From her earliest days on “ One Day at a Time”, I’ve always thought of Valerie Bertinelli as a living, breathing, approachable, everyday kind of person, albeit one who is beautiful, talented, and a very successful TV star. She always just came across as so kind, so real, and so “normal”.
Reading this fascinating and heart-wrenching memoir, penned at a time when the author was still suffering from the effects of Covid lockdown; the declining health, move into care, and rapid and unexpected passing of both of her parents; and finally, the cruel and devastating loss of her ex-husband, Eddie Van Halen, to his decade-long battle with cancer – confirmed my earliest impressions, as the author, with the rawness and no-holds-barred approach she has taken to telling her story, creates a mood that is intimate, compassionate, grief-soaked, soul-searching and deeply vulnerable, – inspiring all of these emotions, in spades, back from this reader.
“This book is about letting go of certain behavior that no longer serves me, recognizing that perhaps it never did and trying to find new ways of channeling my thoughts and emotions.”
The narrative shared is brutally frank, confirming that the author, like all of us, is not immune to heartache, struggling with the same issues most of us face regarding our own mortality; the aging of our parents; self-esteem and identity; weight control; and the crumbling of trust and alignment with our life-partners.
Anyone who has wanted to lose ten pounds, struggled with pervasive unhealthy body issues stemming from childhood, or found themselves deeply lacking when comparing against friends (which should just about cover most of us?) will relate to the author’s self-image and identity struggles and their impact, particularly for someone so exposed to the public arena through her TV and media appearances. As the author leans into her sixty-first year, – a year preceded by catastrophic changes and a desperate need for new coping tools and growth – her thoughts, recipes, memories and yearnings laid out in this diary-like memoir paint a picture that is tragic, utterly engaging, and keenly inspiring.
“As I move forward in life, I continue to learn it’s only and all about love in the end “
Throughout it all, the author’s (and her ex-husband’s) love and wonder in their child, Wolfie, now an adult and a successful musician on his own, shines throughout the narrative with such depth and sincerity that, in several places, it brought a lump to my throat.
“I am trying to get to a place where I look at myself the way Wolfie did when he was a little boy – with pure love.”
Clearly at a point where she is ready to tackle her inner demons, once and for all, “Enough Already” is a probing, sensitive and intensely touching reminder that we are not alone – each of us, on our own individual timeline, will face and be obliged to manage many similar life-events as those so generously detailed here, (perhaps now, as I’m sure is the author’s intent, with a little more foresight, and a lot more permission to allow ourselves to just “be”).
I’m grateful to the author for her courage in sharing her story, highly recommended to readers everywhere, and in particular, to women facing their mid or twilight years with unanswered questions and a still-bruised self-image.
“It was about giving myself permission to connect to my heritage and enjoy food and everything associated with it. It was about being me.”
A great big thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.