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Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

Written by Ali Wentworth

Narrated by Ali Wentworth


Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

Written by Ali Wentworth

Narrated by Ali Wentworth

ratings:
3.5/5 (40 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 7, 2012
ISBN:
9780062111890
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 7, 2012
ISBN:
9780062111890
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Ali Wentworth is the author of Ali in Wonderland and Happily Ali After. The star of the comedy series Nightcap, she made a name for herself on the sketch comedy show In Living Color, and her film credits include Jerry Maguire, The Real Blonde, Office Space, and It’s Complicated. A native of Washington, D.C., she lives in New York City with her husband, George Stephanopoulos, and their two daughters. Follow Ali on Twitter: @AliEWentworth


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Reviews

What people think about Ali in Wonderland

3.7
40 ratings / 35 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Another great!
  • (5/5)
    Excellent!
  • (3/5)
    She surely is entraining! I had a good time laughing and being amused by her way of telling stories.
  • (2/5)
    it's funny and entertaining but half stars aren't permitted and three would be reserved for something a tad more substantial in content. she's had a very privileged and interesting life and her narration is humorous. worth a listen if you like the sample. i did while cooking and cleaning mainly.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book in one day! What a delightful, funny book! My favorite part was the retelling of her first (and only) time snorting coke! Laugh out loud funny! Who knew George Stephanopoulos's wife would be so amusing and forthright about her past. I loved it all and plan on reading her next book ASAP!
  • (5/5)
    MY THOUGHTSABSOLUTELY LOVED ITIt 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.
  • (4/5)
    The Good StuffSelf deprecating, charming, down to earth and honest Funny as hellQuick easy read - perfect when you are stuck at home sickAlthough she comes from a more elite background, she never comes across as snobby or privledgedThe story about trying to hand deliver a thank you present to the secretary of defense will make you laugh your ass offDoesn't get all gossipy or mean spiritedLoved her description of her experience giving birthLove her Mom, MuffieHer chapter on manners is funny, but also very true to how I was raised (Well without the money part) The Not So Good StuffStories told in a non linear fashion, which can be difficult to get into - took me a bit, but than I ended up enjoying itI 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 moreFavorite 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 ReadDefinitely for fans of WentworthAnyone who needs a light fun read4.25 Dewey'sI received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review
  • (2/5)
    Review from the Amazon Vine Program:I enjoy humor - oral and written, so I thought that "Ali in Wonderland" would be a good read for me. The cover touts: "Everything that comes out of Ali's mouth is funny!" Unfortunately, Ali's humor escaped me.Out of 243 pages, there was only one laugh out loud moment: the description of Ali, while vacationing with her four-year-old daughter in Greece, happening on a beach with gay, scantily clad men enjoying each other.I laugh often and out loud when reading Dave Berry, Konrath, Evanovich, Sedaris, Dorsey, Scottoline and Hiaasen. A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana, by Haven Kimmel is my idea of a hilarious autobiography. "Ali in Wonderland" left me cold, wondering why it was supposed to be funny.Other reviewers describe Ali's humor as "toilet humor.' Clearly, by enjoying Dave Berry, I am not immune to toilet humor, nor juvenile antics. Ali's humor was simply not funny. An example: In describing the WASP background of her mother who is named "Muffie," Ali concludes by stating "[s]he's never peed in the shower." That's funny?Perhaps other reviewers who enjoyed "Ali in Wonderland" were influenced by Ali's live performances. Since I had never seen Ali perform, my response is only to this written work, which just didn't strike me as humorous.The format of "Ali in Wonderland" is confusing. Ali's stories begin chronologically, but as she continues there are huge gaps and the chronology goes out the window.I didn't understand the factual inconsistencies. Ali describes her mother, Muffie, as contradicting the common concept of a person named "Muffie." In doing so, Ali states, "Plus, there is no more money. . . The money has since been invested badly, embezzled by greedy spouses, or drunk away." Yet, Muffie's response to any crisis is, "Go to the Four Seasons," and she does. There is no more money but she goes to the Four Seasons???Humor is somewhat personal. Different people enjoy various types of humor. Humor comes in many forms. Some are: 1. Laugh-at-life humor 2. Slapstick 3. Sarcasm 4. Self-deprecating humor 5. Dry/Deadpan humor 6. "Quirky"humor 7. Highbrow/Witty humor 8. Jokes at others' expense 9. "Bathroom" humor 10. Quirky cultural referencesThe many "fart" references in "Ali in Wonderland" might classify it as in the "bathroom humor" genre. Whatever its style, the humor escaped me.
  • (5/5)
    I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. Ali has a great way of making even her painful experiences funny. The book was full of interesting characters--from lovable, like Ali's mom Muffie, to downright bizarre, like some of Ali's psychiatrists. Some chapters were absolutely hilarious, like "Mi Familia!" I laughed out loud through the whole story of 15-year-old Ali's summer living with a family in a Spanish village. I absolutely recommend this book--it would be a great book club read as well. I'm getting it for all of my girl friends for Christmas, along with dark chocolate and bath beads.
  • (2/5)
    I liked it until I didn't.
  • (4/5)
