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Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

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Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld “Schmoopie” days and h Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld “Schmoopie” days and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or baring the details of starting a family alongside husband George Stephanopoulos, one thing is for sure—Ali has the unsurpassable humor and warmth of a born storyteller with a story to tell: the quirky, flavorful, surprising, and sometimes scandalous Ali in Wonderland.“Ali Wentworth is funny and warm and crazy all at once. Like Barbara Eden. But on something. Like crystal meth.” —Alec Baldwin


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Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld “Schmoopie” days and h Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld “Schmoopie” days and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or baring the details of starting a family alongside husband George Stephanopoulos, one thing is for sure—Ali has the unsurpassable humor and warmth of a born storyteller with a story to tell: the quirky, flavorful, surprising, and sometimes scandalous Ali in Wonderland.“Ali Wentworth is funny and warm and crazy all at once. Like Barbara Eden. But on something. Like crystal meth.” —Alec Baldwin

30 review for Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Ali in Wonderland is Ali Wentworth's collection of stories from her childhood in Washington D.C. with her mother and stepfather all the way to her marriage and becoming a mother herself. Ali is at her best when she's remembering teenage hi-jinks. Some of her memories with her sister and boarding school pals are hysterical. Other stories are terrifying. Ali recounts walking to her car one night and being accosted by a gang. Or there was the time she hitched a ride with a man who was apparently very Ali in Wonderland is Ali Wentworth's collection of stories from her childhood in Washington D.C. with her mother and stepfather all the way to her marriage and becoming a mother herself. Ali is at her best when she's remembering teenage hi-jinks. Some of her memories with her sister and boarding school pals are hysterical. Other stories are terrifying. Ali recounts walking to her car one night and being accosted by a gang. Or there was the time she hitched a ride with a man who was apparently very drunk. But, once Ali moves from her childhood into adulthood, this memoir loses some of its luster. The chapters about meeting her husband for the first time, barfing continuously during pregnancy and why her children are special don't have the same draw as the rest of the tales. Maybe she started to run out of ideas? I don't know. But the last few chapters felt tacked on to me. Only recommended for big fans of Ali Wentworth. Side note: the author reads the audiobook herself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Britany

