I stopped reading on page 43. I've got better books to read. I was unimpressed by the author's inability to handle her own personal problems like menstruation and digestion.
2.5 - 3 stars
Given the list of Alyssa Mastromonaco's weighty White House responsibilities during the Obama admin., the storyline she recounts here devolves into one-too-many 'dear diary' anecdotes. I cut her slack because maybe she's embargoed from revealing details of what it took to execute policy & personnel decisions as a significant WH staffer. Or maybe the truth is she kept it "light" because she didn't want to burn bridges/ruffle feathers. Whatever..but for me there was too much discordance between the heft of her apparent WH responsibilities and the lightweight story she tells of those times.
A quick read that provided some fun anecdotes, but was at times underwhelming. Alyssa Mastromonaco ran the White House during the Obama years and it's clear that she has a deep passion for what she does. But, while I'd hoped to learn more about the nuts and bolts of what it was like to work in such a busy, high-stakes, high-pressure environment, I instead got a more intimate story, focusing on her own failings and successes.
It's not terrible, but when I'm hoping to read about what it's like working for POTUS during events such as the economic recovery, Hurricane Sandy and the fight to pass ObamaCare, I don't really want to read stories about getting a tampon machine installed in the bathroom, getting diarrhea while meeting the Pope or taking a cat to the hospital.
Also, unlike other memoirs, this book was organized more by themes rather than chronologically. I haven't decided how I feel about that. One the one hand, it did actually do a much better job at keeping me interested in story. It never felt like we were just reading her resume. It was confusing at times, however.
No matter how I felt about the book, it was nice to go back to a time when we had a president who was intelligent, eloquent and compassionate. It was nice to go back to a time when we had a president. Sigh.
A breezy, interesting story that reads a bit like Mindy Kaling's memoirs mashed up with The West Wing.
Garbage. Totally unworthy of reading.
The writer tricked readers by her former job title, yet pity she has nothing to say in her writing.
“Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler, is an amusing read about the author’s life, especially the years she spent as a staffer for John Kerry and Barack Obama. In my opinion, this book does not fall into the category of a “kiss and tell” memoir that so many people write after leaving such a high profile job. Rather, it is more like a collection of the author’s personal feelings and thoughts and experiences as a young woman in a series of stressful, high-impact positions, including working for the President of the United States. She is not shy about telling anecdotes that are personal, or that put her in a less than flattering light. And, I must say, the book seems geared toward female millennials. But, that’s okay. (I just turned and read those parts with my feminine, millennial side.) Mastromonaco writes of her triumphs and failures in an honest, open manner, as if she is speaking with an old friend. She never comes across like, “Hey look at me! I worked for the President!” All-in-all, this was an engaging look at life behind the political scenes, written by someone who worked behind those scenes.
Very interesting and also horrifying at the same time. The author is pretty arrogant but also has no trouble telling stories on herself. But to read this, in this day and age, and discover the breath-taking squandering of money and resources (3 million dollars to paint an airplane????) of which the author seems to have no awareness! It is pretty eye-opening and uncomfortable. If you didn't think we needed more rein on elections and politicians before, you will after reading this.
I really wanted to love this book, and maybe my hopes were set too high - I have to admit that I found it to be fairly sophomoric and lacking depth. While there are some nice moments, the entire books comes off as anecdotal; and I personally did not find the author's life story to be so interesting that it required its own book.
Probably the best book I've read for a long, long time. Just made me so proud to be an American, where adorable young women like this exist and can succeed. Her story is hilarious, the writing is addicting, and the way it makes you feel as if you can do anything is infectious.
I read this on the most boring cross country flight and didn't want to get off the plane until I was done. That's never happened, not even with David Sedaris. Speaking of David Sedaris, Alyssa is in that same lane: somewhat self-deprecating, mostly witty and perceptive, less family and more White House (not that much different, it turns out).
This book is really that good.
I thought this was a book about the Obama administration but it was about the authors career. So I got over my disappointment and enjoyed her personality but wished I had been able to read this when I was in my twenties and thirties. Good insight on what things matter when making career choices and she seemed ahead of the game in knowing herself.
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