Reviews by Georgia

What Happened

By: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler

November 8, 2016 was the 58th quadrennial American presidential election. I watched Good Morning America before going to work and their analysts, along with those from other networks, predicted Hillary Rodham Clinton to win by a substantial margin. Much of the country, if not the world, received a surprise the following day. What Happened scrutinizes the events that led up to the phenomenal win by Donald J. Trump.

Clinton writes about her stunning loss. Was there foreign involvement, media bias, or illegal tampering of evidence? Could it have been sexism or misogyny? Maybe people just did not like her and believed Donald Trump was the better choice. Clinton tells her story; the story of what she saw, felt, and thought during the two years preceding that historic day. She also continues with the months that followed and how she is making peace with the decisions she made during the campaign.

Both Trump and Clinton were viewed unfavorably by the general public before Election Day. Clinton’s use of her private email address and server while Secretary of State plagued her the entire campaign. Trump had no prior experience in public service or the military. A Trump victory was considered unlikely by almost all media forecasts. When the time came to cast a vote, Americans gave Clinton the majority of the popular vote, approximately 48%, compared to Trump’s 46%.

But it's the electoral college vote that selects our president and Trump received 270 to Clinton’s 227. This is the fifth time in U.S. history that a candidate has won the presidency while losing the popular vote.

Clinton takes the reader inside the experience of what it was like to be the first woman nominated for president by a major political party and the mistakes she made. The book starts with a quote from Harriet Tubman, famous for her work with the Underground Railroad; “If you are tired, keep going. If you are scared, keep going. If you are hungry, keep going. If you want to taste freedom, keep going.” The last chapter is preceded by a quote from Pope John Paul XXIII; “Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible to do.”

The presidential election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. Clinton writes “The lessons we draw from 2016 could help determine whether we can heal our democracy...and whether we as citizens can begin to bridge our divides.” She adds, “We all have to do our part if we’re going to rebuild trust in one another and our government.”

What Happened debuted September 12, 2017 and sold more than 300,000 copies the first week. It is available in the nonfiction section of the library; 920 CLI.

January 2018

Young Jane Young

By: Gabrielle Zevin

 Reviewed by: Georgia Rindler

 You know a book is good when you get to the end and want more. That is how I felt when I read the last page of Young Jane Young.

 Aviva Grossman had an affair with Congressman Aaron Levin while a college student interning in his office. The Grossman and Levin families had been neighbors in Boca Raton, Florida, when Aviva was in high school and Aaron a state senator. Mike Grossman used their past history to land his daughter an entry level job. She was a student at University of Miami majoring in Spanish literature and political science. He hoped this could get her started on a career path. It turned out to end her career before it even began. Aside from getting involved with a married man, Aviva made the youthful mistake of blogging about her relationship with the senator. When an automobile accident revealed Levin was with a young intern, it didn't take long for her readers and his constituents to put two and two together. With the affair public knowledge, Aviva took the brunt of the blame. She became the joke of Florida politics while the popular, beloved congressman moved up in government positions.

 The second part of the book takes place over a decade later in Maine. Jane Young is an event planner and knew Aviva when she lived in Florida in 2001. When Jane decides to run for mayor of her small town, disturbing allegations are made. Wes West is also running for mayor of Allison Springs and insists Jane Young and Aviva Grossman are one in the same. He is using the information to his advantage in the election. Adding to Jane’s campaign troubles is her thirteen-year-old daughter. Ruby was told her father died in a car accident before she was born. The teen is aware of the gossip going around town and isn’t afraid to do an internet search on the names she’s heard. It is all very convincing and Ruby believes her mother has been lying to her all these years. But she wants to draw her own conclusion on her parentage. Ruby is internet savvy and competent beyond her years. She discovers you can do almost anything with a smartphone, a business American Express account, and a printer. She purchases a ticket to Miami, arranges transportation to the airport and circumvents airline policies for unaccompanied minors.  

 What happens next is a surprising, yet plausible storyline for Jane and Ruby and some unsuspecting Floridians. Gabrielle Zevin writes a novel demonstrating how the past is never really behind you, especially in the days of Google searches and information that is not forgotten, only magnified.

 Young Jane Young can be found in the fiction section of the library; FIC ZEV.

 December 2017