From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dory-Stein | Memoir Review

The compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the Obama White House, through the eyes of a young staffer learning the ropes, falling in love, and finding her place in the world.

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein, Author

Book Details:

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein
Published by Spiegel & Grau (July 10, 2018)
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Politics/Obama White House
Source: ARC provided by NetGalley
Format: Kindle, 352 pages
ASIN: B076NSTK6F

 

 

Where to Buy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Book Depository

FCC Disclaimer: I received a copy of an ARC from NetGalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Book Description:

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate DC outsider, she joined the elite team who accompanied the president wherever he went, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travelers–young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with a consummate DC insider, and suddenly, the political became all too personal. Set against the backdrop of a White House full of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and discovering her voice in the process.

My Review:

“[C]ompulsively readable” describes From the Corner of the Oval so wellOnce I started reading this memoir I couldn’t put it down.
 
Beck Dorey-Stein writes with the pen of a former English teacher. She writes descriptive scenes and characters. Her authenticity shines through and seeds of humor drop along the way.
 
Unlike Dorey-Stein, I’d never think of using Craig’s List to find a job. Dorey-Stein thought nothing of it. And she ends up working as a stenographer in the Obama White House. Work days include trips around the world and across the country on Air Force One. 
 
Eager to make friends and fit in, Dorey-Stein finds herself tangled up in a romance. She shares stories of love, heartbreak, and sadness. Not overlooked are work-related stories from the White House. I found the romance somewhat distracting. Yet I accepted it as part of life for any 20-something no matter where she worked.
 
This is not a tell-all book from behind closed doors in the White House. It is Dorey-Stein’s story of landing the job and learning the ins and outs of the White House. She also meets famous people and travels the globe. Dorey-Stein lives the stories we read and watch in the media.
 
I applaud Dorey-Stein’s first published work as well-written and engaging. For this reason, and the humor woven throughout, I highly recommend From the Corner of the Oval.
 
My Rating:

 

 

Meet the Author:

Memoir Author Beck Dorey-SteinBeck Dorey-Stein is a native of Narberth, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Wesleyan University. Prior to her five years in the White House, she taught high school English in Hightstown, New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; and Seoul, South Korea.

This is her first book.

 

Connect with Beck:

Website | Facebook


News Bites: Writing, Books, and Tech Stuff

Newspapers and TeaAn incredible news dump consistently comes at us via TV broadcasts, the Internet, radio, social media, and in overheard conversations in restaurants or on the bus or train.

Every now and then why not focus on news relating to things we enjoy. Like writing, music, reading, technology and more.

Here are a few articles for your perusal:

Writing News and Tips:

On May 22nd Philip Roth died. According to his obituary in The Times, Roth was the last of the triumvirate of great white male writers–Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others–who towered over American letters in the latter half of the 20th century. If you haven’t read Roth’s books, this article helps you get started.

Always on the lookout for good writing tips, I came across a post titled Writing Tips from The Elements of Style: a Summary of the Most Influential Guide to Writing. A quick look proved my suspicion to be correct–we were talking about my favorite writing book. This summary of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is a great guide for beginning writers as well as a welcome reminder for those of us who’ve been writing a while.

Book News:

In the last couple of weeks, I read Beck Dorey-Stein’s memoir, From the Corner of the OvalDue for release on July 10, 2018, this is a memoir you want to watch for and read. Dorey-Stein brings not only a sense of the tensions but also the humor found in the life of The White House as well as The Oval Office. She served as a stenographer during the Obama administration and flew on Air Force One several times. This experience gave her a bird’s eye view of life in the “Oval.” 

From the Wall Street Journal, we read that an uptick occurred in the sale of print units. However, there are still questions surrounding the viability of retail brick and mortar stores. Barnes and Noble is the focus of an article by Jeffrey A. Trachtenburg, Book Retailing Woes Undercut Excitement Over Clinton, Obama Titles. 

LitHub bookmarked Amy Poeppel’s Limelight: A Novel as one of the best of new books this summer. Based on five reviews, Limelight is categorized as a “Rave.” This short excerpt gives you an idea of Poeppel’s premise:

Allison Brinkley–wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist–discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.

Some Tech Stuff:

There is no way to scan the news without finding something tech-related. And all who write want to become better at doing that, right? The Muse posts an article sharing 7 Free Tools to Become a Better Writer. Two or three of these were familiar, but the rest were new apps I’ve not tried. Give the post a quick look. Maybe you’ll find a new helper.

Have you thought about dictating your book rather than writing it? Udemy currently has an offering, How to Speed Write Your Book With Voice Recognition SoftwareIf you’ve tried voice recognition software, please share your experience in the comments. Lately, I’ve posted about chronic illnesses and writing. That’s a situation in which this software could be beneficial.


Coming up on Tuesday, June 19th:

My review of Doom, Gloom, and Pursuit of the Sun by Antoine F. Gnintedem, a work of biographical fiction. This book shares the experiences of a young man growing up in and then leaving Cameroon. 

Until then, think about these words from Amy Tan:

The privilege of writing explained by Amy Tan.