Archives de catégorie : Memoir

I’LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW de Stephanie Grisham

The explosive tell-all the Trumps don’t want you to read!

I’LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW:
What I Saw at the Trump White House
by Stephanie Grisham
BenBella Books, April 2021
(via Javelin)

Stephanie Grisham rose from being a junior press wrangler on the Trump campaign in 2016 to assuming top positions in the administration as White House press secretary and communications director, while at the same time acting as First Lady Melania Trump’s communications director and eventually chief of staff. Few members of the Trump inner circle served longer or were as close to the first family as Stephanie Grisham, and few have her unique insight into the turbulent four years of the administration, especially the personalities behind the headlines.
I’LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW
is a White House memoir like no other, written by someone no longer bound by the codes of spin, denial, and twisted loyalty that the Trump administration imposed on all its members. Here is a brutally honest, frequently funny, and always perceptive look behind the scenes of a White House that was in turmoil from day one.
After an early stint in the White House press office, Grisham moved to the East Wing to work for First Lady Melania Trump. This introduced Grisham to a whole new perspective on Trump World, and she soon became a devoted adviser to the first lady, privy to Melania Trump’s most candid thoughts on every imaginable topic and noteworthy events: Jared and Ivanka, Stormy Daniels, the first lady’s infamous jacket that read “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” and much more.
Grisham’s work for the first lady would lead to her appointment as the White House press secretary in 2019. As one of the few figures in the Trump White House to last all four years, Grisham shares her unfiltered view of the whole experience—from the early days when she was seduced by the glamour and power of Trump World to her quickly ascending career in a frequently toxic, dog-eat-dog workplace, to the pinnacles of her profession, where she soon faced the harshest lessons of flying too close to the sun.
Grisham’s memoir is also a personal reckoning from someone who was a true believer, tracing her dawning awareness of how the administration began to lose sight of its mission—serving the people—in its constant battles with the press and other politicians and, above all, in the unending internal drama that consumed a rowdy cast of advisers, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and the president and first lady themselves. It is a story that ends in tragedy with the events of January 6, 2021, the day on which Grisham was the first administration official to quit, a long-overdue severing of ties with the people who had brought her to the job of a lifetime but at enormous cost. It is an account in which Grisham spares no one, not even herself.
I’LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW is not just about politics or the White House. It is about loyalty and family, learning and screwing up, proud moments and monumental regrets, narcissism and humility, love and heartbreak, friendships and loss, and, of course, falling down and trying your damnedest to get back up.

Salacious and score-settling.” –The Guardian
Part giddy travelogue, part belated apologia, part petty payback, all personal-therapy session.” –The New York Times

Stephanie Grisham started at the White House on January 20, 2017. She served as White House press secretary and communications director from 2019 to 2020. She also worked as communications director and chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump. Born in Colorado, Grisham lives in Kansas and Washington, DC.

CHILDHOOD de Shannon Burns

In this arresting memoir, Shannon Burns recalls a childhood bouncing between dysfunctional homes in outer-suburban Adelaide, between impoverished family members unwilling or unable to care for him.

CHILDHOOD
by Shannon Burns
Text Publishing Australia, September 2022

This is what I think I know: my father met my mother while he was dating her sister. Their love was figured on betrayal, both hostile and libidinous. She was in her late teens. He was twenty and travelled everywhere barefoot. Neither had finished high school and both were decorated with amateur tattoos. Things may have been good for a while, but it didn’t last: they argued fiercely and he left. Weeks later, she tracked him down and said she was pregnant. So he moved back in, and they prepared themselves for parenthood.
Eleven months later I was born. By the time my father discovered the deception, it was too late.
There is something chastening about this mode of conception, about knowing that, by most ordinary standards, your beginning was aberrant.

Aged nine, Shannon Burns beats his head against the floor to get himself to sleep. Aged ten, he knows his mother will never be able to care for him: he is alone, and can trust no-one.
Five years later, he is working in a recycling centre—hard labour, poorly paid—yet reading offers hope. He begins reciting lines from Dante, Keats, Whitman, speeches by Martin Luther King, while sifting through the filthy cans and bottles. An affair with the mother of a schoolfriend offers a way out, a path to eventual independence and a life utterly unlike the one he was born into.
‘I want to imagine the past,’ Burns says, ‘in order to discard it more fully. I want to ensure that its power over me is diluted even further, to forestall the possibility of a more damaging reckoning.’ He writes concisely, sketching crisp scenes that often terrify in their brutality. Possessing a clarity of purpose and vividness of expression that bring to mind Raimond Gaita’s
Romulus, My Father, this book is destined to be a classic.

Shannon Burns is a writer and critic from Adelaide. His work has appeared in the Monthly, Meanjin and Australian Book Review.

LIL’ KIM: THE QUEEN BEE de Lil’ Kim

A fearless, inspiring, and refreshingly candid memoir by the Grammy-award winning rapper, multi-platinum recording artist, and cultural icon Lil’ Kim.

LIL’ KIM: THE QUEEN BEE
by Lil’ Kim
Hachette US, November 2021
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)

When teenager Kimberly Denise Jones—better known as Lil’ Kim—burst on the hip-hop scene in the mid-nineties, no one was prepared for how she would shake-up the entire music industry. As the sole female member of the Notorious B.I.G.’s rap collective, Junior M.A.F.I.A., and an affiliate of Puff Daddy and the Bad Boy family, Lil’ Kim always stood out from the pack. But she was determined to make an even greater name for herself and emerged as a solo superstar. In 1996, she dropped her solo debut album, Hard Core, which topped the Billboard charts, went double-platinum, and is now widely considered to be one of the most influential rap albums of all-time. With her dynamic lyricism, her unflappable no-nonsense attitude, her iconic looks both on and off the red carpet, and her unapologetic sexuality, Lil’ Kim quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with—and was crowned the Original Queen Bee.
Twenty-five years later, this Grammy award-winning superstar has released five studio albums, sold millions of records, topped the Billboard charts, performed all over the world, and remains at the top of her game. And yet few people ever knew about the hard work, hustle, and heartbreak that went into securing her place on the throne—until now. In this debut memoir, Lil’ Kim reveals everything that really went on behind-the-scenes of her legendary career, much of it for the very first time publicly. From her earliest rap beginnings growing up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and her teenage years spent with the Notorious B.I.G. to her rise as a solo icon, Lil’ Kim not only blazed trails for women in hip-hop, but also inspired the careers of those who followed. However, life at the top hasn’t been easy, either. Lil’ Kim also talks about the hidden moments of her reign: her complicated high-profile relationships, the misogynistic industry she fought to change through sex positivity, the challenging double standards of self-image and beauty in the spotlight, and the momentous act of loyalty that ultimately landed her in prison.
A true page-turner from start to finish, The Queen Bee is every bit as fierce, empowering, and badass as the woman at the heart of this story—and firmly cements her legacy as a true feminist icon.

Kimberly Denise Jones is the female rap legend, better known as Lil’ Kim. She has sold more than 15 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide.

BECAUSE OUR FATHERS LIED de Craig McNamara

The story of a young man coming to terms with his father’s criminal legacy and forging his own path to peace.

BECAUSE OUR FATHERS LIED:
A Memoir of Truth and Family from Vietnam to Today
by Craig McNamara
Little, Brown, May 2022
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)

Craig McNamara is “the son of the war’s architect,” Robert McNamara, who served as John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense and was responsible for the continuation of the Vietnam War. This memoir reflects on Craig’s adolescent struggles to discern right from wrong amidst a flurry of political escalation from his own father and anti-war sentiments from his peers, and eventually, what led him to embark on a lifelong journey of anti-war protest.
It is an intimate picture of one father and son at pivotal periods in American history.
Before Robert McNamara joined Kennedy’s cabinet, he was an executive who helped turn around Ford Motor Company. Known for his tremendous competence and professionalism, McNamara came to symbolize “the best and the brightest.” Craig, his youngest child and only son, struggled in his father’s shadow. When he ultimately fails his draft board physical, Craig decides to travel by motorcycle across Central and South America, learning more about the art of agriculture and the pleasures of making what he defines as an honest living. By the book’s conclusion, Craig McNamara is farming walnuts in Northern California and coming to terms with his father’s legacy.

Craig McNamara is an American businessman and farmer serving as the president and owner of Sierra Orchards, a diversified farming operation producing primarily organic walnuts. McNamara is also the founder and president of the Center for Land-Based Learning. He is the only son of three children of the former United States Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. He graduated from UC Davis in 1976 with a degree in plant and soil science, and lives in Winters, California with his wife and three children. 

IN THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT de Mary Louise Kelly

A meditation on work and parenting that focuses on the stage when your children are preparing to leave the nest. American broadcaster and journalist Mary Louise Kelly reckons with the compromises she has made – as most people have – while managing a busy life and career, and what it feels like now that the time she has left with her children at home is starting to run out.

IN THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT:
Thoughts on a Finish Line of Motherhood
by Mary Louise Kelly
Holt, late 2022
(via Levine Greenberg Rostan)

Can she get to her son James’s soccer game on Thursday? Nope. Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, has to be at the studio all afternoon, reporting the news. Drive carpool for Alexander next week? Not if she wants to be part of the press corps flying to Iraq with the Secretary of Defense. She has never been cavalier about these decisions. The bargain she has always made with herself is this: this time I’ll get on the plane, but next year, I’ll be there for the mom stuff.
Well, James and Alexander are now 17 and 15, and a new realization has overtaken her: in only one year, her older son will be leaving for college. The time for do-overs is over. There used to be years to make good on her promises; now, there are months, weeks, minutes.
Mary Louise Kelly is coming to grips with the reality every parent faces. Unlike your marriage or your job, childhood has a definite expiration date. You have only so many years with your kids before they leave your house to build their own lives. It’s what every parent is supposed to want, what they raise their children to do. But the effect of this on her and her husband will be immense. It is at best bittersweet, at worst, devastating. And it brings with it the enormous questions of what she did right and what she did wrong.
Mary Louise has become consumed by these thoughts. What’s she’s written is not a definitive answer – not for herself and certainly not for any other parent. But her questions, her issues, will resonate with every parent. And, yes, especially with mothers, who are judged more harshly by society and, more importantly judge themselves more harshly. What would she do if she had to decide all over again?
This is no political tract, there is no correct answer. But her thoughts as she faces the coming year will speak to anyone who has ever cared about a child. IN THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT is not a manifesto; it’s an examination that is moving, often funny, revelatory and immensely relatable.

Mary Louise Kelly has been reporting for NPR for nearly two decades and is now co-host of All Things Considered. She has also written two suspense novels, Anonymous Sources and The Bullet, and is the author of articles and essays that have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal among numerous other publications.