    A humorous read that I found extremely difficult to put down. I recommend this book to anyone who needs an uplift in their mood.
  • (2/5)
    My book club selection for this month is the follow-up to this book, Happily Ali After. After reading the first chapter of that book, which heavily references this text, I decided I had to read this first. Ack. Ali Wentworth, an actress, currently married to George Stephanopoulous, thinks she's "Middle class". Her mother's name is Muffie, though Ali assures us that "the money was gone" by the time her mother reached adulthood. Yet, she grew up with at least two houses, one of which was on "the cape". She went to boarding school. She spent summers either "abroad" or "on the cape". Her mother literally GAVE her boyfriend a brand new Subaru because she didn't like Ali riding around in his "death trap". Their "family refuge" is the Four Seasons, for heaven's sake. Ali comes off as super-complainy, though self-deprecating, and only occasionally funny. I didn't really know her before reading this; though I've seen some of the things she's been in, she wasn't memorable to me as an actor. I'm really not motivated to seek her out after this, either. I find her blindly privileged and irritating.
  • (4/5)
    Great book! Only wish it had photos.
  • (2/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    This book could have been about half the size because it gets really repetitive after a while. But it proves what Sean Connery said in "Finding Forrester": Women will sleep with you even if you write a bad book. (Well, they won't sleep with ME, but I digress...) Overall it's just a string of mostly easy women Chinaski has relations with for a short time before either they get tired of him or he gets tired of them. But there are some interesting observations on writing in the book.
  • (4/5)
    My favorite of his "fiction" if you want to call it that, told with unsparing honesty.
  • (4/5)
    This is a book about a mid-life crisis brought on by mid-life success. After years of living off candy bars and mailing out poems between factory shifts, Chinaski finds himself a minor literary celebrity with groupies. In fact, the book should be called Groupies instead of Women as Chinaski has very little interest in women that are not mesmerized by his fame. Chinaski sees the irony in all this and has the decency to despise himself. He wonders if all of his struggles were only about this: art as a path to minor fame as a path to women turned on by celebrities.
  • (3/5)
    I don’t think the majority of women will enjoy this book. Bukowski had a complicated and conflicted relationship with women and the book (fictional, barely) holds up to the facts of his life. The women in the book are a strange mélange of characters. There are jealous alcoholics, speed freaks, literary groupies and cultured ladies. They are all attracted to the main character, Henry Chinaski, for one reason or another.Henry has left his job as a postal clerk to pursue his writing full time. He has modest success but that isn’t what this book is about. It is about Henry and the many women who come and go from his life. It is also about how these women accept or reject Henry’s chosen lifestyle: an alcoholic writer.Many of the women in the story are troubled and the descriptions of them are pretty negative and degrading. It is misogynistic and in scene after scene, we are treated to depictions of Henry using these women as sex objects in very degrading descriptions of sex. On the flip side, many of these women buy into whatever Henry is selling so I suppose you could say it was consenting.Henry does not hesitate to be equally hard on himself. He is a self-described ugly, dirty drunk with no real prospects. His life revolves around writing, drinking, painting and going to the track. He does readings around the country and frequently hooks up with new women, inviting them to come and stay in his filthy apartment in a seamy side of Hollywood.Bukowski is who he is and I knew going in what I was getting. This one was not my favorite. I don’t think women will enjoy it much if at all and I think men will like it more but still consider it a guilty pleasure in these overly politically correct times. With that being said, Bukowski is one of those American writers every reader should try at least once.
  • (3/5)
    I think I’m beginning to see that one either likes Bukowski or hates him, and so with his work. Depending on your view, he’s either a dirty old man, extremely male-chauvenistic, outrageously misogynistic, or a straight-forward chronicler as life as it is lived, warts and all, with little (or no) time for pretensions and hypocrasies. The truth, I suppose it will be said by fence-sitters, ‘lies somewhere in between’, but I reject that sort of old anodyne hogwash (I’ve been reading a lot of Bukowski) and plump for the latter description.This book would make ag reat catalyst for another 6th form weary debate on ‘What is Pornography?’ If the graphic depiction of the sexual act, enacted in a wide selection of its possible scenarios, is pornography, then some parts of this work might be classedas pornography. But why always the hang up about sex? Personally I find much of what passes for ‘video games’ (so popular with 6 year-olds upwards) to be extrememly pornographic in that they enact violent, mind-warping scenes in which the consideration for humanlife is non-existent.OK. Enough soap-boxing already. This book is by turns very funny, very moving and (for me) enlightening on just how it is that Hank Chinasky (aka Charles), despite all the things he does wrong as regards ‘his’ women still emerges as human, and even ‘humane’. As a novel (and it is very episodic but just about qualifies for the genre) it is rather repetitive and a bit sermonising here and there. But it is really enjoyable to read and… Is that not enough?This is the Virgin Books edition of 2006.
  • (3/5)
    I thoroughly enjoy Bukowski's work, but I got tired of Bukowksi's prose two thirds of the way into the novel. The writing becomes terse and Bukowski's blunt simplicity becomes tiresome after he describes the same "types" of scenes over and over.