    I was first introduced to Ali Wentworth on the Oprah show and found her hilarious! When I saw that she wrote a book detailing her antics, I immediately added it. As entertaining as parts of it were, I found this similar to every actress/comedian out there publishing a book about random stories throughout their lives. Granted-- this is no ordinary life, however, they all start to run together. Good to listen to if you need a break from the heavier stuff out there, but nothing too amazing in this I was first introduced to Ali Wentworth on the Oprah show and found her hilarious! When I saw that she wrote a book detailing her antics, I immediately added it. As entertaining as parts of it were, I found this similar to every actress/comedian out there publishing a book about random stories throughout their lives. Granted-- this is no ordinary life, however, they all start to run together. Good to listen to if you need a break from the heavier stuff out there, but nothing too amazing in this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This was so amusing to read. It is a very quick read that is fun and entertaining. I am so glad I picked up Ali’s second book so I could start it right away because this was such a fun and amusing read. Wentworth is witty and highly funny.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    If you want to skip this whole review, I'll sum this up pretty quickly: Ali tries too hard. I've never actually heard of this person (this book was given to me as a plane-trip time-killer), but apparently she's some sort of B-list comedian. Apparently, though, now everyone - and I mean everyone thinks they can write a memoir. Including Ms. George Snuffleupagus. Okay. So Ali is trying to be funny, which is the only reason that Ali's book scrapes two stars. If this were actually a serious, actual me If you want to skip this whole review, I'll sum this up pretty quickly: Ali tries too hard. I've never actually heard of this person (this book was given to me as a plane-trip time-killer), but apparently she's some sort of B-list comedian. Apparently, though, now everyone - and I mean everyone thinks they can write a memoir. Including Ms. George Snuffleupagus. Okay. So Ali is trying to be funny, which is the only reason that Ali's book scrapes two stars. If this were actually a serious, actual memoir, it'd be bottom of the barrel. She takes serious topics and actions like doing drugs and gang rape and makes fun of them, and is blatantly anti-Semitic, homophobic and occasionally racist (in a reverse sense: every blonde character in the book is a Nazi German). For example, in describing a psychotic roommate she shared in boarding school, she says "Abigail would have been better served by joining a satanic cult or the Israeli army." One would then take from that that the Israeli army is equivalent to a satanic cult. Forgetting the numerous offenses, her other jokes and funny lines are actually very funny - to a third grader. Even as suggested by a review in the back cover, her other supply of jokes involve either urine, feces, or some other bodily fluid. The writing itself is atrocious. It's somewhere halfway between an actual book and a series of "Tall Tales" as she suggests, trying to carve it into separate stories, but they aren't in chronological order, and Chapter 1 falls directly before Chapter 15. The events aren't correlated at all, therefore making even more confusing. The French dude that proposed to her midway through the book wasn't mentioned until he did so, and many other characters were developed throughout courses of pages, but not fit into proper mini-plotlines as expected for a good short story or "tall tale." Ali herself as a person is irritating, too. She runs through therapists like she does marriage proposals, and if you've read the book you'll see what I mean. I'll give her credit that most of the said therapists are pretty crazy, but she goes to a last-stop group therapy clinic amongst the most depressed people in New York, and what does she have to be depressed about? A nice guy proposed to her (in an Irish castle with gourmet French food) and she rejected him, and he moved on a month or two after. In addition, she also complains. A lot. About "normal woman" things (probably because her publisher and editor were begging on their knees for her to find something that could appeal to the average American) like childbirth, marriage, and kids. And about the stupidest things: the first half the book is complaining about her rich-kid life in a mansion in the most expensive part of Washington, which apparently wasn't good enough for sleepovers. She pokes fun at the fact that her house's calls are intercepted during the Nixon regime, and thinks it funny that her sister had to have immense spinal surgery. I will give Ali credit that it doesn't seem like she has a ghost-writer, but you never know. And while she continues to boast (and complain) about growing up among senators, criticize cocaine-addicted boarding-school chicks, and wallow in the miseries of a continued amount of idiotic suitors, she fails in one prospect; her ability to make someone crack a laugh.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    I was really looking forward to reading Ali in Wonderland, but it was a big disappointment. I've really liked Ali Wentworth in everything I've seen her do on TV, but in her book I never got the laugh factory going and didn't know when to really believe in her written words or not. I now know this is not a serious memoir by any means. More of a collection of very unorganized zingers. I was hoping for more about her marriage to George. At the end of the book, I was more put off by her than I would h I was really looking forward to reading Ali in Wonderland, but it was a big disappointment. I've really liked Ali Wentworth in everything I've seen her do on TV, but in her book I never got the laugh factory going and didn't know when to really believe in her written words or not. I now know this is not a serious memoir by any means. More of a collection of very unorganized zingers. I was hoping for more about her marriage to George. At the end of the book, I was more put off by her than I would have ever imagined. If Ali wants to pretend she lived a middle-class life, I'll have to have her come and live with me to see what that would really feel like. Her upper class lifestyle is not something she has to feel bad about, just don't make it sound like such a meager existence to have to deal with. Really, an entire chapter devoted to complaining about tropical vacations? Poor little rich girl. I could handle the name dropping because in all honesty, that is what Ali was surrounded with. That was her reality. What I didn't like was the self-indulgent elitist poor little rich girl. Photos would have been appreciated. Keeping the mental illness topic to a minimum would have been appreciated. After all, George Stephanopolis declared he suffered from depression in 1996. Not something many people would come forward with. Very respectful that George did so. Proves mental illness is a big problem and if you have every suffered from it or had a loved one suffer, it would not be funny at all. I'm not saying I can't have a chuckle every now and then regarding mental illness, but it was the extent to which Ali went with it in her book and the manner in which she did so. I guess this book was not what I was expecting. I think Ali grew up very privileged and where I use to think she could relate to someone like me, I don't think that is the case after reading this book. What I would like to read is a serious memoir by Ali's mother Muffie Cabot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I fell in love with Ali Wentworth when Charlie Rose interviewed her to promote this book. She told Charlie that her husband, George takes their children to church every Sunday. Charlie asked if she joins them, she said, "Oh no, that's mommy time!" I instantly fell in love with her! Ali in Wonderland is a continuation of that conversation with a glimpse into her upper middle class up-bringing as the daughter of parents who worked in the center of Washington DCs power elite. Did you know that Dona I fell in love with Ali Wentworth when Charlie Rose interviewed her to promote this book. She told Charlie that her husband, George takes their children to church every Sunday. Charlie asked if she joins them, she said, "Oh no, that's mommy time!" I instantly fell in love with her! Ali in Wonderland is a continuation of that conversation with a glimpse into her upper middle class up-bringing as the daughter of parents who worked in the center of Washington DCs power elite. Did you know that Donald Rumsfeld talked baby talk to his dachshund? Her story about attempting to send him a gift is hysterical. She is fresh, self-deprecating with a great sense of humor. Granted she has led a charmed life, but she is down to earth with strong family values. It's a fast read and I highly recommend the audio book to get Ali's stories in her own voice.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    As an avid Seinfeld fan, I knew Ali Wentworth as Schmoopie in the well known "Soup Nazi" episode. Parenthetically, I might add that following foot surgery in 2004, I felt compelled to tell the nurses and my podiatrist the plot of the episode since I had seen it the night before. Who knows what kind of anesthesia they used but it was a doozy! Ali also appears in the hilarious, classic cult film, "Office Space." So I was expecting her book to be very funny, especially since Jerry Seinfeld himself As an avid Seinfeld fan, I knew Ali Wentworth as Schmoopie in the well known "Soup Nazi" episode. Parenthetically, I might add that following foot surgery in 2004, I felt compelled to tell the nurses and my podiatrist the plot of the episode since I had seen it the night before. Who knows what kind of anesthesia they used but it was a doozy! Ali also appears in the hilarious, classic cult film, "Office Space." So I was expecting her book to be very funny, especially since Jerry Seinfeld himself is quoted as saying, "Everything that comes out of Ali Wentworth's mouth is funny!" on the book jacket. Sadly, I found her book to be mildly amusing at best. I don't think I've ever been so mislead by the comments on a book jacket, which includes raves by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chelsea Handler. I didn't laugh out loud once and basically just kept reading with the hope that it would suddenly become funny, not because I was enjoying it. I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't shell out any money for it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

