Let’s get something straight: I know the Housewives franchise is horrible. I know it’s the downfall of humanity — certainly the female portion — and I probably shouldn’t watch it. But…I don’t care.
I only started watching the series because one fine day I was at Depasquale the Spa with my mom when one of our manicurist friends informed us that they were filming something there for the Real Housewives of New Jersey. My mom and I were thrilled — a reality show being filmed at our favorite spa!? — and knew we had to tune in once it aired. (The people at the spa that day were sisters Caroline and Dina Manzo but the clip was never shown, much to our disappointment.) I’ve been hooked ever since, and I give Bravo/Andy Cohen a lot of credit for coming up with a reality TV show that appeals to nearly every single woman from age 13 to 80. It may be trash, but it’s damn successful trash.
As Bravo/Andy Cohen continue to brainwash me into watching more and more seasons I have also become interested in the written words of these ridiculous wives, so I picked up Caroline Manzo’s Let Me Tell You Something. I did NOT want to read this for more dirt on the other Housewives, of which there is none in the book; I wanted to read it just to see what Caroline has to say. According to her she is actually quite different than how she is portrayed on the show, which is probably true, but she seems to have a pretty healthy outlook on the whole thing: It’s her job. She gets paid to have her life filmed. She used to sell real estate, now she sells this TV show. She doesn’t think she is or should be a celebrity, and she knows (and hopes) it will all eventually go away.
I admire and respect Caroline’s relationship with her husband, Al, and children, Albie, Chris and Lauren. She is still genuinely in love and insanely happy with the man she married when she was 22, and they have built a nice life together. They are all very close without being freakishly/uncomfortably close, and she is adamant about being her children’s parent as opposed to their friend. I also respect her in regards to something else: Keeping your her mouth shut. She is pulled in many different directions on the show with all the fights and talking behind each other’s backs and this one said that and she did this, but Caroline knows better than to comment because whatever she says will assuredly get turned around, chewed up and spit back out by castmates, producers, editors, media and viewers. She’s better off just listening and not contributing to the madness, something I often try to do in my own life.
One thing I do not respect, however, is her belief that unless you are seeking specific job training, such as becoming a doctor or lawyer, you do not need to go to college. I think that’s true for grad school, and true for many careers besides doctors and lawyers, but not for undergrad. College is a very important experience for people to have, if not for academics then just for living with others and being away from the comfort zone of family and high school. I know college is absolutely nothing like “the real world” for which you are supposed to be preparing while there, and plenty of jobs do not require a college degree, but socially and emotionally it is a crucial thing to go through.
So I thoroughly enjoyed reading Caroline’s words of wisdom, and for the most part I appreciate her outlook on life and the Housewives. I highly recommend the book to fans of the show, but, again, do NOT expect gossip.
Next up: I finished this book while down the shore and forgot to bring the next one on my shelf so I had to borrow another trashy romance from my mom: Jennifer Crusie’s Maybe This Time.