free hit counter code From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

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 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY theSkimm - Refinery29 - 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 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY theSkimm - Refinery29 - Bustle 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 "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)


Compare
Ads Banner

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 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY theSkimm - Refinery29 - 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 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY theSkimm - Refinery29 - Bustle 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 "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)

30 review for From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    My rating moved up and down through the entire book. Her experiences in The Oval Office were really interesting and I felt like I was there with her! 5 stars! On the other side of the equation, her relationships were a train wreck and I couldn't figure out if she was incredibly brave for sharing them or incredibly stupid (I know that's harsh) to think she could come out looking good, when she was (spoiler) sleeping with a man who was in a relationship and expecting, well I don't know what she wa My rating moved up and down through the entire book. Her experiences in The Oval Office were really interesting and I felt like I was there with her! 5 stars! On the other side of the equation, her relationships were a train wreck and I couldn't figure out if she was incredibly brave for sharing them or incredibly stupid (I know that's harsh) to think she could come out looking good, when she was (spoiler) sleeping with a man who was in a relationship and expecting, well I don't know what she was expecting, especially since he told her he was just having fun. And BTW isn't this guys wife going to realize what was going on? We all make mistakes, judging others is bad, but she seemed to want validation and I just can't do it. Her lack of strength, character and judgement were hard to read especially when she screwed over a close friend. I think this would have been a solid book if not for those disclosures. So, 1 star for having to sift through all of her life crap, that wasn't fun at all. Lastly I was really bothered by the amount of times she talked about being a "writer" and wrote something "brilliant" for a member of the Presidents staff (and the President too) and was told what an amazing writer she is. It seemed very self-serving.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars here. Beck Dorey-Stein was a twenty-something former teacher unsure of not only what she wanted to do with her future, but whether she'd even be able to find a job to sustain her until she figured out her life. Living in Washington, DC to be closer to her boyfriend, she cobbles together a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet, but she's envious of those who know what they want. When she answers a Craigslist posting for a job, she figures it won't amount to anything. She's more than 4.5 stars here. Beck Dorey-Stein was a twenty-something former teacher unsure of not only what she wanted to do with her future, but whether she'd even be able to find a job to sustain her until she figured out her life. Living in Washington, DC to be closer to her boyfriend, she cobbles together a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet, but she's envious of those who know what they want. When she answers a Craigslist posting for a job, she figures it won't amount to anything. She's more than shocked to find out that this isn't a random clerical job—it's a position as a stenographer in the Obama White House. Stenographers don't take dictation anymore—instead, they're in the background of every speech, every presentation the president makes, no matter where in the world he is, microphone in hand, recording his words and transcribing them for history and/or public release. From the Corner of the Oval follows Beck as she learns the ropes of her job and White House protocol, builds friendships with her colleagues in different positions throughout the administration, and begins to travel the country—and the world—viewing current events and the president's reactions to them at close range. She gets to have opportunities she never would have thought of, such as traveling on Air Force One and running on a treadmill next to the president. "We're always just a few ticks, clicks, updates, and pings away from personal and collective disaster, but right now we're not our titles but our own selves—people with backgrounds and futures and exes and half-dead pets and crazy parents and broken hearts and broken hearts and big dreams; people who are listening to the president as he tells a funny story from two countries back, twelve hours ago, depending on which time zone you're counting in. We're so