Alyssa Mastromonaco’s memoir of her political career, including her time in the Obama White House, is funny, inspiring, and vulnerable. When I bought it, I was wishing for a reminder of what made Obama’s presidency exemplary. I really had no idea tampon access in the White House would be covered. But kudos to the young staffers who made it easier for women to be a vital part of the political structure of this country. (Dare I wonder if those dispensing machines have remained since January 20, 2017?)
One thing you need to know going into Mastromonaco’s book is that it’s aimed at women aged 15-25. She does a great job of telling both serious and humorous moments in her campaign and Washington, D.C. experiences. The insights into the politicians she worked for and with are pretty fascinating, but don’t expect a deep dive into politics, economics, or history. The purpose of the book is to give advice on setting goals, reaching higher, and being a regular human at the same time.
The book is structured by the qualities she recommends young women nurture in themselves. Thus, it jumps around a lot chronologically, which is a bit odd. But once I got the hang of it, I didn’t mind much.
Reading this in a week with heavy political discussions, Mastromonaco took me back to a time when the President was respected, warm, and brilliant. I might have to read this every month from now until January 2021. But the memoir is mostly about Mastromonaco, a political insider who is approachable and smart at the same time. She tells stories about dating, her cats, the stress of living with IBS, and what it’s like to cry (often) while working in the White House.
I’d recommend this to people who aren’t political wonks and want a mostly lighthearted, but smart, insider’s view of U.S. politics.