    Technically, there was nothing wrong with this book. The writing was fine. But it was, from beginning to end, a series of name-dropping party stories from a rich, marginally accomplished blonde who was as weightless as her photo on the cover and just as empty as the cup underneath her. Sigh. Perhaps since I read Bossypants, I expect too much. But if one is billed as a comedienne from In Living Color and apparently was funny enough to work alongside Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans, then her stories w Technically, there was nothing wrong with this book. The writing was fine. But it was, from beginning to end, a series of name-dropping party stories from a rich, marginally accomplished blonde who was as weightless as her photo on the cover and just as empty as the cup underneath her. Sigh. Perhaps since I read Bossypants, I expect too much. But if one is billed as a comedienne from In Living Color and apparently was funny enough to work alongside Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans, then her stories would be funny too. Nope. Not even one of them. The book opens up describing her emotional breakdown after accepting one of many marriage proposals. I thought that this would set the tone and trajectory of the book; that this memoir would be about her soul-searching through her upper middle class childhood to find out the root of her neurosis with plenty of jokes thrown in to make me laugh with her AND suffer with her. None of that happened. Instead she described her time in therapy in the vaguest of terms and quit attending voluntarily because once she got the prescription for Zoloft, she was fine as far as she was concerned. Her other stories were of her childhood, her time with her fascinating mother (the only interesting person in the whole book, IMHO) her time in boarding school, her time in LA and then back to Washington D.C. None of them were that entertaining or amusing. I thought that she worked way too hard to give me details, name-drop a celebrity or politician, set me up for some sort of punchline that would include her mother's biting comment, and then . . . . an anticlimactic ending. I'm sure all of these stories were much funnier around her dining room table with guests who were drinking more than I was. Her self-indulgent stories made me suspect I was reading the accounts of a narcissist. Let's see, is there the many, many accounts of bad behavior with little consequences? Yes! Is her description of the many men in her life based solely on their physical appearances, how much fun they had together and the money they spent on her? Yes! Does handle all of the big crises in her life, including the attacks of 9/11, by checking into the Four Seasons to be waited on hand and foot? Yes! Does she have anything but general ambivalence to the faith her staunchly Greek Orthodox in-laws? No! Does she accept a marriage proposal (her second by several men) just because it would be easier to say yes than no? Yes! Then, when the fiancee comes to meet her family does she treat him badly, have him stomp off and not really care? Yes! Does she pray? Meditate? Seek higher wisdom? Find out why she had an emotional breakdown? Regret any bad behavior? No, no, no, no and no. Maybe my standards are too high but I have a lot more respect for people who claim to be funny if they have some sort of depth. Anything would have helped. Really. Then, there was this bit of advice, which left me mortified: I believe that every woman should. sample all the different groups in the male food pyramid. That way, when you finally get married, you're never enticed by the fantasy of the sculpted yoga instructor who "gets you" or the Brazilian ex-husband of a gallery owner you met once at a Ben Nicholson retrospective. You've been there, you've done him. Marriage is like being on a perpetual fast, in that you don't have to waste all that time fantasizing about the curly fries if you've had them already . An barfed." She's now married to George Stephanolpoulos. I wonder if he's read this book. I wanted to like her. I really did. I like reading memoirs of professional comedians and humorists because I want to be a funny writer too. But Ali Wentworth you were a disappointment. If you write again, please show me the real you not the weightless blonde on the cover.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    With so many mixed reviews, how will you know if you will like this book or not? The best indicator, in my opinion, is if you liked In Living Color or Head Case. Both of those shows were patently absurd, and that's what Alexandra Wentworth is about. If you are looking for a true memoir, or a punch line that is packaged and presented to you, look elsewhere. Alexandra isn't about that. Her comedy isn't in one-liners, it's situational. Yes, she comes from privilege, but this woman is such an astute With so many mixed reviews, how will you know if you will like this book or not? The best indicator, in my opinion, is if you liked In Living Color or Head Case. Both of those shows were patently absurd, and that's what Alexandra Wentworth is about. If you are looking for a true memoir, or a punch line that is packaged and presented to you, look elsewhere. Alexandra isn't about that. Her comedy isn't in one-liners, it's situational. Yes, she comes from privilege, but this woman is such an astute observer of human subcultures- including her own, that her break was In Living Color. If you think she's taking her own life seriously in this memoir, change your tone while reading. This is a woman who knows how to laugh at herself, and if you aren't the type of person who can do that as well, it may be hard to hear her hilarious voice come through in this book. That said, I loved this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Jerry Seinfeld apparently said that "everything that comes out of Ali's mouth is funny". Based on this recommendation I thought I was in for a HILARIOUS read. That did not happen. At best the book was amusing. As with any circumstances entered with high expectations I was let down like a day-old helium balloon. I have issues with anyone who claims to be an "average, middle-class girl" yet does unpaid summer internships in France and has a mother who sells a brand new vehicle to her daughter's boy Jerry Seinfeld apparently said that "everything that comes out of Ali's mouth is funny". Based on this recommendation I thought I was in for a HILARIOUS read. That did not happen. At best the book was amusing. As with any circumstances entered with high expectations I was let down like a day-old helium balloon. I have issues with anyone who claims to be an "average, middle-class girl" yet does unpaid summer internships in France and has a mother who sells a brand new vehicle to her daughter's boyfriend for $1000 because she is worried about the reliability of said boyfriend's vehicle. Add this to college paid by parents, getting away to the Four Seasons for "family time", receiving a "stipend" from parents, plus summers "at the Cape" and it does not resemble any middle class lifestyle with which I might be acquainted. Perhaps I grew up on the lower, lower class and should view this book as an eye opening revelation about my own lack of middle classiness. Who Knows. Here is the thing...I am accustomed to reading books by David Sedaris and Jenny Lawson that make me laugh until I am afraid I might pee my pants. Poor Ali doesn't stand a chance against these two. Her book is like a macrame planter...it's nice and functional but do you really need it? - No. That said...I really think my sister should read it now so that we can compare it to other funny writers and have a long meaningful discussion/argument about how much it doesn't match up. In this manner we just might prove the value of a book originally thought valueless -- maybe, just maybe, Ali Wentworth can bring people together -- even if that only happens through mediocre agreement about her general lack of humor. Perhaps that might give this book some redeeming value???

