Ever since reading Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened, I seem to have read and enjoyed a lot about American politics. Most recently, of course, Fire & Fury (didn’t enjoy that much but I’m glad I read it – you know what I mean?). So when I saw this book being published, and with that gorgeous cover, I knew I had to grab myself a copy.
So, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in Washington DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. She joined the elite team who accompanied the President wherever he went, recorder and mic in hand.
On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travellers – young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the President. But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with a colleague, and suddenly, the personal became all too political.
Set against the backdrop of a White House full of glamour, drama and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters and discovering her voice in the process.
I really loved this book. A lot. I was engrossed in Beck’s world – in the Oval Office, on Air Force One, drinking with her new friends, partying in Cuba, dealing with her relationships, or even when she was on the treadmill next to Obama himself. Stein is a wonderful and gifted writer. All throughout the book, it feels as if you’re talking to your best friend when she tells you everything about what happened in (and out) of the Oval Office. Her writing is beautifully honest, frank, funny, inspiring at times and she always finds the humour of a story somewhere which I loved.
If you’re wanting to read this for big news scandals about the Obama White House or looking for massive juicy gossip about what happened, this isn’t that sort of book. Stein works in the White House and travels all over the globe with the President and the team, but the book is more about herself – her friends, her colleagues, her relationships, her President. I found myself reading a section about going out drinking with her friends and then all of a sudden, Obama is there. There is little glimpses here and there which I think adds to the book. This isn’t a book about Obama, this is a book about a young woman trying to figure out her life, while working for Obama.
This is also a book about figuring out what you want to do in your life. How you want to shape your life, how to not give up on something you are passionate about. It’s about taking life by the balls and going for it. It’s also a book about how people feel that they aren’t good enough, that you will never get the chance to do what you want to do, always stepping back, unable to push yourself out of your comfort zone. After reading this book, I feel empowered, inspired and motivated to carry my passions through and build them up to be stronger and step outside my comfort zone, too.
Also, can we talk about how amazing this cover is? I love everything about it – the colour, the typography, the type-writer effect. It looks so good and effective.
This is a fantastic, interesting and eye-opening account of a young woman trying to navigate her life and her career through the corridors of the White House. We see how and the Obama team react to tragic and harrowing events such as the Pulse nightclub attack. We travel all over the world, right next to Beck as she travels to some beautiful cities, go to Stonehenge, go to big and fancy parties, navigating her own relationships, both personally and professionally. It’s a book with a great sense of self, wisdom and truth. And I’m sure you won’t be able to read it without wishing you had that job, too.
It’s a book about how we must not be afraid to talk about what we are passionate about, it’s about using our voice, it’s about looking up and seeing the world before you, standing up for yourself.
Not in the corner but right at the centre. Nobody puts baby in the corner… not even in the Oval Office.
Have you read From The Corner of the Oval Office yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!