different, but we're swimming in this same punch-drunk delirium, and we have one major thing in common: We've found ourselves, shockingly, amazingly, how-the-fuck-did-this-happen crazily, flying halfway around the world on Air Force One. We are lucky. We are so goddamn lucky." The constant demands of her job take their toll on her relationship with her boyfriend, who after volunteering with Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, becomes more desperate to recapture that enthusiasm and magic. Their on-again, off-again, often-long-distance relationship leaves her vulnerable to the advances of another senior staffer, someone far from appropriate relationship material, yet someone Beck finds unable to resist, no matter how many times she winds up hurt. As the Obama presidency moves closer to its conclusion, Beck becomes ever more enamored with her job and the president, and more confused about what her next step should be. This book so accurately captures the enthusiasm so many felt around the Obama administration, his family, and his reactions to the events which unfolded—tragedies like Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombing, and his historic trips to Cuba and Vietnam. At times I felt sad reading the book because of the immense juxtaposition between his administration and the one currently in the White House. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Dorey-Stein is so engaging, and she drew me right in as she began recounting her experiences. Her story was told almost in an "aw, shucks" manner, as if she couldn't believe her good fortune in getting to be witness to history and be in such close proximity to this president. Her description of the despair many of her colleagues felt when Hillary Clinton lost the election stung, because I remember feeling similarly, although for different reasons. I don't read a lot of memoirs, but this was so appealing, so enjoyable, and such a quick read. All of the people with whom Dorey-Stein shared her writing throughout her tenure in the White House weren't lying—she really can write, and we are lucky she shared her seemingly unbelievable journey with us. NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anjie

    I was looking for a less wonky take on the Obama era. I got less wonk, but plenty of alcohol-fueled bad decisions, a ton of self-doubt, a toxic relationship that took up so much of the memoir I have to wonder if the author is STILL hung up on him, all peppered with the obligatory "how lucky we are to serve our country this way." It was definitely a reminder that staffers are human and the political heights are a unique pressure cooker. I just wish I had picked a guide who told a less repetitive I was looking for a less wonky take on the Obama era. I got less wonk, but plenty of alcohol-fueled bad decisions, a ton of self-doubt, a toxic relationship that took up so much of the memoir I have to wonder if the author is STILL hung up on him, all peppered with the obligatory "how lucky we are to serve our country this way." It was definitely a reminder that staffers are human and the political heights are a unique pressure cooker. I just wish I had picked a guide who told a less repetitive personal story and a more detailed political one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    From the Corner of the Oval is not what I expected. Beck Dorsey-Stein worked as a stenographer in the Obama administration. This means that she was one of a handful of people who’s job it was to record and transcribe every public meeting, interview or statement made by Obama. This also means that she spent an awful lot of time in close proximity to Obama and his entourage, including traveling through the US and around the world on Air Force One. I expected Dorsey-Stein’s book to be about the inn From the Corner of the Oval is not what I expected. Beck Dorsey-Stein worked as a stenographer in the Obama administration. This means that she was one of a handful of people who’s job it was to record and transcribe every public meeting, interview or statement made by Obama. This also means that she spent an awful lot of time in close proximity to Obama and his entourage, including traveling through the US and around the world on Air Force One. I expected Dorsey-Stein’s book to be about the inner workings of the Obama White House as seen by a close observer. There is some of that, but much of the book is taken up with the author’s youthful and turbulent love life. Throughout much of the book, she is lovesick and hungover as she hankers for the attention of the wrong man, who is one of her coworkers and a senior member of the administration. But, oddly, I still quite liked it. My favourite parts were definitely Dorsey-Beck’s unadulterated admiration for Obama. When Obama does make an appearance, the author does a great job giving tidbits of insight into his solid character, seriousness and sense of humour. At this stage in my life, I cannot relate to the chaos of the author’s personal life — and it’s hard to understand what would motivate her to write a book primarily focused on her messy love life — but at some level, I still found her endearing and found myself whipping through her story. It’s a bit of an odd book, and I’m not sure who I would recommend it to, but my 4 star rating is an honest assessment of how readable this one was despite its flaws. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I think my quibble with this book was far more with the way it is being marketed, or positioned, than with the memoir itself. Ms. Dorey-Stein's book felt more like a coming-of-age story to me than a White House memoir. It may well be my age, or experience level, but I read it as a personal struggle for emotional and professional maturity more than a political memoir. And, after wading through her rather repetitive series of disappointing relationships with lovers, she didn't grow emotionally, so I think my quibble with this book was far more with the way it is being marketed, or positioned, than with the memoir itself. Ms. Dorey-Stein's book felt more like a coming-of-age story to me than a White House memoir. It may well be my age, or experience level, but I read it as a personal struggle for emotional and professional maturity more than a political memoir. And, after wading through her rather repetitive series of disappointing relationships with lovers, she didn't grow emotionally, so why did I spend a few hours with this book ? IF she had been a stenographer in a Fortune 500 company, not the White House, certainly there would be no memoir. (And, yes, I think most businesses are tech savvy enough that stenographers are akin to Stegasauruses). I don't want to be harsh, but I found the book pointless. I have a genuine interest in reading about the inner workings of The White House, but this did not enlighten me. Perhaps another under-employed young professional would easily identify with both the career choice and the personal choices that the author made and be inspired by her journey in some way. I was not. Nor was I impressed by her writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Juvenile. For thought provoking insight into working in the Obama White House read Alyssa Mastromonoco, David Litt or Ben Rhodes. For the importance of being "cool," rationalizing an (extremely) emotionally abusive relationship that hurts multiple parties and drinking/getting drunk around the world--there is this. Sadly the important events/people of this administration are mere back drops to all the mess.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    Great hook but if you’re expecting White House gossip and the inside track on the Obamas and politics more generally then you may end up as disappointed as I am. The highlights are definitely the Obama cameos: his ease with everyone, the moment when he tells the story of how he first met Michelle and she refused to date him... But they are just that: cameos. About 80% of the book is the life-story of Beck who acts like a teenager throughout: she’s constantly drunk, she cheats on her boyfriend wh Great hook but if you’re expecting White House gossip and the inside track on the Obamas and politics more generally then you may end up as disappointed as I am. The highlights are definitely the Obama cameos: his ease with everyone, the moment when he tells the story of how he first met Michelle and she refused to date him... But they are just that: cameos. About 80% of the book is the life-story of Beck who acts like a teenager throughout: she’s constantly drunk, she cheats on her boyfriend while telling us she loves him, she falls into bed with a White House aide who’s clearly a cheating Lothario and tells us that she loves him too; she gushes endlessly about a) how heartbroken she is with her rubbish love-life, b) how lucky she is to have the job she does, c) how much she lo-o-o-o-v-e-s her friends and they her, and d) how they keep telling her she’s a brilliant writer. In between the self-absorption (she’s in therapy and she’s only in her twenties...) and the hero-worshipping of Obama (and surely only an American can not use his name, calling him ‘the leader of the free world’ without a hint of irony?) we do learn that there are Airforce One branded M&Ms, and that every day is like a school-trip. Oddly, Michelle barely gets a mention though she’s clearly on many of the state visits that get covered. Could it be that she didn’t lurve the author? Read this if you want a coming of age tale of a twenty-something naïve American who has appalling taste in men and general bad judgement but who just happens to work in the White House – skip it if you want insider political gossip. 2.5 stars rounded up because I couldn't stop reading once I'd started!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Geiger