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Mildly amusing with a total misunderstanding of where to classify her upbringing. Boarding school, summering in cape cod, having your parents buy you a 3 bedroom house with a pool in la and Vera wang wedding dresses does not make for a typical middle class life style like she continued to reiterate.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    Very fun book! Had no idea who she was married to until I read it in the book . Audio version is highly recommended

  13. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Woodward

    Poorly written- it’s scattered with no flow. She name drops at every possible moment. Ugh. Just not for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    *My review copy was provided LuxuryReading.com, for whom I performed the original review. Ali Wentworth has lived quite a life. I will confess that I did not know who she was when I picked this book for a review – but I did know from the blurb that she was married to George Stephanopoulos and the daughter of Ronald Reagan’s White House Press Secretary. As a former resident of Washington, DC, how could I resist? I enjoy memoirs, love reading about DC, and couldn’t imagine how I’d turn down a book *My review copy was provided LuxuryReading.com, for whom I performed the original review. Ali Wentworth has lived quite a life. I will confess that I did not know who she was when I picked this book for a review – but I did know from the blurb that she was married to George Stephanopoulos and the daughter of Ronald Reagan’s White House Press Secretary. As a former resident of Washington, DC, how could I resist? I enjoy memoirs, love reading about DC, and couldn’t imagine how I’d turn down a book with cover blurbs by Kathy Griffin, Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin AND the author’s mom… Plus the synopsis called it “addictively funny” and included a slew of adjectives I am quite fond of, like “off-the-wall”, “hilarious”, and “borderline insane”. Will I never learn? No one’s book that self-describes as “hilarious” ever really is. I think it’s something like real smart people talking about their own intelligence or real rich people their own money – if you’ve got it, you know it, and you don’t have to tell everyone. That’s what happened here. Sure, there are some funny bits. Ali was a precocious child and got even more precocious as she got older, so there are some very cute and very funny stories. Much of the stories start out as standard “poor little rich girl” fare, with their only distinction being that they are set against the backdrop of the DC political scene as opposed to the standard Hollywood, New York, or New England moneyed scenes. They evolve in slightly atypical ways – that I will admit. But not in quite the outré fashion I’d expect from a former In Living Colour girl… She goes out of her way to shock – again, fairly standard fare for a memoir of this type, and is occasionally over-the-top, but usually in a fairly predictable way. As an added bonus, they’re not always entirely believable – a fact which I felt actually added to, rather than detracted from, their charm. Still, her stories are, for the most part, fun and frivolous – the literary equivalent of a frothy, fruity beach cocktail. You know there’s nothing particularly good for you in there, but the indulgence is worth it every now and again. Just make sure you don’t overdose, because that’s never pretty… I know she’s a comic actress, and that “hilarious” is the type of adjective a publicist will always use in that context. But I will offer the same, unsolicited, advice I often do: be careful, oh mighty publicists and press agents, because over-billing may sell initial copies and drive initial interest, but it almost guarantees a disappointing review and following.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Sorry, Sorry, Had to do it.... Confession time: I requested this book from my Harper email because Ali Wentworth is married to George Stephanopolous, Bill Clinton's early press secretary and now journalist. As I am half-Greek (Ethnically Greek from Turkey via diaspora), I am required by law to know things about him. To spin it back to genre: there have been so many books recently riffing off the classic fantasy tale, Alice in Wonderland. This is one of the better ones. What this memoir tells me is Sorry, Sorry, Had to do it.... Confession time: I requested this book from my Harper email because Ali Wentworth is married to George Stephanopolous, Bill Clinton's early press secretary and now journalist. As I am half-Greek (Ethnically Greek from Turkey via diaspora), I am required by law to know things about him. To spin it back to genre: there have been so many books recently riffing off the classic fantasy tale, Alice in Wonderland. This is one of the better ones. What this memoir tells me is that George lied to his family and the couple hid Ai's past from his father a priest and his mother, a Presbytera. Before I started hanging out with WASPS I used to say that my was more conservative than WASPS, now that "some of my best friends are WASPS" I know that WASPS are often politically conservative but in personal life liberal with Mulligans on lifestyle. This book sure as all get out proves it. While essentially substance-free, Ali's pre-George life was filled with partying and men, depression and a jet-setting lifestyle, proving drugs are not necessary for being all messed up. A lifetime of careless parenting, boarding school and gentility as well as a clinical depression, left Ali screwed up. It was, apparently meeting George S. that brought her to a place where she could get it together. If her life has been strange, it has also been filled with an opportunity to look back and laugh (as in, "Some day we'll look back on this and laugh."). Her writing is how I think I sound. Since I think I am really funny, and that you should be laughing right now, that is a compliment. For example, in describing her "big, fat WASP, Greek wedding," Wentworth says: My favorite moment was watching my relatives try to Greek dance. It was like watching a group of old people auditioning for Lord of the Dance. Then mercifully they were swept up by George's family to snake around the room, screaming "Opa" at inappropriate moments. from the uncorrected proof, p. 187 Unfortunately, like me she has a a tendency to be long-winded, just a little too much about repeat episodes of depression. But very funny stuff. If you happen to have a WASP friend dating a Greek man, get this book for them. It is a fun read, with short chapters, so you can be amused while distracted. http://fangswandsandfairydust.blogspo...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/... As I joke in my house, I'm not easily amused. My nine-year-old son rented "The Three Stooges" recently, and I knew that I would not find it funny in the least. Even when watch something I do find funny (like "Downton Abbey" or "Lost in Austen"), my husband is rolling on the floor laughing while I might just smile to myself. About the only people who regularly make me laugh are Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Ellen Degeneres, and Jane Lynch. When I've read hum http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/... As I joke in my house, I'm not easily amused. My nine-year-old son rented "The Three Stooges" recently, and I knew that I would not find it funny in the least. Even when watch something I do find funny (like "Downton Abbey" or "Lost in Austen"), my husband is rolling on the floor laughing while I might just smile to myself. About the only people who regularly make me laugh are Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Ellen Degeneres, and Jane Lynch. When I've read humorous memoirs, I often start out thinking they are light and interesting, and then they grow tiresome. That's Ali in Wonderland for me. My husband had checked it out of the library for humor research (for his writing). I picked it up because it looked interesting--Wentworth is married to George Stephanopolous. She's exactly my age, so many of her childhood and teenage memories rang true for me (like when her sister who had just had scoliosis surgery and ran away in a full body cast because she was fed up, and Ali had to follow her, but the only thing she cared about was getting home for The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and Love American Style, and her sister said she would only return home if Ali could make her laugh, so Ali took off her clothes and rubbed mud all over herself and did some weird kind of dance, only to be seen by people driving by). Some of the anecotes were indeed funny. But midway through I started to get bored. I think the last straw was the chapter talking about how her mother believed that the cure for anything was to go to the Four Seasons. Wentworth was raised in privilege and lives in privilege now. Another chapter was about family-friendly resorts and how inconvenient it can be to slip on a dirty diaper by the poolside. Although I assume she's a good liberal in the Kennedy style, I just couldn't relate to her problems and complaints. She also jumped around tons in her storytelling, so it was hard to keep track of which part of her life she was describing. I ended up scanning the second half of the book to the end when she talked about meeting and marrying George. The descriptions of her big fat Greek wedding and family were funny...but I found myself ready to move onto something else.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandie

    I don't read many memoirs but this kept me amused. I always enjoy seeing her on talk shows and find her to be funny. Some fellow readers were pretty harsh in their reviews but its not meant to be Nobel winning literature. If you don't like a book for gods sake stop reading it. I don't read many memoirs but this kept me amused. I always enjoy seeing her on talk shows and find her to be funny. Some fellow readers were pretty harsh in their reviews but its not meant to be Nobel winning literature. If you don't like a book for gods sake stop reading it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    This book should be called Rich White Girl Problems. I was bored senseless.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Quinn Lavender

    Alexandra (Ali) Wentworth is "famous" enough to write a book for one of the following 3 reasons: 1) She was a late-series replacement on In Living Color, 2) she had a role (Schmoopie) in one of the best episodes (The Soup Nazi) on one of the best TV shows in history (Seinfeld) and/or 3) she is married to TV / political royalty George Stephanopoulos. Okay, well I guess I've read books for far less substantial reasons than those. I guess I'll bite and check out this book. Turns out that those three Alexandra (Ali) Wentworth is "famous" enough to write a book for one of the following 3 reasons: 1) She was a late-series replacement on In Living Color, 2) she had a role (Schmoopie) in one of the best episodes (The Soup Nazi) on one of the best TV shows in history (Seinfeld) and/or 3) she is married to TV / political royalty George Stephanopoulos. Okay, well I guess I've read books for far less substantial reasons than those. I guess I'll bite and check out this book. Turns out that those three items together take up less than 2 pages of this book. So what you're left with is a mildly amusing memoir of an upper-middle-class debutante who just happens to be named Ali Wentworth. On the positive side, Wentworth is pretty funny, which I'm sure makes this book more enjoyable than some random person's descriptions of boarding school, weird nannies, tennis lessons, and family vacations at Marthas Vineyard. On the other hand, there's something off-putting about a celebrity who complains about luxuries that most of us will never know. Oh, and in case you're dying to know how Ali Wentworth lost her virginity, there's a chapter about that ... which keeps the streak alive of books I've read where the celebrity author feels it's germane to explain the whos and whats of their sex life. Sigh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Literally laugh out loud funny!! Reading a book by Ali Wentworth is like talking with a friend. She tells it like it is. I read her most recent book in May and loved it. Halfway through reading this book I put her other book on hold at my local library. I don’t know what I’ll do when I run out of Ali books to read. This has been my summer of Ali Wentworth books. I highly recommend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Not every childhood memory makes a good story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mason

