It’s hard out there these days for serious minded conservatives. Imagine the frustration of being led for eight years by George W. Bush only to watch as their brethren flirted for a brief second with an actual leader with actual brain cells – John McCain – only to fall directly into bed with that repulsive two-headed monster that is Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin. Joe the Plumber, as he apparently likes to be called, has already released a book (Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream for those of you dying to rush off and buy it) and done the talk show circuit (nobody cared), and is still hanging around, publicly debating with God whether he should run for office. But for all intents and purposes his fifteen minutes are coming to a close.

The same cannot be said of Palin, who seems to become more and more indestructible as the days go by. Thus far she’s survived the Katie Couric interview, being blamed for sinking McCain’s ship, intense tabloid scrutiny surrounding her pregnant teenage daughter and her newly anointed "gay icon" baby daddy, a bizarre step down as governor of Alaska, and a host of other scandals only to release her memoir and have it become one of 2009’s hottest sellers.

The book, for better and for worse, is autobiographical and anecdotal and not a roll out of her 2012 campaign platform. Or, to out it put another way, it is much more Dreams from My Father than The Audacity of Hope. It covers two general topics; Palin’s life leading up to the 2008 campaign and the campaign itself. The first section is self-indulgent and a challenge to get through. If ever you wanted to know everything about Palin’s life growing up, or her family tree, or the most insignificant factoids about life in Alaska then this is your book. Whether or not you actually exist we don’t know. The rest of us will ourselves subconsciously avoiding it or falling asleep the second we pick it up. No, sorry, I don’t care about the intense work schedule she had to endure as a newlywed, or the life lessons Todd learned after his DUI arrest, or how proud she is to have attended the University of Idaho. But least of all do I care about her sappy, less than believable posturing as a real woman of the people which she rubs in the readers face on a bi-page basis. You can just feel the smug self satisfaction coming off the page in a thick, suffocating wave.

Things start looking up when we finally get to the hashing out of her version of events from the fall of `08. The woman who attempted to become the first female Vice President is clearly harboring some major grudges and has no problems taking potshots at anybody she doesn’t like (usually delivered in an off the cuff, "you won’t believe this but. . ." style). And while things like calling McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt "rotund" are indeed childish it’s also delightfully politically incorrect and fun in a high school gossipy kind of way. She’s a less than reliable source but still it’s to her credit that she even takes on some of her more embarrassing moments like being pranked by a radio DJ into thinking that she was talking to Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France. Of course it wasn’t her fault – blame her assistant – and Schmidt is real jerk for the way he treated her afterwards, but at least she mentions it.

For as long as this book remains a hot topic in the media those on the right will continue to pretend that it is some sort of masterpiece (Rush Limbaugh called it "one of the most substantive policy books I’ve read.") and those on the left will continue to work overtime to find every factual inaccuracy. But once the dust settles history will show this book to be a pretty ho-hum affair, written (most would say by ghostwriter Lynn Vincent) in a technically pleasing though cold and distant voice. It’s certainly nowhere near good enough to deserve a blanket recommendation, only to say that even if you despise her and her politics all political junkies are encouraged to give it a read because it presents a very important side to the story that was a very historic campaign.

Author: Sarah Palin

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 432

 

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