Here is what I loved about this book: I loved that it was written way before he even entered politics- the first edition was published in 1994. The other two autobiographies I’ve read (Clinton and W) were obviously written with the idea in mind that this was going to become historical record and when they looked back on their childhood, it was always with a sense of “this is the set of decisions that lead me to this huge place of power” which is fine, but I loved that since Obama’s was written long before that was on his mind, it is wonderfully unencumbered by politics and is transparent in a way that the other two just weren’t. I liked that.
I also think that, without a doubt, Obama is a fantastic writer. I thought that the stories were entertaining, the point was clear and it was all wrapped up in a nice little package. I genuinely enjoyed reading it and filling in gaps in my knowledge.
Here’s what was less than great for me: The middle really drug for me. I understand that his community focus in Chicago was huge in his life but reading about it was just dull. I loved the beginning and the end but felt like the middle was just a little blah.
And I’m looking forward to reading a more definitive biography after his presidency is over. This one is hyper-focused on Obama coming of age and finding out what race means to him, a man with a Kenyan father and American mother. Which was wildly interesting, but left me wanting more.
So, in short, I loved that this was incomplete but wanted it to be more complete. Admit it, you’re going to miss my reviews 😉
And with that, I’m done with the Presidential Challenge! I’m looking forward to going back and reading some historical biographies of people that kept creeping into my Presidential Challenge bios, but as far as presidents, I’m done… at least for the next couple of years!