The hottest non-fiction book of the summer
This is definitely one of the hottest non fiction books of the summer. Bold statement Sarah but I’ll back myself. There’s nothing like championing a book that has truly made an impact. This book is an insight into an industry that I have no clue about - the inner workings of The White House. Not exactly a topic that comes up in day to day conversation and this is what makes it a must read. As much as I love novels and I really really do love novels, there’s something down right fantastic about reading a story that really happened.
From The Corner of the Oval Office by Beck Dorey-Stein has become one of those books that I have pushed on everyone. I currently don’t have my copy as it’s being passed around. Pretty much the reason I read is to share but that’s another story. It’s a memoir of a young lady’s time working in one of the biggest systems in the world. This book is a reflection on a time when you learn a lot, drink a lot and love a lot. The whirlwind of being in your twenties in a job you sort of just happened to find yourself in and the adventures along the way. And my oh my there are some incredible adventures. Going to Petra with Obama has to be up there, don’t you think? But this isn’t just a book bragging about hanging out with one of the coolest Presidents there’s been, it’s a thoughtful insight to the pressures of working for such an office and the seemingly endless work there needs to be done to keep a country running.
Hired as a stenographer (a person whose job is to transcribe speech in shorthand) Beck tells us her story of falling in love with the wrong person, working 24/7 and what it feels like to work out next to the President of the United States of America. Charting four years of her time at the White House, she covers everything from what it’s like being the new kid on Air Force One and surviving another press conference on two hours sleep. Work hard and play hard was invented in The White House.
There is so much in this book that is relatable and it’s not just the aforementioned staying for ‘one more drink’ even though you know you’ll only get three hours sleep - though that pretty much sums up my first year of working in London. It’s the feeling of being lost whilst in a whirlwind. The pace of the book highlights just how fast moving the world of the White House is, night flights half way across the world to come back again later that day, emergency meetings and conferences when disasters strike and so there hardly seems time to breathe let alone think. But throughout the book, there is this sense and Beck discusses it openly about how she isn’t sure what’s next. It’s something that has been cropping up recently, especially in my own life, the whirlwind of being in your twenties and then being spat out the other side.
As always I could prattle on and on about this book but you’ll soon discover for yourself the incredible writing and find a little bit of your own twenties in the tales told. Above all, this memoir is brilliantly witty and human. All the silly things we do, all the silly things we think as humans, it’s all there. Reminding us that it is A Okay to just be human.
And if I had to sum to it all up, in reading this book it will be like a good friend telling you about their (pretty amazing) day at work down the pub.
The book comes out 12th July.