Would you? Or wouldn't you?
When I first read Barbars Walters' revelation, in her new memoir Audition, that she'd had a fling with then-Senator and then-married Edward Brooke back in the, what, 70's? I thought, gee. Why would you tell that?
Last night, I was intereviewed for a tv show,and as the host and I were chatting pre-interview, she asked me what I thought about it. Well, I adore Barbara Walters. Any woman who works in television, as I do, has got to bow down and applaud (if that's possible at the same time) one of the real pioneers in the field. No question, without Barbara, there's no Hank on TV.
So I start from the position of "she knows what she's doing." And I'm grateful.
Still. I was thinking about Senator Brooke's (now-deceased) first wife, and how the book would make her family feel. And what about Senator Brooke himself? The essence of a clandestine affair is that it's secret--for reasons of, well, all that. So why, I wondered, would she decide to reveal it?
Well, to sell books, the interviewer said. And that's certainly happening. Then she said to me--how far would you go to sell boooks? What would you tell? Then she smiled, twinkling, and said: I'm going to ask you that in the interview.
I'm usually pretty cool doing interviews, but I've got to tell you, I backed way off of that one. No! I said. Please don't.
And she didn't. But it got me thinking, and now, I think I've changed my mind.
We all know (cf James Frey and that not-gang woman) that if youre writing a memoir, you can't make things up. And I wonder if it's just as true that you also can't leave things out. Leaving something out means you're not a realiable memoirist, right? If you leave out the affair with the Senator, what else have you decided wasn't for public consumption? And if you've leavin' stuff out, why do I want to read your book?
Barbara Walters is a good journalist, agreed? And she knows how to tell a story. So all in all, I think I'm deciding she made the right decision. Um, for her.
What do you think?