Roberts, who plays Marie Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, uses her TV character’s preoccupation with food to underscore her own needs in this memoir. Her autobiography isn’t a sexy tell-all, but it’s honest and life-affirming. Roberts was desperate for love and attention. What she got was a hardscrabble childhood, two tough marriages and a career she adored. She repeats her mantra-“I am a survivor”-throughout the book, along with her recipes. These delectable treats-lasagna, chicken crepes, flourless chocolate cake-match moods or milestones in her life. It’s a cute, though not innovative, way of breaking up her tale. Roberts’s dad left at her birth, her indifferent grandparents raised her in the Bronx, and her mother never paid her a compliment. Still, by age 11, she decided to be an actress, and she got some terrific breaks, due as much to talent as tenacity. That she pursued her dreams while raising a son is laudable, especially with little help from her family. A hardworking actress fond of peppering her prose with homilies (e.g., “If you want life to surprise you, you’ve got to be open to it rather than defending against it”), Roberts saves the best part of her saga-the early years, the struggle, the triumphs-for the last third of the book. Still, readers will applaud her victories, even if the recounting is less than stellar.
Actress Roberts weaves together recipes from her own kitchen with anecdotes from her life in show business to construct this effusive memoir. The Emmy-winning actress who plays the mother-in-law from hell, Marie Barone, on the hit television show Everybody Loves Raymond, tells stories from her life, along with lessons she has learned during her 40-year career, two marriages, various love affairs, and struggle to raise her son while building a successful acting career. Fans of the show will know that the character of Marie Barone is quite feisty; Roberts takes on that persona as narrator of this book, and she delivers spirited and amusing opinions on motherhood, ageism in Hollywood, seniors’ sex lives, other people’s cooking, and more. Her sure-to-be-in-demand memoir includes complete recipes for several Italian dishes. Casual readers, who know Roberts only from seeing her here and there on various TV shows and in supporting roles in movies, will enjoy the book, certainly, but Roberts’ fans (and fans of the show) will get the most out of it.
In Are You Hungry Dear?, Doris Roberts takes her signature line from the show and makes it her own in a book that pairs hilarious stories and dramatic turning points from her fascinating life with delicious recipes from her kitchen. She shares the lessons learned in two marriages and numerous love affairs, her struggles with her own family, and her heroic efforts to build a career and raise a son on her own. Readers will love feisty, judgmental, and opinionated Marie Barone will see how Doris is all that and more: tough, sweet, brave, direct, and vibrant. Readers will embrace the unforgettable life of this very open star, and relate to the issues-like ageism in Hollywood, sex in the senior years, and her daughter-in-law’s imperfect meat sauce-that Doris cares about so passionately. Are You Hungry Dear? is for everyone who loves a laugh, a great recipe, and a true inside glimpse of the life of a very approachable star
With wry humor and good sense, the Emmy-winning Italian-American Mom of Everybody Loves Raymond offers advice, recipes, and reminiscences about personal and professional good and bad times. This is not one of those linear memoirs that proceed from humble birth to exalted present. Instead, Roberts sidetracks here, detours there, but cumulatively offers up a lively if discursive account of her life. She accompanies each chapter with an appropriate recipe, usually an example of good Italian home cooking like her potato salad or lasagna.
Beginning with an assessment of Marie, the character she plays in the hit comedy, Roberts revisits particular times, experiences, and relationships. Now in her 70s, expected when young to marry early and stay home raising the children, she admits to loving Marie because if things had turned out differently she too could have been such an overbearing mother.
In other chapters, Roberts describes the unusual annual Christmas party she throws for the cast (“the greed party, where guests scheme to get the gifts they want”), recalls how she landed the part; and expresses the satisfaction she gets from still being able to work. Without self-pity she describes a lonely childhood: her taciturn, critical, and divorced mother had to work, and Doris was left with grandparents who regarded her as imposition. Only an uncle gave her a sense of worth that enabled Roberts to survive her first marriage (to a man she supported while he went to law school) and difficult early attempts to become an actress.
Her second husband was the love of her life, she has one son and three grandchildren, and she happily details the joys of motherhood. She seasons everything with insights shepicked up along the way: the value of perseverance, a positive attitude (think pink rather than angry red), and accepting who you are. An agreeable visit with a chatty old friend.