie: (Silence)

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.

Muffie: Well…

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?

From Booklist

There is a moment in every woman’s life in which she becomes completely unzipped, demented, whacked, non compos mentis begins actress and comedienne Wentworth’s lively, laugh-out-loud memoir. Wentworth, perhaps best known for her role as Schmoopie in Seinfeld’s infamous Soup Nazi episode, has spent her life surrounded by characters so over-the-top she couldn’t possibly have made them up. Headlining the eccentric entourage is her drop-dead hilarious WASP mother, Muffie, who once served as President Reagan’s White House social secretary. (No-nonsense and seemingly free of neuroses, Muffie deals with any stressful situation by booking a room at the Four Seasons.) Wentworth, who is married to esteemed journalist George Stephanopoulos, may have been born inside the Beltway, but there’s no spinning in her candid commentary on psychotic roommates, persnickety bosses, and the well-fed family that hosted her during a summer in Spain. The clan’s patriarch, she writes, looked like Javier Bardem if Javier Bardem had swallowed Penelope Cruz. Fans of Amy Sedaris and Merrill Markoe will enjoy Wentworth’s warped weltanschauung and wicked wit. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061998575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061998577
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (396 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Lisa M VINE VOICE on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My first memory of seeing Ali Wentworth was when she was a regular on the Fox series IN LIVING COLOR. Since then, Ali has gone on to appear on shows such as Seinfeld, The Tonight Show and Oprah, as well as the films Jerry Maguire, Office Space and It's Complicated.

Ali has lived quite a colorful life. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., but after college she moved to L.A. to pursue her acting career. Later, she moved back to D.C. and eventually ended up in New York with her husband, George Stephanopoulos and 2 daughters.

Ali In Wonderland is part memoir, part essay collection and all funny. Written in groups of related topics, these stories reveal much about Ali's early years, living among the political world of our nation's capitol. I loved the style of writing and often felt as if she were speaking directly to me. She made me feel like it was a personal "girl's night" gossip session, where she revealed parts of her life reserved for very special friends.
One of my favorite stories was about an attempt to hand deliver a thank you gift to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, after attending a Christmas party at his home. I will not spoil it by giving it all away here, but it is quite humorous.
Ali said her mother taught her to always be gracious and send thank-yous. She proved she still follows that rule today, as when I posted on Twitter I was preparing this review, she responded by asking if she "should I send brownies?". (I promise my review was all thought out before the offer).

This was a very fast read for me and I found myself wishing it were longer. Maybe Ali will write a follow-up some day, telling tales of raising her daughters and more of her marriage to George. I am sure she has many more tales to tell.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't know what it is about Ali Wentworth I like so much-that she is clever, off the cuff, self-deprecating and hilarious? The facial expressions? The no-holds barred, ok, I'll try that kind of attitude, that gets her into "Lucy" kind of predicaments or what, but I have found her to be a great and underated comic. I have enjoyed her on her show "Headcase" as well as her spots on the Oprah show. I was hoping her book would be just as entertaining and it was.

Ali is the daughter of Reagan's Social Secretary and grew up in DC. She had a privileged upbringing and some of these tales make for some of the funniest chapters of her book. Her book doesn't necessarily run in any type of order and is not a memoir per se, it is short chapters of funny stories about her life. I think of it like having your best friend come over with a bottle of wine and you sit and play remember when......there are stories of her childhood, like when her older sister is recovering from major surgery and is in a body cast and decides to run away and her mother tells her to go too, so her sister won't be alone....Ali doesn't want to go, but doesn't want anything to happen to her sister so she hurriedly packs snacks, including a can of tuna, sans opener and dutifully treks behind her sister, but not too close... There is the story about the family she stays with in Spain and how the family needed a chicken for dinner and Ali, not understanding that they don't want her to "buy" a chicken, they need one to slaughter plays a curious games of charades until she figures it out.....there are stories about her internship at Christie's auction house and tales of her dates prior to George and how she and a friend once rented a house from Robert Englund (aka Freddy Kreuger in the Nightmare on Elm St. movies).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wonderful book by comedienne Ali Wentworth that I can only describe as part memoir, part monologue, with essayist thrown in.
Ali has managed to pop up all over the place for a number of years, but the turning point in my life re: Ali was when the "O" began her big exodus from her daily talkfest grind and handed the show over to a panel which included the bubbly and relatable Ali Wentworth on Fridays. I became a faithful Friday viewer and really looked forward to Ali's take on life, love, and current events. I was semi-amused when I realized Ali was married to George Stephanopolous. Suddenly I realized that George must be a pretty funny guy because he had Ali around.
This book was fun. Ali Wentworth writes as if she is talking to a friend. You feel like she is a gal pal and a very approachable one at that. Whether she talks about her politically involved family, growing up among power people in D.C., a summer spent in Spain as a teen or her mother who seems like quite a character, nothing is off limits. She looks for humor and irony in the mundane and ordinary, finding true love after some misfires, and odd/funny encounters with famous people. Regardless of what she is talking about, the end shot is going to be funny and very uniquely Ali Wentworth. That's the thing that makes her comedy and her standout. She appears to be a naturally funny person and has no qualms when it comes to making herself the joke.
Reading this book provided a great respite from the flurry of holiday activities and gave me the chance to relax and laugh. My only question is why this lady doesn't have her own tv show. Too busy I guess, but she is a real hoot.
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