    If you’re looking for a memoir that follows the author’s tattered life from young child to adulthood -- this isn’t the one for you. If you’re looking for a memoir that follows the author’s life in no particular order but has you laughing out loud -- look no further, this is the one. Ali Wentworth wasn’t a child of abuse. She was a child of divorce, but her mother Muffie has always been a pillar of strength for her. The story begins with Ali’s courtship and engagement that would have most women swo If you’re looking for a memoir that follows the author’s tattered life from young child to adulthood -- this isn’t the one for you. If you’re looking for a memoir that follows the author’s life in no particular order but has you laughing out loud -- look no further, this is the one. Ali Wentworth wasn’t a child of abuse. She was a child of divorce, but her mother Muffie has always been a pillar of strength for her. The story begins with Ali’s courtship and engagement that would have most women swooning. Her boyfriend rented a castle in Ireland to propose. But Ali knew he wasn’t her ‘Mr. Right’ and weeks later broke the engagement. From here the story goes back and forth from Ali the adult, Ali the child, and Ali the teenager. Along the way she encounters a number of the ‘right man at the moment’ and had some interesting adventures. Coming from a family of political journalist and a mother who was the social secretary in the Reagan White House, Ali rebelled. With her unique view of the world, Ali embraced her comedic side and set out for Hollywood. Ali shares her take on growing up among Washington’s elite to doing comedy sketches in L.A. with then-aspiring artists Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow. She tells how a blind date finally lead her to her ‘Mr. Right’ - political and media star George Stephanopoulos - and back to Washington as a wife and mother of 2 girls. Ali is now an acclaimed comedic actress and writer appearing in TV series and major movies such as It’s Complicated. The journey is hilarious, off-the-wall, heart-warming, and very intimate. Ali is a lady that can make you laugh and can laugh at herself as well. She pulls no punches as she shares the good and bad of her family life. She has had her ups and downs, but has relied on a strong family gene to keep her going. Hearing ALI IN WONDERLAND read by the author enhanced the story that much more. Her mannerisms of the story really brings it to life. I must attempt I had no idea who Ali was before listening to her memoir, but now I’m a huge fan. This is a charming memoir that will have you crying from laughing so much. Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales by Ali Wentworth, Read by Ali Wentworth, Harper Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-0062111890, Unabridged, Digital Download, Listening Time 5 Hours, 10 Minutes FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    I've been watching Ali Wentworth's Daily Shot news weblog for a few months now. I appreciate her wry wit and I like the short, humorous videos. So when I saw this book on Goodreads, I thought that I would have to give it a try. The book is a compilation of short stories from Ali's life. Each entry is filled with snarky and self-deprecating humor. We are fairly close in age, and although my life is nothing like hers, I thought her stories were fascinating and funny. I have to admit that I like her I've been watching Ali Wentworth's Daily Shot news weblog for a few months now. I appreciate her wry wit and I like the short, humorous videos. So when I saw this book on Goodreads, I thought that I would have to give it a try. The book is a compilation of short stories from Ali's life. Each entry is filled with snarky and self-deprecating humor. We are fairly close in age, and although my life is nothing like hers, I thought her stories were fascinating and funny. I have to admit that I like her weblog better, as I can relate to her experiences of being a mom of young girls who have similar ages to our own. Her privileged upbringing was interesting and bizarre; it was hard for me to imagine what it was like. She was the boarding school student, running out to the store buy snacks, whereas I was the cashier in the grocery store, shaking my head at the excesses of the students' purchases, and wondering why their parents would buy them BMWs, Audis, and such. I may not be able to understand her glitzy lifestyle, especially living in New York City and Los Angeles and jetting to Paris to visit a boyfriend, but overall, the stories are entertaining. I can appreciate one aspect of her lifestyle, though. She gushes about the Four Seasons hotel and resort chain and I totally understand. My family and I took advantage of an off-season, military rate at the Four Seasons Manele Bay resort on Lana'i. We only stayed for two nights and it was a one-time occurrence, but it was one of the best experiences of our lives. Our girls still remember that trip and speak of it wistfully. We may never stay at another Four Seasons again, but I will remember that experience for a lifetime. interesting quotes: "What woman hasn't riffled through her man's e-mails, checked out his ex-girlfriend's Facebook page, or tested him with swabs for STDs while he slept?" (p. 9) "The problem with having a sheltered and protected upbringing is, you're not prepared for anything alien and outlandish, like the penis." (p. 81) "To this day, I wouldn't know I had cellulite, age spots, and gray hair if my kids didn't point them out daily." (p. 213)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT It has been a long time since I laughed this hard with an author, ok, I laughed at her, but the way she has told her story makes it hard not to laugh. Seriously, there are some really funny things in this book. When her older sister runs away from home, Ali follows her and they both agree that if she can make her laugh, Sissy will return home. What transpires next will have you rolling on the floor when she explains how she put on a show on the side of the road, not MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT It has been a long time since I laughed this hard with an author, ok, I laughed at her, but the way she has told her story makes it hard not to laugh. Seriously, there are some really funny things in this book. When her older sister runs away from home, Ali follows her and they both agree that if she can make her laugh, Sissy will return home. What transpires next will have you rolling on the floor when she explains how she put on a show on the side of the road, not realizing others were watching. I don't recommend reading this book while you are near anyone since you will NOT be able to control yourself and may make a spectacle of yourself, but Ali would probably be right there to cheer you on. I have a feeling that even though she grew up somewhat in the limelight, she was a natural performer and used humor to diffuse a lot of strange political situations. I really enjoyed her on In Living Color and even though she played the ditzy parts, she is far from that in real life. Wentworth grew up in Washington DC and her mother was Reagan's social secretary, so you can image some of the stories that weren't included. She did include a sweet story about Donald Rumsfeld and his dachshund, Reggie. Oh, yes, she talks about her DACHSHUNDS! She currently has two and may or may not have had something to do with Jerry Seinfeld acquiring one of his own. It doesn't matter what your politics are, there is something about a dachshund that cuts across all sorts of lines. The book itself is a collection of essays, memories and thoughts on life. I am so glad she wrote the book first and then asked her mother. Although from some of the stories told in the book, I don't think even her mother could contain her. Be sure to read the "interview" with her mother, Muffy Cabot, about her book release. I really hope that there is more to come from this author since I am sure she has even more to share about her home life with George Stephanopoulos. If you enjoy David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, you will be quite pleased with the humor in this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Rayment