    I totally hate-read this book. I devoured it like tasty popcorn that makes you a little sick. Beck Dorey-Stein gives us a behind-the-scenes look at being a stenographer for President Obama - an entry-level job that enables her to travel around with other Obama staffers. What ensues is basically a 5 year frat party filled with boozing, boy craziness, hookups in hotels, endless comparing of herself to other female staffers, and an unabashed idolization of Obama. I can literally hear her squealing, I totally hate-read this book. I devoured it like tasty popcorn that makes you a little sick. Beck Dorey-Stein gives us a behind-the-scenes look at being a stenographer for President Obama - an entry-level job that enables her to travel around with other Obama staffers. What ensues is basically a 5 year frat party filled with boozing, boy craziness, hookups in hotels, endless comparing of herself to other female staffers, and an unabashed idolization of Obama. I can literally hear her squealing, “We are so lucky!” as she clinks glasses with her co-workers for the hundredth time. I can’t say it was an inaccurate depiction of being in your 20s, but if it weren’t for the backdrop of the White House and plenty of gossipy name dropping, this book would be totally pointless. She can definitely write, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    An enlightening and captivating journey around the world on Air Force One. SUMMARY In 2012, Beck Dorey-Steinback was just scraping by in DC, when a posting on Craigslist landed her, most improbably, in the oval office as one of Barack Obama stenographers. She joined the elite team who accompanied the President wherever he went and recorded and transcribed all of his talks. She traveled across time zones, and forge friendships with a group of fellow travelers-young men and women who, like her herse An enlightening and captivating journey around the world on Air Force One. SUMMARY In 2012, Beck Dorey-Steinback was just scraping by in DC, when a posting on Craigslist landed her, most improbably, in the oval office as one of Barack Obama stenographers. She joined the elite team who accompanied the President wherever he went and recorded and transcribed all of his talks. She traveled across time zones, and forge friendships with a group of fellow travelers-young men and women who, like her herself, left their real lives behind, to hop aboard Air Force One in the service of the President. As she learns the ropes Beck becomes romantically entangled with a senior staffer, and major drama ensues. This is a story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heartbroken, learning what truly matters and discovering her voice in the process. REVIEW I was drawn in by this enlightening behind the scenes look at the Obama administration. The good ole days! From the Corner of the Oval is Beck’s personal adventure for a job which started when she didn’t even show up for the first interview...but she got the job anyway. Good for her! I loved the descriptions of the things she had to do, the people she met and the places she went. I was drawn in by her sense of wonder and appreciation for seeing places like Myanmar and the Shwedagon Pagoda and later watching a Burmese man in his late 60’s with tears streaming down his face, as the president speaks of his country’s potential. It is at this point that Beck states she will remember that this is why she’s here. She will remember to look up. She will remember to remember. And that is what she has shared with us, her reflections of what she saw when she looked up. While I didn’t enjoy reading about the drama of her personal relationships with the men in her life, I did appreciate her honesty and openness in admitting her mistakes and failures. Her perspective is young and fresh and she takes us on an around the world journey on Air Force One that few have been privy to. It was a joy to read this educational and captivating book. Beck Dorey-Stein is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Prior to her White House experience she taught high school English. This is her first book. Thanks to LibraryThing and Random House for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Review www.bluestockingreviews.com “Who doesn’t want a compliment to level out the smell of the sweat that embalms our blazers, the dark circles under our eyes, the smeared mascara and blotted catchup stains, the phones lost, pounds gained, the days without exercise, the decadent four-thousand-calorie meals we scarf down in the middle of the night? Who doesn’t want a little light thrown in their direction when we’ve all had our focus on one man since we locked our front doors and loaded our suitcases in the cabs three, four, ten days ago?”

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    [3.5] Irritating and irresistible, I liked this book in spite of the heavy doses of 20-something boyfriend angst - especially the repetitive descriptions of Dorey-Stein's poisonous affair with a White House staffer. The author's job as a stenographer is ordinary, but the setting is extraordinary. She is open-hearted and funny and allows us glimpses of the Oval Office and Air Force One. From her "corner," she is privy to an extraordinary view of Obama, whom she adores.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Romero

