NEW YORK -- For all the table-flipping, name-calling and screaming on Bravo's The Real Housewives of New Jersey, there is a voice of reason among the cast. That belongs to Caroline Manzo, a straight-shooting, happily married mother of three grown children.
Manzo can get worked up on the show, and she certainly holds her own in a battle, but for the most part, she seems irritated, if not bored, by the drama among her castmates. One thing is evident: When Manzo speaks, everyone listens.
The 51-year-old reality star has expanded on her no-nonsense approach to life with a new book, Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother, and Street-Smart Businesswoman, written with Kevin Dickson and published by It Books.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Manzo talked about her book, family life and reality TV.
1 Why did you decide to write a book?
I got the idea from the viewers. They ask me the same questions over and over again, and it's, "How do you manage to have three great children? How do you manage to have a close family, long marriage, happy marriage, backbone? How is it being in the public eye?"... All I can say is what I've done in my life, and that for me was the best way to answer the questions through little anecdotes about my life.
2 You can tell on the show that you're very close with your family. Did you notice right away that people were very interested in knowing how you achieved that?
To this very moment I'm puzzled by the reaction to me and my family because I'm finding more and more that people find it unusual, and it should be normal and that's what puzzles me. Why am I unusual? Why is my bond with my children abnormal? And that's what I find interesting.
3 This book isn't a tell-all. Did some people think you should make it one?
There are some people along the way that said, "It would sell more copies." Well, that to me is not success. I want the book to sell because people want to hear what I had to say about things and are truly interested in learning about me and my family and the process of being on Housewives, which I talk about. I don't bash anyone. I tell little behind-the-scenes anecdotes about Housewives. To say that something is a success because you were negative about somebody is not the way I operate.
4 Viewers who watch The Real Housewives think they know you because it's a reality show. Do they really?
I would say the viewers have a pretty good handle of who we are as people. However, you don't know all sides of us. We are each multifaceted individuals, so you see one angle of us. You don't see everything.
5 What can we expect from the upcoming fifth season of your show?
This season gives you everything you want and more. We top it every year. I think this season is gonna give everybody what they're looking for. If you're looking for peace, there will be peace; if you're looking for fighting, you're gonna have fighting. You want to laugh? Laugh. You want to cry? Cry. There's a little bit of everything.
-- Alicia Rancilio, The Associated Press