    The Good Stuff Self deprecating, charming, down to earth and honest Funny as hell Quick easy read - perfect when you are stuck at home sick Although she comes from a more elite background, she never comes across as snobby or privledged The story about trying to hand deliver a thank you present to the secretary of defense will make you laugh your ass off Doesn't get all gossipy or mean spirited Loved her description of her experience giving birth Love her Mom, Muffie Her chapter on manners is funny, but The Good Stuff Self deprecating, charming, down to earth and honest Funny as hell Quick easy read - perfect when you are stuck at home sick Although she comes from a more elite background, she never comes across as snobby or privledged The story about trying to hand deliver a thank you present to the secretary of defense will make you laugh your ass off Doesn't get all gossipy or mean spirited Loved her description of her experience giving birth Love her Mom, Muffie Her chapter on manners is funny, but also very true to how I was raised (Well without the money part) The Not So Good Stuff Stories told in a non linear fashion, which can be difficult to get into - took me a bit, but than I ended up enjoying it I was a little irritated when she was whining about resort vacations, as I cannot afford to take a vacation, had a hard time sympathizing with her at first, but since she is so self deprecating and honest, I got over it. Would have liked more Favorite Quotes/Passages "I dreaded packing my sleeping bag, toothbrush, and clean underwear. As a child of divorce, I saw it as just one more dysfunctional family I had to stay with." (regarding sleepovers) "My political prejudice toward the Nixon administration was not brought about by Watergate, illegal wiretaps, or the Vietnam War-no, it was their conduct toward my dog. (And by the way, this is by and large how I still judge people today.)" "I never competed for boys, choosing instead to live by the motto, "if you love something, set it free, if it comes back to you, it's yours; if not, well than he's an asshole." "I believe in gay marriage, gay rights, everything gay-but any two creatures, be it straight, gay, or amphibian, twisting tongues and flexing their buttocks shouldn't be on public display without a cover charge," Who Should/Shouldn't Read Definitely for fans of Wentworth Anyone who needs a light fun read 4.25 Dewey's I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Moeller

    I suppose I should have considered myself warned when this book showcased blurbs from Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin and the author's mother, Muffie Cabot. I have nothing against humor. I really enjoyed Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead, which was about her career as a comic and writer, as well as an autobiography. However, the problem with Ali in Wonderland is that not only is the humor hardly to be found, but the stories she presents are disorganized and largely uninteresting. Wentworth begin I suppose I should have considered myself warned when this book showcased blurbs from Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin and the author's mother, Muffie Cabot. I have nothing against humor. I really enjoyed Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead, which was about her career as a comic and writer, as well as an autobiography. However, the problem with Ali in Wonderland is that not only is the humor hardly to be found, but the stories she presents are disorganized and largely uninteresting. Wentworth begins the book with a story about leaving a fiance who proposed to her in an Irish castle. She then loops back to her child hood and mostly moves forward in time. The forward momentum is interrupted in each chapter by bits and pieces from forward and backward in time, making it difficult to develop much of an interest in her life story. I must also admit that so much in the author's life seems to have come easily to her is something that added to the difficulty I had in connecting with and caring about her. She states at the beginning of the book that her family used to have money, but it was all spent before she was born. However, her family seems to have enough money to send all of the children to boarding school, provide a stipend when they are in college and consider the Four Seasons their own personal refuge. While Wentworth does discuss some difficult periods of depression that she experienced, the fact that her life seems to have just gone along, without much difficulty, made it not very interesting to read about. If any of these chapters had been pulled out and put in a lady's magazine, I probably would have enjoyed it. But a whole book of these somewhat vapid and unfunny essays was just too much.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Everyone has people they don't really like that much for no reason, if only because you don't "know" them very well. This author falls under that category and thankfully, this book (sort of) changed that! I do like the people she surrounds herself with and the reviews were good, which is why I picked this book up in the first place. And it was an enjoyable, easy read. My favorite part? Each chapter was like it's own little story, so there was very little to follow. And while some of the "charact Everyone has people they don't really like that much for no reason, if only because you don't "know" them very well. This author falls under that category and thankfully, this book (sort of) changed that! I do like the people she surrounds herself with and the reviews were good, which is why I picked this book up in the first place. And it was an enjoyable, easy read. My favorite part? Each chapter was like it's own little story, so there was very little to follow. And while some of the "characters" overlapped, not too many did, which made the cast very small. YAY! I know this was her story, but I do wish there was more written about the later (or more recent) part of her life as I am more interested in that, but if your claim to fame is "the girl Jerry dated in the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld", you know your career is on its down cycle (not that there is anything wrong with that!), but yeah. No one cares. The worst part was the poor-little-rich-girl side of her childhood that I just rolled my eyes at. I love her husband (google it) and I do love that they are together, even though they don't seem like a match at all. I love stuff like that. The best thing I can say about this book is it's a pointless read. Not bad, not great, just there. Good if you have 2 hours to kill at an airport.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dimity