    I wanted to read this book because of the behind the scenes look at Obama and what goes on during all of that travel. While it began strongly, Beck gets caught up in the trap of drinking with and sleeping with her co-workers. I’m not sure how she got anything done as drunk as she always is and not really picky about who she is sleeping with. We got a few interesting glimpses of Obama and other staff members, but it was all overshadowed by her almost teen-aged angst and sleeping with men already in I wanted to read this book because of the behind the scenes look at Obama and what goes on during all of that travel. While it began strongly, Beck gets caught up in the trap of drinking with and sleeping with her co-workers. I’m not sure how she got anything done as drunk as she always is and not really picky about who she is sleeping with. We got a few interesting glimpses of Obama and other staff members, but it was all overshadowed by her almost teen-aged angst and sleeping with men already in relationships. It could have been something with some heavy editing. So no, I wouldn’t recommend this one. Netgalley/Spiegal and Grau July 10, 2018

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    From the Corner of the Oval is a fun and highly entertaining read. From her hilarious process of getting hired as one of Obama’s stenographers to her final days at the White House after President Obama leaves, the book is informative, at turns hilarious, and always chock full of tales about life at the White House. The best parts of the book are those detailing her travels and the ins-and-outs of working for the president. I could have done with a little less information on her inability to jett From the Corner of the Oval is a fun and highly entertaining read. From her hilarious process of getting hired as one of Obama’s stenographers to her final days at the White House after President Obama leaves, the book is informative, at turns hilarious, and always chock full of tales about life at the White House. The best parts of the book are those detailing her travels and the ins-and-outs of working for the president. I could have done with a little less information on her inability to jettison a fellow worker who was clearly bad news. It was easy to skim over those portions and enjoy the rest of the insider’s look at life working for one of the world’s most powerful people. Listen to my podcast at https://www.thoughtsfromapage.com for fun author interviews. For more book reviews, check out my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tamsen

    I am at 155 pages and debating whether to stop... (ETA: skimmed the rest and it was painful.) Do you remember when you would write in your diary or journal, and then ten years, two years, six months later, you would read what you wrote and think my God, what an idiot I was!?! I seriously believe Dorey-Stein is somewhere, already cringing... at least I hope. She may not be self-aware enough. Things I hate about this memoir so far: Beck's terrible boyfriend Sam. Sam calls her "cookie" affectionately I am at 155 pages and debating whether to stop... (ETA: skimmed the rest and it was painful.) Do you remember when you would write in your diary or journal, and then ten years, two years, six months later, you would read what you wrote and think my God, what an idiot I was!?! I seriously believe Dorey-Stein is somewhere, already cringing... at least I hope. She may not be self-aware enough. Things I hate about this memoir so far: Beck's terrible boyfriend Sam. Sam calls her "cookie" affectionately (vom) and constantly tells her what to do (read a book, relax, have fun, during a fight: break up with me, break up with me). Beck is a prude (the strong women on the Obama white house staff call themselves "vagiants"... get it? Beck thinks it is gross instead of kind of awesome. I wanted to be like, befriend a vagiant! What a mentor she would be!). Beck comments on how beautiful everyone is, particularly the model skinny type women in the office. She is 27 and very concerned about being labelled in the "cool" group. Beck doesn't think the guys want her, but she is one of the guys and writes like they all do. She bitches about her job as a stenographer and is embarrassed that other people think she wants to be a "typist" for a living (bitch, some would KILL for your job in the White House, the traveling, the actual work of it). She gets said job even though she blew off the first interview. She writes each "chapter" in a few pages and they read like she modified part of her diary to accommodate the bigger picture of working at the white house (Jason totally ignored me today and I still love him. I don't know what to do about Sam, I feel so guilty! Joe Biden said a joke in the hallway and I just couldn't even move! Later I typed up POTUS' speech and I couldn't agree more.) She thinks she is a great writer and that everyone loves her work... so much so that she gives out samples of her work to senior staffers as gifts (the cringing!). There's more, but this is exhausting. I thought it would be incredibly interesting to read a memoir from the inside, especially from this type of position - important but of course not overtly, an inside take from someone on a relatable level. I also thought the administration transition would be fascinating (have not gotten that far yet though). Instead, I've been reading this very thankful to be in my almost mid 30s (I turn 34 in 12 days). I hope I wasn't this naive and self-centered at 27, but if I was, all I can say is thank God I didn't publish my memoir then.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Allegra Poschmann

