BETTY: A GLAD AWAKENING by Betty Ford with Chris Chase (Doubleday: $16.95; 217 pp.; illustrated). Former First Lady Betty Ford's courage in publicly dealing with her mastectomy and her candor in acknowledging her alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs has produced a person whose own suffering has reached celebrity status. She's taking advantage of that high visibility to challenge others to alter their lives and, more than that, she's putting all fees from her books and speaking engagements into the Betty Ford Center and similar treatment facilities.

By way of explanation, she notes in the introduction that this second autobiography deals more thoroughly with her addictions than the first. And so it does in a fast-paced, upbeat but unflinching style that charts her own gradual awakening, from the moment of intervention by her family on April 1, 1978, to the moment of celebration at the opening of the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs on Oct. 3, 1982. "This book is going to be about recovery, mine and other people's," she writes. Interspersed with her own narrative are observations about her from those most intimately involved in her life: her family, friends and doctors. "Winning a victory over drugs and alcohol doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels; your have to win again tomorrow," she says. "You have to keep showing up for life."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World