Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Audio Book Review: Priceless Memories

Priceless Memories coverTitle: Priceless Memories
Authors: Bob Barker, Digby Diehl
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Pub Date: April 2009
Audiobook (unabridged), 6 CDs, 420 minutes


In front of the camera, Bob Barker has been invited into the homes of millions of Americans as host of The Price is Right, Truth or Consequences, Miss USA, Miss Universe, the Rose Parade, and many other programs and specials. He has been part of the lives of generations of viewers connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds. Now Bob shares stories of favorite contestants, episodes, celebrity encounters, and behind-the-scenes happenings.

Beyond his public persona, Bob opens up about his personal life, sharing a lifetime of fond memories. He recalls his early years spent on a Native American reservation and being raised by a single mother through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. He writes about training as a fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II and how he met, fell in love with, and married the love of his life, Dorothy Jo. It was with Dorothy Jo's encouragement and insight that he launched his career in the entertainment business, starting in radio and moving to television, where his work has been honored with nineteen Emmys (fourteen as a performer, the most any performer has ever won), induction into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the TV Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Mike Award, among many other awards.

Bob's support of animal rights has always been a central part of his life. In these pages he delves into stories of how and why he put his personal passion above his career, including his antifur standoff with beauty pageants, and his involvement in cases that exposed animal abuse in movies and television. He shares heartwarming personal stories of the four-legged friends he has adopted and rescued, ranging from dogs and rabbits to elephants. Bob is a complete success at retirement and continues to actively advocate on behalf of animals, including working on successful legislation to control the pet population.

My Thoughts

I don't know about all of you, but I loved to watch The Price Is Right when I was growing up. I have vivid memories of watching it during summer vacation with my mother while lunching at the kitchen table, or with my grandfather when we were visiting my grandparents. He and I would eat our lunches in the living room so we could watch the whole show and not miss any of the fun. So when I saw that I could win a copy of Bob Barker's Priceless Memories at Bookin' With Bingo, I had to enter--lo and behold, I won! This is only the second audio book I have listened to, and while I usually prefer to read an actual book, I have to say that I did enjoy listening to this one, probably because Bob Barker is the narrator.

You can't help but smile when the first disc opens with the theme from The Price Is Right. Bob Barker goes on to talk about the many facets of his life, both personal and professional. I found it to be an interesting listen, and I think I probably enjoyed it more as an audio book than I would have if I had been trying to read it. Barker shows a fair amount of his personality when reading, so it engages you more than words on paper would. For me, the only negative was the amount of time he devoted to animal rights towards the end--sometimes there was more detail than I wanted to hear, though I certainly understand how important it is to him. Hearing about the awful things that are done to animals makes me sad, and it was hard to listen to that.

Barker really does have some amusing anecdotes from his career as a host of "audience participation" shows and some of the people he met along the way. You really get a feel for what he accomplished in his long career as a game show host and more. Some parts, such as his brief stint as a naval aviator, are a bit dry, but overall I found his stories to be interesting. I think anyone who is a fan of The Price Is Right (and Truth of Consequences) will enjoy listening to Barker recount his favorite memories.

My rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of Priceless Memories:

Reading with Monie

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  1. I was never a big fan of the Price is Right, but I do remember watching it sometimes during summer vacation with my grandparents. Along with that show where they would scream "No whammie, no whammie!" - What was that one?

  2. Oh yeah!! I remember the no whammie show! I can't remember what it was called, either, though... Hmmmm... Anyone else out there have any ideas?

  3. The Whammie show was hilarious - Press Your Luck was the name. My grandparents were huge gameshow fans and I grew very fond of Price Is Right from staying with them. I think this is a book I will keep my eye on for me and them. Thanks for the review :)

  4. I had no idea he wrote a book. I, too have fond memories of watching the show, especially Plinko. The Price is Right theme is probably the song I most often randomly have stuck in my head.

  5. Hi!!! is one of the most excellent informational websites of its kind. I take advantage of reading it every day. I will be back.

  6. I enjoyed reading Bob Barkers book, Priceless Memories. I grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Bob’s mother, Matilda Barker, was Superintendent of Schools when I was in the second grade. She flunked me when I was in the second grade. I have kept my second grade report card, which has her name on it, as a souvenir. I was a Swiss immigrant child and my command of the English language was marginal. I attended the same group of wooden school buildings that Bob attended. We were equipped with cast iron wood burning stoves and outhouse restrooms. The Barkers left the reservation before I started the third grade, so I convinced my third grade teacher to let me proceed in the third grade. The reservation school system was quite good. I eventually earned BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering.
    I agree with Bob, that growing up on the Rosebud Reservation was a great experience. I enjoyed many of the same experiences that he mentions in his book.


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