    This book started strong, and then got very repetitive. Ultimately, it's a coming-of-age story about a young girl falling in love, falling out of love and learning to love herself set against the backdrop of working as President Obama's stenographer. I wish she would have gone into more detail about her experience and all of the amazing things she got to witness; instead, it felt like there were some minor references to 'big news stories' (i.e. the Newtown mass shooting, Obama's lift on the Cuba This book started strong, and then got very repetitive. Ultimately, it's a coming-of-age story about a young girl falling in love, falling out of love and learning to love herself set against the backdrop of working as President Obama's stenographer. I wish she would have gone into more detail about her experience and all of the amazing things she got to witness; instead, it felt like there were some minor references to 'big news stories' (i.e. the Newtown mass shooting, Obama's lift on the Cuban Embargo, etc.) before quickly getting back to detailing a relationship with a former (reportedly senior) staffer in the administration. This would be fine if she actually detailed the relationship in any great length, but the story quickly devolves into a monologue of feelings rather than action points. Overall, a light, quick summer read – but avoid if you're looking for any substance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    Twenty something Beck is living in DC, enjoying time with her boyfriend, working a part time teaching job and part time at Lululemon, trying to make ends meet, when she answers an ad for a job as a stenographer at a law firm on Craigslist. They ask for her resume and cover letter and Beck, thinking nobody even reads her cover letters, omits it. She hears back with a request for the cover letter and feeling discouraged from her ongoing job search she tells them in an email that her resumé speaks Twenty something Beck is living in DC, enjoying time with her boyfriend, working a part time teaching job and part time at Lululemon, trying to make ends meet, when she answers an ad for a job as a stenographer at a law firm on Craigslist. They ask for her resume and cover letter and Beck, thinking nobody even reads her cover letters, omits it. She hears back with a request for the cover letter and feeling discouraged from her ongoing job search she tells them in an email that her resumé speaks for itself. But then she was invited to come in and take a test, which she does, and enjoys it – it is not a typing test as she expected, but a multiple choice and analogy test. Beck, having done well on the test, is called back again for an interview. She agrees to go but misses it due to Lululemon training. She has no interest in working as a stenographer but feels she needs interview practice so she makes a halfhearted effort. Feeling apathetic but with some vague sense of responsibility, she writes to apologize and gets this message back: Hi Rebecca, I understand you’re busy. For transparency’s sake, I wanted to let you know this is a job at the White House, and you’d be traveling with the President on his domestic and international trips. Let me know if this changes things. Bernice” And this very email changes Beck’s trajectory in life and in love as she embarks on a crazy journey with the White House staff and President Obama’s team. I really enjoyed this memoir, From the Corner of the Oval; Beck is not unlike any young adult fresh out of school and focused on herself, her friends and her love life. Her boyfriend shenanigans and drinking escapades are typical and par for the course, fun to read and reminiscent of the good ol’ days in the big city for me, but her job was a once in a lifetime opportunity that gives this memoir an extended life, great interest and that un-put-downable quality! Author Beck Dorey-Stein shares tidbits of insight and glimpses of President Obama and his staff through her eyes as she tells her personal story of struggles and growth, personal and professional, with this incredible, little known insider view as the colorful backdrop. If you enjoy memoirs, if you have an interest in hearing about what is is like to travel the world with the President of the United States, or if you want to read about one young woman’s journey to find herself and happiness, Beck Dorey-Stein’s From the Corner of the Oval is for you! Follow the blog Book Nation by Jen for all recommendations and reviews.

