Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are a true New York power couple. He is the genial "Today" show weatherman and she is the inquisitive "20/20" reporter. They have been married twenty plus years and are raising two children, Leila and Nick. Roker has a daughter Courtney from a previous marriage and she is also an important part of their lives. They have co-written a book with Laura Morton that describes some of their background and also their philosophies on marriage, family and career.
The book is mostly written with Roker and Roberts having individual segments where they opine on different situations in their lives and what they have learned from them. Occasionally they will write a segment together. These joint segments are never as good as their individual ones so it is good they are of a limited number.
What makes the book enjoyable is the warmth it exudes. Both Roker and Roberts come across as people who love family above all else. It is the end all and be all for them. That is not to say they are not determined careerists. They are both still very actively pursuing great career moments, but they also are raising a teen and a pre-teen and have to make sure their needs are taken care of in the way that provides a secure environment.
Deborah especially seems to have sacrificed some career goals in order to be there for her family. This is not related in a "poor little me" type manner. It is just revealed as being part of her life so far. She comes across as a loving wife and protective mother. She ascribes this to her heritage, as she was raised in a traditional family in the small town of Perry, Georgia. The values imparted by her parents have stayed with her through the years.
Al also grew up in a loving family. He and his father seem to have been particularly close. Throughout the book Al's best stories center on his father's life and how he constantly set examples of life choices Al should follow.
Deborah's journalism experience shows in the way she constructs her stories. You are drawn into her world and leave each one feeling you know her a little bit better. They also dare to be very emotional such as when she describes the illness of her best friend, or when she describes her loss when her father dies.
Al also tells good stories, but he tends to add his philosophy to the end of them. The stories are good enough to stand on their own and don't need any pontificating to sell them. It is also clear that Al is more reserved than Deborah in baring his soul. He admits he is not a highly social person, this despite the gregarious manner he displays on TV.
Both take great pains to acknowledge how lucky they are to lead the life they do. They are truly grateful for the riches life has bestowed on them, not just of the physical kind but also of the personal. Neither came from wealth and power so they can appreciate the journey their lives have taken.
When the last word of the book has been read, you come away with a sincere appreciation for these two people. They are not perfect. Their own words tell you they are not. But they are people who love heartily, live honestly, and parent with a zeal to get as much right as they can. BEEN THERE DONE THAT offers readers a chance to look inside their world. It is a nice place to visit and to be honest you probably would like to live there.
BEEN THERE DONE THAT is published by NAL. It contains 288 pages and sells for $27.00.