    I still ate up the book in a couple of days. This book is quite satirical and boarders the surreal. I love how Bukowski's characters speak about arbitrary subjects, and somehow, these arbritray subjects characterizes their speakers perfectly.

    It's an interesting and wobbly travail down Bukowski Road. That man sure had some devoted fans that put up with a lot of shit to be in his presence.
  • (3/5)
    An 18+ novel that reads like a children's book. This autobiographical recollection of Bukowski's encounter with woman after woman after woman (after woman) doesn't have a specific message, but it serves as a brutally honest look at the character's degenerate lifestyle as a womanizing alcoholic. Chinaski often questions why women give him the time of day, given he's a total low-life...but whatever he's doing as a newly famous poet certainly is garnering attention from ladies far more interesting than he. The contrast between his pathetic ways and the lifestyles of some of the women that pursue him is large (belly dancers, health nuts, promoters, etc.).I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about the ease with which Chinaski beds women, but the plot repeats itself over and over again with a new woman each time until finally he's forced to realize that he's a scumbag and that he needs to change his ways and treat women with respect and dignity. I can't say I got much out of it, except for a few laughs and one particularly striking characteristic: amidst all the drinking, sex, and laziness that is Chinaski's life and thought process, we are hit with "pangs" of wisdom and emotional introspection about both himself and society. As though throughout the monotonous life of drinking and affairs, there's still a true human being somewhere in there. Wouldn't read again.
  • (1/5)
    Pure crap.And I love his poetry.I even enjoyed Post Office and Factotum. But this novel just shows what a miserable human being he was. He was vain. He was selfish. He objectified women. Just take this snippet:At ten AM I went down for breakfast. I found Pete and Selma. Selma looked great. How did one get a Selma? The dogs of this world never ended up with a Selma. Dogs ended up with dogs. Selma served us breakfast. She was beautiful and one man owned her, a college professor. That was not quite right, somehow. Educated hotshot smoothies. Education was the new god, and educated men the new plantation masters. Seriously? This book removed Bukowski from my favorite authors list.At least he was honest.He was right: Dogs end up with dogs.
  • (3/5)
    Women finds Bukowski (or Chinaski) after he has arrived as a novelist and poet. It's sort of like Factotum except instead of going through a bunch of jobs, he goes through a bunch of women. It doesn't quite reach the high water mark of Factotum, though, because the sex in that smaller book is sexy and the low-life of Chinaski works well with the people he interacts with. In fact, I'm going to have to read Factotum again, probably. Anyways, his trademarks are certainly there in this book, they're just not shown to his best like Ham On Rye.
  • (4/5)
    Very good. Read it on a snowboard trip to Whistler. Had me laughing out loud and reading passages to Thanos, and you should have seen his eyes pop when he realized that there are actually BOOKS about this kind of stuff. Classic Bukowski.
  • (4/5)
    This holds a special place for me as the first Bukowski novel I ever read. Much has been said about Bukowski the poet but as a novelist he is equally thought-provoking.
  • (4/5)
    Charles Bukowski writes about a time in his life when his success as a writer attracts many women. And, like a sex-starved teenager, he takes advantage of every opportunity. Bukowski's addict character Chinaski boozes and fucks his way through a sequence of short-lived relationships. Some of these end messily, some cordially. Most end some time after the next has begun. They become a little repetitive after a while: Chinaski gets some fan mail, agrees to meet the woman at the airport; they drink and have sex. Bukowski describes the women, the sex, and himself unflinchingly and unflatteringly but with some humour. I quite liked his honesty. He avoids other writers (and people in general) but when he does encounter others' writings or poems he is straight and objective in his assessment of their work. Chinaski does not reform; he is happy with his drinking and his low, seedy, misanthropic lifestyle. At the end however he gives a hint of becoming slightly less selfish.
  • (4/5)
    I finished to read "Ask The Dust", by John Fante, when was suggested me to read this book. It's really similar, but Henry Chinaski has something different from the other guy. He's more unusual, more shameless, seems to be more talented and lucky. I like the way he moves from one situation to another, and, in the middle of the book, you're tempted to live like him. In the final, you start to think if you really wanna live like this... So different and absolutely crazy women, in a world of drugs, with no rules and minimal worrings seems to be interessant... At certain point.
  • (5/5)
    The semi-autobiographical tale of Henry "Hank" Chinaski, a self-described "dirty old man," an alcoholic misogynist loner semi-famous poet with bad teeth, an ugly face, poor fashion, great legs, and an uncanny ability to attract women twenty to thirty years younger than himself. The story follows Hank through his exploits with women, so numerous that by the end of the book you've lost track of how many he's been with and anything about their personality. Hank is a "researcher" of women, trying to learn about their essence through relationships varying from a sight-unseen two-and-a-half year marriage to the several day tryst. In addition to being a ladies man, Hank is also a prodigious drinker, mostly it seems of beer and vodka-7s. He generally hates listening to stereo systems, though a moderately volumed Randy Newman or some German classical composers are okay, and he avoids other writers like the plague. One of the book's memorable scenes includes him sharing a hotel with William Burroughs, and neither of them giving a fuck about meeting the other. Chinaski is a pathetic sack of shit, but one you can love.
  • (5/5)
    Henry Chinaski desires women almost as much as he loves liquor. He's tough on them though - but isn't much easier on himself. His recent success has them stumbling over each other to be with the drunken writer and poet. He has several in play at one time, but his honesty has to be admired. Before he goes to pick a new one up at the airport he calls his current girlfriend to give her advance notice of his cheating. More than a few of his chances with women - sexual and otherwise - are blown by drinking. But with success comes more chances to blow - and with a better class of woman than he's used to. There are also quite a few that drinking doesn't interfere with. Sometimes It's hard to tell that he even likes women. When one of the few that he doesn't try to bed talks, it's "like being battered with tiny pingpong balls."At times his poetic sensibility seeps through the cruelty: "You're a whore." "Yeah? Well', if there's anything worse than a whore it's a bore." "If there's anything worse than a bore it's a boring whore."Chinaski isn't comfortable with most people - including women, isn't comfortable with success, and certainly not with himself. He feels inferior to waiters: "I had arrived too late and with too little. The waiters all read Truman Capote. I read the race results" and department store clerks: "They acted so superior, they seemed to know the secret of life, they had a confidence I didn't possess." Chinaski is a highly flawed narrator, but most of his charm comes from the fact that he knows it and is willing to lay it all out there anyway.
  • (4/5)
    Depending on my state of mind, I like the book. In 1996, a close male friend recommended I read this because I reminded him of Linda. It totally rang bells for I was going out with an alcoholic. All stories were really dysfunctional and great!!