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    This is not your grandma’s White House biography. Non fiction is not a genre that I read a whole lot of. Non fiction—especially biographies etc—aren’t not my thing, but ever once in a while a non fiction book comes up that captures my eye and this was one of those books. The summary promised the most random story—a woman lands a job at the White House via Craig’s List. Yes you read that right. Craig’s List. The White House. Stenographer for the President. Yes—THE POTUS. What the actual *&%????? Sol This is not your grandma’s White House biography. Non fiction is not a genre that I read a whole lot of. Non fiction—especially biographies etc—aren’t not my thing, but ever once in a while a non fiction book comes up that captures my eye and this was one of those books. The summary promised the most random story—a woman lands a job at the White House via Craig’s List. Yes you read that right. Craig’s List. The White House. Stenographer for the President. Yes—THE POTUS. What the actual *&%????? Sold. I was absolutely onboard with this book! This book is Bridget Jones meets the Oval Office. From the very beginning, I could not put this book down. When I first started this book, I had a lot of questions. Why in the name of God would the White House post such a unique position on Craig’s List? And second, do they actually still need stenographers? Dory-Stein answers all these questions and more in her memoir. If you are looking for an Obama tell all or something more sophisticated—keep looking. This book is not your grandmothers biography—this is non fiction meets chick lit rather than a polished biography about our former president. It is unique and totally binge worthy. I read it in almost one sitting. While I loved this book and easily counted it as one of the best reads all year—there were times when I absolutely loathed the authors decisions. We’ve all made mistakes in our twenties and I thinker’s safe to say that we’ve all been ‘hung up’ on a significant other at one point or another but Dory-Stein takes it to a whole new level. I couldn’t believe how much of a train wreck her personal life was but yet at the same time, I couldn’t say that I haven’t been in her place before—hooked on a guy who will never treat you the way that you wish they could. She falls in love with peoples potential and I am 100% guilty of this in former relationships—so maybe that was why this book was hard to read at times. I can’t imagine the courage it took to write this book. She was so honest and real—even when the truth was ugly, she never shied away from her past and choices. I commend her for her honesty. This was not only a cautionary tale, but it gave readers a good hard look at the things that go through women’s minds and the ways that women try and justify their emotions or choices. I loved the grit and honesty in this book. While working at the Oval Office sounds terribly glamorous, in this book readers get a completely different view. Working for POTUS sounds like the ultimate dream job right? As a stenographer, Dory-Stein had unobstructed access to some of our nation’s biggest moment, decisions, and conversations. I can’t imagine that kind of power and access to history. But like everything, it comes with a price. Working for the White House now seems far less appealing after I read this book. What a lonely lifestyle—and in many ways—toxic. I can’t imagine following POTUS on the campaign trail or visiting multiple countries in a matter of days. On one hand—-HELLO DREAM JOB—but on the other hand—your life isn’t your own and it’s a lot less glamorous than it sounds. The way that Dory-Stein writes really highlights the darker side of the ‘dream job’. Even if she doesn’t necessarily say it—being on the road is lonely and her personal life suffering the consequences of a dream job. Though stenographer wasn’t her ‘dream job’—it was more A JOB, than dream job—she really shows the reader how much she sacrificed for this job. I was totally annoyed with her by the end, mostly because of her relationship choices, but I was happy with the spot that she ended up in. I wish there had been more info about what she’s doing now, maybe a epilogue with more info or just a little blurb at the end about what she’s doing now, but I also read that she was writing another book so maybe in that book there will be more details. A film company has already bought the rights to this book and I will absolutely go see it when and if the movie gets made. This book made the White House sexy and I absolutely loved it! Thank you Dory-Stein for writing something raw, real, and honest! See my full review here

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)

    From the Corner of the Oval is the EXACT book you want to read for all the revealing scoop inside the Obama Administration White House and what it would be like to work inside. We see what it's like to work alongside the president, travel the world and hang out with other staffers. MINUS the boring political swill and old school players in Washington, DC. OK, well there ARE technically players, but of a "sleep me with and then don't talk to me for months" kinda way. It's not so much about the inn From the Corner of the Oval is the EXACT book you want to read for all the revealing scoop inside the Obama Administration White House and what it would be like to work inside. We see what it's like to work alongside the president, travel the world and hang out with other staffers. MINUS the boring political swill and old school players in Washington, DC. OK, well there ARE technically players, but of a "sleep me with and then don't talk to me for months" kinda way. It's not so much about the inner