Cover image for Nothing to fall back on : the life and times of a perpetual optimist
Nothing to fall back on : the life and times of a perpetual optimist
Carter, Betsy, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2002]

Physical Description:
289 pages ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4874.C265 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Successful and smart, Betsy Carter was not only the ultimate New York Woman, she was also founder of a magazine by that name. For nearly 20 years she led a life that others only dream oftravel, power, fashion, partiesuntil things started to go terribly wrong. Carter faced a series of catastrophes: a devastating car accident, a failed marriage, a house that burned down. Then her magazine folded, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Somehow, though, through sheer perseverance, optimism, and a keen sense of the absurd, Betsy Carter kept going, and lived to tell about it.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

There are people whose lives are incredibly blessed, while others seem to have been jinxed from birth, and others still who swing precipitously between both extremes. Meet Betsy Carter: breathing the rarefied air of high-stakes journalism one day, hooked up to a chemotherapy drip the next. From editorial positions at Newsweek and Esquire to heading up her own magazine, Carter's life is the stuff of dreams--rubbing elbows with the famous and infamous, partying with the glitterati, traveling on private jets--until a seemingly endless string of devastating events turns her world into a nightmare. She survives a disfiguring car accident only to discover that her husband of 17 years is gay. The marriage goes up in flames as does her idyllic country house. She launches, then loses, New York Woman, and immediately is diagnosed with breast cancer. Whew! Fresh, frank, and forthright, Carter speaks with self-deprecating candor about her trials and triumphs in an inspiring, witty, and refreshingly upbeat memoir of life at the top--and bottom. --Carol Haggas

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her first book, Carter, the founding editor of New York Woman and current editor of My Generation, offers a refreshingly upbeat chronicle that covers the traditional memoir fare of life after divorce, surviving breast cancer and recovering from a disfiguring accident and more. After fulfilling her childhood wish to be ajournalistinnewyork and rising to a senior position at Esquire, Carter began her descent into what she calls The Dark Years. I' d lost my teeth, my ability to bear children, my husband, my house, and everything in it. Stripped bare again and again. If this were a movie, I' d skip to the end and pray for a happy ending. But this was my life, and there was no easy fast forward. Ultimately, the list of woes includes her mother' s inoperable brain tumor and the demise of New York Woman. Carter alternates the story of her adult traumas with recollections of coming of age in the 1950s, the daughter of refugees from Hitler' s Germany. Of all her losses, Carter writes most poetically about confronting the reality of aging, ailing parents. At the end of a visit to her recently diagnosed mother once a strong, pragmatic woman who supported the family Carter remembers, she came over to me and pressed a brown paper bag into my hand... I ate the sandwich slowly, knowing that this was the beginning of our saying good-bye. Thankfully, Carter' s style is mostly breezier, and her engaging account of her triumph over adversity (to a comparatively happy ending) should gratify many readers. Agent, Kathy Robbins. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved