Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review - What Would Mary Ann Do?


What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life

By: Dawn Wells
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1630760281
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 17, 2014

For those of a ‘certain age,’ memories of Gilligan’s Island are filled with fond remembrances of happy times. Among many topics of discussion, boys argued about whether they’d like to date Mary Ann or Ginger, while the girls all discussed if they were more of a Ginger or Mary Ann. Now, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of show, one of only two surviving cast members, Dawn Wells (a.k.a. Mary Ann), has penned a new book with the catchy title, What Would Mary Ann Do?

Part memoir, part Gilligan’s Island trivia, with the bulk of the book filled with tips on everything from manners to men, the book is based on the premise of ‘what would Mary Ann do if she found herself in X situation’ with those situations ranging from how Mary Ann would handle today’s culture to how she’d deal with modern men.

There are over a dozen chapters in this guide, from “Please pass the manners” to “So you want to be in show business.” Many offer sage advice such as the chapter on “If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail again” that, contrary to so many advice books today that say YOU are special, Ms. Wells contends that “Deep breath here. This might sting a little. Okay. Nobody is born special. This includes you.” (pg. 43). She goes on to say that “special is earned,” and lays out a plan on “how you become special.” This advice may seem a bit too old fashioned for some, but for many of us, it’s what people need to hear – they need to earn various things in life, milestones are not a given. Wells then uses examples from her own life (and of experiences from Gilligan’s Island) to bring home her point. Perhaps the best advice in the book (in my humble opinion, particularly important for young girls reading the book) came in the chapter, “The allure of being alluring,” where the author shares Mary Ann’s style points and the best advice of all, “Your looks are not worth your health.” Ladies, are you listening?

There are some nice stories here for fans of Gilligan’s Island but for those wanting a book purely of fan lore and stories of the show, this is not that book. Tidbits are shared throughout, with some nice sidebars on the various actors and what they were like, but again, it is not the main focus of the book. If, however, you’re looking for some down-home, honest, useful advice, take a look at this book.

Quill says: Dawn Wells does a lovely job of sharing advice about all aspects of life with a little help from Mary Ann.