Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House
I had zero idea that the bathrooms in the White House didn't have tampons until a few years ago. Now I do! Thanks to Alyssa Mastromonaco, the funny, relatable, and inspiring author of this memoir-slash-portrait of Obama's White House. Reading this book while Trump is our president will make you sad; Barack Obama's kindness and empathy really comes through on the page. Alyssa's journey from scheduler for John Kerry's campaign, to working for then-senator Barack Obama, to playing a key role on his 2008 campaign, to deputy chief of staff, is nothing short of inspiring.
When you're reading this, you really feel like that you're getting a behind-the-scenes peek into the White House. It's also full of general life advice, in the style of Mindy Kaling's Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? Mastromonaco writes (read the full excerpt in Marie Claire),
Often, when you're dreading something, it can feel as if there is just no possible way that whatever you're dreading will actually happen—as if some goddess of serendipity will surely swoop in and stop it in the nick of time. The test you haven't studied for will be rescheduled for next week; the guy you've really been meaning to break up with will tell you he's decided to move to India to embark upon a life of meditation but will always love you and remember the times you shared; the cockroaches in your apartment will be revealed to have been a very involved art project your roommate was working on, so you're not going to have to argue with the landlord and call the exterminator nine times and be afraid of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night for several weeks. The goddess of serendipity almost never swoops in.
There is something so damn relatable about her book - even though I will never ever work in the White House - that makes her narrative so successful. (And, I must admit, I teared up at the end in the story about her cat. I don't even like cats!!)
Also, missing Obama.