Memoir Spotlight: Enough Already

All writing is hard. Take it from someone who has spent her entire adult life earning a living as a writer. Still, some forms are more difficult than others. In memoir, it’s not enough to write well. It’s not enough to put your guts on display, to be brutally honest about your silent struggles, your many missteps, your stupid mistakes. It’s not enough to share some morsel of wisdom you may have gained in your trials. Memoirists must do every one of these things, and then potentially face the ire of family or friends who may see it all differently. They must face the critique of complete strangers who will read, analyze, and judge. People who write and publish memoirs are badass.

Valerie Bertinelli is badass. Of course, I believed that before I read her memoir, Enough Already: Learning to Love Who I Am Today*. Reading the book confirmed it for different reasons than I expected.

She is less than a decade ahead of me in age. As a teenager, I loved Bertinelli in the TV show “One Day at a Time,” and I envied her for marrying Eddie Van Halen. She seemed to have the perfect life.

In retrospect, in my 50s, I understand that no person or life is perfect. Each of us is, at some point, in need of love, happiness, purpose, peace. Each has that inner voice of doubt – if only I was prettier, smarter, richer, thinner, better…. Even celebrities who appear to have it all.

Bertinelli’s memoir isn’t a literary masterpiece or a tell-all shocker. It does have fun stories about her life with Van Halen (she called him Ed) and her career evolution. She is open about motherhood, her struggles with self-worth, and her constant pursuit of losing weight (even when she was 126 pounds). She also goes into detail about how food can feed the soul, and how cooking with and for the people you love enriches life. The book was written the year Bertinelli turned 60, the year of the pandemic, the year Eddie Van Halen died of cancer. She touches on his substance abuse, their separation and subsequent remarriages, and their enduring love for one another despite it all.

The book is about a lifelong journey toward finding and appreciating the joy in life. It gets a little woo woo at times (Bertinelli’s words). It gets a little repetitive, as well. Ultimately, it’s a sincere, humble, heartrending read.

Here is a series of excerpts that, for me, encapsulate what Bertinelli conveys through the book:

“The garden took several years to plant and longer before it began producing fruit and vegetables in abundance. That was a good thing. I needed to learn patience and get into the routine of giving the garden daily attention and care, something I needed to work on with myself, too. And that was and still is the most valuable takeaway.”

“Happiness and joy are the fruits of a healthy life, but it takes work every day. My garden reminds me of this. You have to get your hands dirty.”


Valerie Bertinelli, Enough Already

“Joy is not going to come to me. I have to intentionally pursue it every day.”


Valerie Bertinelli, Enough Already

“…gratitude is the staircase you climb to get to joy.”


Valerie Bertinelli, Enough Already

Learn more about Bertinelli’s memoir here. *

*When you make a purchase at Bookshop.org, you support independent bookstores and authors like me.

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