Like millions across North America (and the globe, really), I followed the toxic 2016 American presidential election with equal parts fascination and repulsion, stunned by its mean-spiritedness and unsure of its direction. Perhaps that’s why I found Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first-hand account so fascinating from the first few pages: It pulls back the curtain on a year-and-a-half long campaign that played out in the media on a daily basis from the perspective of someone in the front row, going over a variety of topics related to the election, each neatly broken down by chapter. As a writer, Clinton is masterful, capable of condensing nuanced, complicated thoughts and emotions succinctly without sacrificing clarity for brevity’s sake – that being said, the most notable element is Clinton’s sober-minded analysis of her own campaign and the state of America in the twenty-first century. Freed from the confines of politics and public service, Clinton is candid here, making a tremendously effective case against the public perception of “Hillary Clinton” the media figure versus Hillary Clinton the person, emerging as a sympathetic narrator fully aware of the strong reactions she inspires. Ultimately, this memoir works best as a guide for dealing with grief, loss and defeat, and what it means to find inner strength to rise above and persevere.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)