YOU’RE GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL
By Marc Shapiro
Mary Tyler Moore was best known for her roles on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. Both wildly successful programs that challenged gender norms and inspired generations of women. Marc Shapiro had a difficult task in writing a book about the cultural icon as she laid her heart bare in two memoirs, AFTER ALL, and GROWING UP AGAIN: LOVE AND OH YEAH DIABETES. What was left to say? She was open about her battle with alcoholism, went into great detail about her fight with diabetes and had lived in the public eye for the better part of 40 years.
Instead of approaching his book as a rehashing of old stories, gossip, and recycled interviews Shapiro decided to take a look at Moore’s life through the cultural lens she helped to shape. In a time where new allegations of workplace harassment are making headlines on a daily if not hourly basis this approach to the material is a fitting tribute to an important figure in the women’s liberation movement. A movement that has grabbed our nation’s attention and doesn’t show any signs of letting go anytime soon.
Shapiro, rightfully, presents Moore as a deeply flawed individual that was a (as he puts it) “subtle but driving force” in the woman’s movement. When women as diverse as Andrea Mitchell, Joan Jett, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey, and Michelle Obama all site a debt of gratitude to Moore, her influence is widespread and virtually ubiquitous. But Shapiro shows Moore and the feminist movement were heading in the same direction over a very short period of time. THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW made some inroads into the real world and the move for equality but it was THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW that permanently linked her to the movement.
YOU’RE GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL is an honest assessment of Moore’s relationship with and influence over popular and political culture. This straightforward account of her public life humanizes her in a way that makes her influence all the more impressive. She was never the gung-ho feminist leader that some people might imagine, but rather a reluctant hero who had a complicated relationship with a movement she never asked to be the voice of.