Hint: They’re All Unreadable
With Ted Cruz and Rand Paul announcing their candidacies for president recently, we thought it was time to review some of the major candidates’ autobiographies. Not so long ago, it was rare for a candidate to write about him or herself but, in the last several election cycles, autobiographies by presidential hopefuls have become de rigeur. It seems that you simply cannot run for president without first penning an account of your life and philosophy that is mind-numbingly devoid of any interesting insight or fact.
Other must-haves include: a red/white/blue color scheme, a heroic (but not too heroic) author photo, and a catchy title. Oh…and a ghost writer. But even the most talented ghost-writer must have something to work with to create something vaguely readable. And in the current political atmosphere, candidates are loathe to disclose anything but the most tedious and predictable stories and monotonous narrations of their political evolution. The one good thing that can be said of political autobiographies during election season it is that there are a lot of them. Which, come to think of it, isn’t a good thing at all.
Nevertheless, we set out to review some of the most prominent candidate autobiographies. And though Readers+Writers Journal never uses a rating or star system for book reviews, we thought it best to create a standard with which to judge each book insipidity. Is that even a word? How boring each book is. And so we have created…
You’re welcome America! And Now on to the Reviews
Ted Cruz: A Time For Truth
It seems like a bad sign when your author photo makes you look like a cross between Joe McCarthy and Droopy Dog, but there’s not much else we can say about this book, because it won’t be released until June 30th. We anticipate that it will be full of the Texas senator’s unique brand of contrarian wit and we can only hope that, like Cruz’s career thus far, it will be a wild ride through CrazyTown!
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Hard Choices
Say what you will about Secretary Clinton, she is a very smart woman. And say what you will about this book, it has a lot of pages. And a lot of words on each of those pages. And each of the words is definitely English. But, somehow, when they’re all strung together, they don’t mean anything. More than a book, this is a collection of carefully crafted messages and deflections, interspersed with some stories that don’t show anyone, least of all Clinton herself, in a negative light. There’s no insight into the woman who may well be our next president, but for the sheer number of words it uses, and for the benign, inoffensive stories, and for its ability to weigh down papers on your desk, it gets a rating of: I WISH I’D NEVER LEARNED TO READ.
With a title ripped from the headlines of a Cracker Barrel Restaurant menu, Huckabee’s latest down home ramblings are even more bland than those in his previous books. Indeed, if Cracker Barrel were a Chinese restaurant, one would suspect that the prose in Huckabee’s book was plagiarized from its fortune cookies. But with less mysticism. And no lucky numbers on the back. One of the major themes of the book is a lost America that Huckabee seems to feel once existed. Early on in the book, he asks, “Have I been taken to a different planet than the one on which I grew up?” Uh, we don’t know where you’ve been spending your free time. Or what that even means. But we rate this book: NOT AS BAD AS READING THE BACK OF A CEREAL BOX.
Written when he was only a governor and not a presidential candidate, Scott Walker chronicles his gubernatorial challenges with a blandness that is rarely seen outside of children’s books. Highlights include the story of how he decimated unions, taking Wisconsin from a state where it was possible for blue collar workers to earn a living wage to a state with a steadily declining median income. Also included, the time hundreds of thousands of people showed up at the state capital demanding he be recalled as governor, and some of his favorite sayings, like: “Change the polls, not your principles.” Walker’s autobiography is unrelenting in its platitudinous dreariness and earns a rating of: WHY IS GOD PUNISHING ME?
In the coming weeks, as more and more candidates come out of the woodwork and announce they are qualified to lead the most powerful country in the world, we will be back to review their books. With our Monot-o-Meter™. Stay tuned.