    I can't decide if I will finish this one or not. I am familiar with Alexandra Wentworth's work through her hilarious series "Head Case" so I thought her book would be right up my alley. However, this memoir is falling rather flat. Wentworth shouldn't have to apologize for being born into an upper class, wealthy family but her constant self-conscious efforts to minimize the reality of her upbringing are ruining his book for me. She describes herself as "middle-class" but almost none of the anecdo I can't decide if I will finish this one or not. I am familiar with Alexandra Wentworth's work through her hilarious series "Head Case" so I thought her book would be right up my alley. However, this memoir is falling rather flat. Wentworth shouldn't have to apologize for being born into an upper class, wealthy family but her constant self-conscious efforts to minimize the reality of her upbringing are ruining his book for me. She describes herself as "middle-class" but almost none of the anecdotes she shares in this book (boarding school travails, study abroad mishaps, summers on the New England shore, parties with Henry Kissinger) would have happened if she was not from a wealthy background. Her memoir would be much more enjoyable (and probably quite a bit funnier) if she owned her family's prosperity and let the readers in on how idiosyncratic and hilarious the richies can be instead of continually trying to prove she's just one of us. I find Wentworth's "aw shucks!" attitude towards her well-to-do upbringing particularly frustrating right now because I see it as an embodiment of the current dysfunctional discourse about wealth in this country. I'm annoyed with the media describing people who earn $250,000 a year as "upper middle class" while the median American income is one fifth of that. We can't all be middle class and it's fruitless to pretend that we are.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Selwa

    One night I was watching some late-night talk show and Ali Wentworth was on, and she was hilarious! A few days later I was at Books-A-Million, and saw her book on the clearance shelf. I took it as a good sign, but I should have taken it as a bad sign that it was a clearance book. Here's the thing ... I can't enjoy a book if I don't like the main character, and in a memoir, the main "character" is the writer. And I think Ali Wentworth is a shitty person. She's not as shitty as, say, Piper Kerman ( One night I was watching some late-night talk show and Ali Wentworth was on, and she was hilarious! A few days later I was at Books-A-Million, and saw her book on the clearance shelf. I took it as a good sign, but I should have taken it as a bad sign that it was a clearance book. Here's the thing ... I can't enjoy a book if I don't like the main character, and in a memoir, the main "character" is the writer. And I think Ali Wentworth is a shitty person. She's not as shitty as, say, Piper Kerman (I'm not going to pretend superficiality and thoughtlessness is equal to participating in the heroin trade), but I would hate to be stuck in an elevator with her. For example, I know a lot of Arab women (side effect of having Iraqi immigrants for parents), and none of them are in the habit of "bowing backward out the door, [telling] their husbands they were going to the open market to buy turnips". In fact, a lot of the Arab women I have known run the family finances. Another example is where Wentworth expresses shock at the idea of falling in love with someone who "has an ass the size of Kansas". My fiance proposed to me not in spite of my big ass, but because of it. And maybe some other reasons, I don't know. Anyway, the chapters with George Stephanopoulos made her more likable, and if I could I'd give this 1 1/2 stars. Hey, I wonder if he has a book...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica at Book Sake

    I requested this book after reading the reviews, particularly the quotes from Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler, because I know that if they think someone is funny, so will I. I was right – Ali Wentworth proved to be quite the comedian and storyteller in Ali in Wonderland. I’m not sure everything in this book is true, as the title states, “and other tall tales”, but this "memoir" is hilarious anyway. Her descriptions of people are so ridiculous that I found myself rereading those parts to my boy I requested this book after reading the reviews, particularly the quotes from Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler, because I know that if they think someone is funny, so will I. I was right – Ali Wentworth proved to be quite the comedian and storyteller in Ali in Wonderland. I’m not sure everything in this book is true, as the title states, “and other tall tales”, but this "memoir" is hilarious anyway. Her descriptions of people are so ridiculous that I found myself rereading those parts to my boyfriend, hoping he’d get a kick out of them as well. I believe this was one of my favorite lines: “Abigail was an anemic blonde from Winnetka, Illinois. Abigail was light on the outside, but dark on the inside. She had a face like a fetus and wore Fair Isle sweaters, knee socks, and clogs.” Hah – I love that. Surely not everyone will appreciate her sense of humor, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s all in the little things she says – things you might overlook if you are waiting for the next big joke. There’s no buildup, there’s no punch line, this woman is just funny. Period. I definitely suggest reading this one. 4/5 stars for the occasional dull moment, but they are few and far between. Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.

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