In If I Knew Then, which was first published in 1962, Debbie Reynolds makes her debut as an author, having already excelled in numerous other fields of expression—including appearing in motion pictures, on the stage, in vaudeville and on television, and selling more than a million copies of her record “Tammy,” from the movie Tammy and the Bachelor (1957).
“I’m Debbie Reynolds.
“Well, I’m not really Debbie; I’m Mary Frances. But if you like Debbie you can call me that. Or you can call me Sis, like my father, or Frannie, like my brother, or Mrs. Karl or—Whatever you want to call me, I’m pleased to meet you.
“Now let’s get down to cases. Like the Case of Why Debbie Reynolds Is Writing a Book. That’s one that even Perry Mason would have trouble solving.
“Me write a book?
“I can imagine the hubbub this will arouse in certain quarters
“People who know me well know I will not be swayed by flattery. I am going to write this book, anyway. First I’d better list what this book is not.
“1. It is not an autobiography of Little Me. The life and times of this belle will have to be written a few decades hence.
“2. It will not teach you how to play the piano in forty-five (45) days.
“3. It will not cure nervous tension, negative thinking or excess acidity.
“Then what is it?
“It is a book about the things I have learned, often the hard way. It was prompted by the people who have written me for advice on a variety of subjects, mainly personal. Why me, I don’t know. But they write….”—Debbie Reynolds