Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: It's Always Something by Gilda Radner

Title: It's Always Something
Author: Gilda Radner
Source: Purchased
Genre: Memoir
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers

"I had wanted to wrap this book up in a neat little package. I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."

The world fondly remembers the many faces of Gilda Radner: the adamant but misinformed Emily Litella; the hyperkinetic Girl Scout Judy Miller; the irrepressibly nerdy Lisa Loopner; the gross-out queen of local network news, Rosanne Rosannadanna. A supremely funny performer, Gilda lost a long and painful struggle in May 1989 to "the most unfunny thing in the world"--cancer. But the face she showed the world during this dark time was one of great courage and hope. "It's Always Something is the story of her struggle told in Gilda's own remarkable words--a personal chronicle of strength and indomitable spirit and love undiminished by the cruel ravages of disease.

This is Gilda, with whom we laughed on Saturday Night Live: warm, big-hearted, outrageous, and real. This is Gilda's last gift to us: the magnificent final performance of an incomparable entertainer whose life, though tragically brief, enriched our own lives beyond measure.

~synopsis from Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I have always loved Gilda Radner. Her humor and ability to make people laugh, she was just one of the coolest people. When she wrote this book, she was facing a battle with ovarian cancer. Sadly, she did not survive this battle. But her story, what she went through and how she faced it with a determination in spite of her own insecurities and struggles, is one of the most amazing and empowering stories I’ve read. I’ve never dealt with cancer personally or with somebody I’m close to. After reading this, I can understand a lot more of the little details of what it feels like to have this directly affect you or someone you love.

She starts out with the story of her and Gene Wilder falling in love and getting married. I never knew much about it until now. As the book progresses, you can see how they were perfect for each other. There was much more to them than comedy. She goes on to talk about their attempts at conceiving a child, the various movies she and Gene were in together, their trips to France, and all about their dog, Sparkle. Then comes the time when she finds out she has cancer.

This part of the story is a rollercoaster of emotions. Gilda has major ups and downs when faced with her own mortality. After some time, she gives in and goes to a support group for people with cancer at a place called The Wellness Community. This is when her attitude changes. She becomes more optimistic and continuously says things to herself to keep upbeat and positive. She had a brief remission, but not much later the cancer returned. She kept thinking that she would be able to end this book on a positive note, that she fought cancer and won. At the end of the book, she still had cancer. But she mentions something from the middle of the book that one of her friends said to her, which I am going to share with you now:

"The more I protested about this ambiguity, the more Joanna pointed out to me that it was both a terrible and wonderful part of life: terrible because you can't count on anything for sure--like certain good health and no possibility of cancer; wonderful because no human being knows when another is going to die--no doctor can absolutely predict the outcome of a disease. The only thing that is certain is change. Joanna calls all of this 'delicious ambiguity.' 'Couldn't there be comfort and freedom in no one knowing the outcome of anything and all things being possible?' she asked. Was I convinced? Not completely. I still wanted to believe in magic thinking. But I was intrigued."

You can’t control everything. We all have to deal with unknowns. It’s not the thing any one of us wants to hear, but it’s life. We need to live it, and then face whatever comes to us when it comes to us.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading It’s Always Something. I only knew so much about Gilda Radner prior to this book, but after it, I know so much more about her. Gilda became a real person to me, someone I could have known personally and been great friends with. Her journey created in her an attitude to aspire to have. She never lost her sense of humor. Even though she faced moments of depression, she always pulled through in the end with something to laugh about. And that is something we all need, the ability to laugh despite difficulties.

My Rating:

Very Good: Stay up late

Here's one of the great Saturday Night Live sketches featuring the wonderful Gilda Radner in her hilarious glory. Enjoy!
My Rating:
Very Good: Stay up late


  1. I'm embarrassed to admit I'm not a hundred percent sure I know who this is but I can tell from your review that she was an awesome person whom I could learn from.

    1. I only got the chance to know who she was because of my Saturday Night Live obsession when I was younger. But, she was an awesome person. :)

  2. I think one of the hardest things for me to read about is personal illness. The people who write those books are so brave. If ever I were to read one of these books this would be the one. That quote is just amazing.

    1. I probably would have never read this if not for me admiring her. It is brave, the emotions involved are so intense. I'm glad you enjoyed the quote! :)


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