STAFF PICK: From The Corner Of The Oval

Post by Pam Campbell

Title: From The Corner Of The Oval
Author: Beck Dorey-Stein
Narrator: Beck Dorey-Stein

 

Thanks to Beck Dorey-Stein and her book From the Corner of the Oval, I know with absolute certainty that I don’t have the stamina or the party animal ability to work for the White House.

After answering a Craigslist add online, Dorey-Stein lands the job of a lifetime (and yes, the White House really did put a job posting on Craigslist) working as a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. She takes us inside the daily lives of the lucky individuals who travel around the world with the president and it is nothing short of a whirlwind: a high-flying, up-and-down party that is mixed in with hard work, and long hours. Dorey-Stein and her colleagues are dedicated to their jobs, but that doesn’t stop them from letting loose on a regular basis.

This is not a tell-all book of the president’s or nation’s secrets. You will not get any dirty gossip about Obama. This book is in fact a front row seat to a woman discovering who she is while she is learning the ropes of her new job in a high stakes working environment. She makes mistakes – professionally, yes, but mostly personally – and I found myself wanting to shake her and say “NO! Not again! Stop.” But just when you think you can’t keep up with the full throttle pace of her life, Dorey-Stein gifts the listener with moments of stillness, reflection, and exhalation.

Most of these moments come from her interactions with Obama himself or her watching his interactions with others. We learn of the heartfelt moments that Obama shares with survivors, we learn of his genuine kindness and more importantly we see the proof that the kindness, leadership, and grace of one person can have a profound impact on those around them. It was these moments throughout the book that really resonated with me. Knowing that in the midst of the very loud, adventurous, chaotic everyday comings and goings, your actions, your words, and attitude can have a positive impact both directly and indirectly.

So while this is a memoir of a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, it is so much more than that. While Dorey-Stein’s story unfolded in a most amazing setting, at a daily pace much faster than the average person, it is easy to relate to her; to her setbacks, her triumphs and her doubts. The fact that Dorey-Stein narrates herself lends to the personal nature of the audiobook experience. I found myself not only cheering her on, but also enjoying her eloquent and witty perspective on navigating life.

From The Corner Of The Oval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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