From the Corner of the Oval

From the Corner of the Oval

Book - 2018
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "[This] breezy page turner is essentially Bridget Jones goes to the White House."-- The New York Times

"Obama administration memoirs are rolling in, but in a refreshing twist From the Corner of the Oval swaps policy for good old-fashioned workplace drama." --Entertainment Weekly

Recommended for summer reading by theSkimm * Jane Green on NBC's Today show * Entertainment Weekly * Refinery29 * Bustle * PopSugar

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama's stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers--young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.

Against the backdrop 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, in the process, discovering her voice.

Praise for From the Corner of the Oval

"Who knew the West Wing could be so sexy? Beck Dorey-Stein's unparalleled access is obvious on every page, along with her knife-sharp humor. I tore through the entire book on a four-hour flight and loved reading all about the brilliant yet hard-partying people who once surrounded the leader of the free world. Lots of books claim to give real insider glimpses, but this one actually delivers." --Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

"Ms. Dorey-Stein . . . writes with wit and self-deprecating humor."-- The Wall Street Journal

"Addictively readable . . . Dorey-Stein's spunk and her sparkling, crackling prose had me cheering for her through each adventure. . . . She never loses her starry-eyed optimism, her pinch-me wonderment, her Working Girl pluck." --Paul Begala, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
Publisher: New York, NY : Spiegel & Grau, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525509127
Branch Call Number: 651.374 DORE
Characteristics: xix, 330 pages ; 25 cm

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writermala
May 07, 2019

This book comes with very positive reviews so I felt it doesn't live up to its billing. The author does give us some unique perspectives of working in the White House; but i could have done without the description of the author's, almost pathetic, love affairs. Also, the White House staff seems to do a lot of drinking and one wonders if all of it is true. An OK read - not great.

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Leslie82
Feb 03, 2019

Disappointing. I initially felt it had potential but it devolved into a White House soap opera. Too little insight/behind the scenes perspective into the professional side of working in the White House - instead it felt more like a too-long memoir from a business traveler who spends too much time in bars. And the toxic relationship that she can’t give up - for an intelligent young woman to be so naive, it was head-shaking. I felt like I was reading a 20 year-old's journal at times instead of someone nearing 30.

Bottom line: some interesting content about working in, and navigating the complexities of, the White House, but not enough to offset the too-frequent recountings of her trysts and the resulting self-loathing. Cutting out 50-75 pages of the personal drama would have left me feeling this book was true to its title.

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Editor97
Jan 11, 2019

This book was highly touted, but I was disappointed. I expected an inside look at the daily functions of the Oval Office, as well as some idea of the people who work there and what they do. Instead, it was more focused on the author's experiences, including her personal life away from work. I could have done without that--lots of drinking, bar-hopping, partying etc. and very little about governing, although she seemed to admire Obama.

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Jeanetteholveck
Nov 10, 2018

I hated the first several pages so much I went online and read reviews. Bottom line don’t know how first several pages got past editors. But I read on and I loved it. Stayed up all night.
Well. We were all 20 something once. I am glad I was married my whole 20s. 1963-1975.
Yep. That old. So the mistakes she made I made in my 30s. But I was older and way more wiser. But they were mistakes. So what. I survived without a major disaster. I almost didn’t read the book because of reviews about her personal life but I stayed up all night reading. Yeah I loved it. I recommend it. This is life. And those people who say Obama’s only made cameos??? It was enough. The real story was how the press works and what it takes to be one of the lower echelon people and the friendships. You will love it.

k
KatG1983
Oct 09, 2018

I was really excited to read this book, as it comes from an individual with such a unique perspective on the Obama administration; and I am definitely torn on the outcome. On one hand, the book is well written and offers some incredible stories of once in a lifetime experiences, as well as small peaks into the personal life of Obama. On the other hand ... the majority of the book is taken up recounting the ups and downs of the author's dalliance with an Obama staffer. A staffer who can be politely referred to as a cad (I would use some other super impolite terms, but think the library might ban me). While I think most women can relate to falling for someone who is terrible for them, the author's actions become, at some point, awfully pathetic; and by the end I didn't respect her very much. Perhaps the salaciousness had to be included to get published, but I would have preferred a book less focused on her personal life. If anyone deduces who Jason is, let me know ... I've been googling, but so far have not discovered his real identity ... and I'm dying to know (so I guess she got me there, really).

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forgeman
Sep 26, 2018

I'm always interested in behind the scenes looks that very few people seem to get and this book started off with what I thought would have been great insight. Imagine my surprise. As much as she clues us in to how things work around the president of the United States, or POTUS, it seems more like a diary written by someone who has been allowed to ghost write. Either she had severe restrictions on what she could report, or as many of the White House staffers said, its just a job, this came across as rather bland. She did her share of sleeping around, if that goes with the territory, and like any job some people embrace her and others seem to be out to give her nothing but grief. It was a quick and easy read which I came away with very little to want to pass around or read it again.

p
PO1031
Sep 18, 2018

After a few chapters, I returned this book to the library.

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lilypad_1
Aug 25, 2018

I enjoyed this book so much I gave myself a migraine because I couldn't put it down. Of course, missing Obama I love every mention of him and his 8 years. I could have done without her love life melodrama(bad advice to include this) and more of inner workings of White House, more about Obama(of course), but really was a good read if you are missing the last administration.

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bill970
Aug 04, 2018

Great title by a good writer who, at the time, was 26 going on 16.
Having briefly touched this magic bubble myself, she did a good job capturing that electricity that surrounds this group.
Too bad she followed Remnick's advice and made it 'her story'.

dtreichler Jul 02, 2018

This hilarious memoir is a must read. It has been described as "The West Wing" meets "The Devil Wears Prada" and it certainly lives up to that expectation. The story of how Beck Dorey-Stein stumbled into a job as a stenographer in the Obama administration is unique and provides a fresh take on today's politics. While I could have done without some of the personal relationships and drama she describes, specifically her affair with another staffer, the wonderful anecdotes about POTUS make up for it. From jogging next to POTUS on treadmills in various hotel gyms to seeing him handle the terrible events of the Sandy Hook and Pulse Nightclub shootings, this book provides a unique insight into the personality and character of our 44th president. DEFINITELY a book I would recommend.

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