workings of Obama's administration - you aren't going to learn any federal secrets or inside Obama family scoop - but follows one young woman's journey working in the depths of the white house on a super-low rung of the totem pole, as she builds some pretty fun relationships and interactions between the staffers. Beck Dorey-Stein is living in Washington D.C. at an all-time career low (out of work teacher) when through of all things - a vague Craigslist ad - is hired as a stenographer in the Obama White House. She is totally out of her element and finds herself navigating the DC elite, finding out who she is and what she wants from life and making WAY TOO MANY HORRIBLE mistakes in love. I LOVED getting all the inside looks to what a day could be like in the White House from a 20-somethings' perspective. She zooms all over the world in Air Force One following POTUS to just about every speaking engagement he had throughout almost his entire administration. She has several fun interactions with him, and sees and experiences high and lows of our country and our world that she will never forget. All the while, she is navigating falling in love and trying to find where in this world she fits in. She has a really fun group of friends and I thought every character in the memoir deserved some more attention. I do wish there was a bit more development or backstory of some of the people she is closest to, but we mostly learn about Beck's life here. At some points you can feel how hard she truly tries to make relationships work, but it gets really intense and a bit annoying, and you're like "Get your Sh*t together already woman!" But that's the story - Beck is trying to get her Sh*t together and it's a fun journey to follow! There's some super colorful language - so if calling Congress a 'Bag of D*cks' is not your thing... be forewarned! I personally enjoy a good F-bomb every now and again, so it only made the story more light and fun. I TORE through this. It's fun, and fascinating, and I wanted so much more!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Reviewed from an Advance Reader's Edition. I found this book to be in turns engrossing and frustrating. First, I picked this book up solely because I saw the author was a stenographer. For about seven years, I assisted in the training of realtime machine stenographers at the now-defunct AIB College of Business in Des Moines, Iowa. I was the department dictator, helping instructors read court transcripts out loud to the students, usually taking the part of the witness in the testimony selections. ( Reviewed from an Advance Reader's Edition. I found this book to be in turns engrossing and frustrating. First, I picked this book up solely because I saw the author was a stenographer. For about seven years, I assisted in the training of realtime machine stenographers at the now-defunct AIB College of Business in Des Moines, Iowa. I was the department dictator, helping instructors read court transcripts out loud to the students, usually taking the part of the witness in the testimony selections. (Truly the greatest job ever!) To help the students attain the accuracy of something like 97 or 98 percent needed to pass their exams, we'd read at a rate of 240 words per minute. How fast is that? Well, try reading the Gettysburg address in 68 seconds with two people taking alternating sentences. Our students went on to become court reporters, transcriptionists and closed captioning writers. So I was quite happy to see the the first page included guidelines for aspiring stenographers, many of which were concepts that I'd heard tossed around the classroom. But then the author quite early on confesses that she is not a trained stenographer, unable to use a stenotype machine or even do written shorthand. She just shows up to record any speaking events and then goes back to a little room to type up the tape. She is not particularly happy with the work. But she and I were both excited about where she was working: the Barack Obama White House. Truly, Obama is the best character in the book, wandering through the pages in quick little sporadic cameos, acting human and presidential in turn. It reminded me of a time when I felt hope and had respect for the man holding the office. Unfortunately, the memoir doesn't really provide much insight into the Obama administration beyond what anyone who was following the news at the time wouldn't already know. But it is a nice nostalgic wallow. The book is held back by several big problems. First, the author spends way too much time detailing her multiple bad romantic relationships that are often made worse by her bad decisions. At times, the tone started to remind me of a teenage girl getting all angsty and whiny about her pathetic love life and bad boyfriends. Like Bella getting all cranky/scared/swooney when Edward looks at her briefly from across a room level of pathos. Which leads into the second problem: the prose gets pretty purple at times, especially when she is trying to bring dramatic weight to some scene featuring Obama addressing a national tragedy or one of her boyfriends doing something particularly heartbreaking. The worst is when she goes on about how encouraging it is when someone tells her she is a good writer...again and again and again. There is a line between telling how others help build your confidence and stroking your own ego, and I think she crosses it. My final problem is the same one I had with Anna Kendrick's Scrappy Little Nobody. Have you ever seen the social media campaign that shows a woman vacationing and having fun in a variety of settings and slowly you are supposed to realize that each image features a glass of alcohol? Whenever she is off the clock and not exercising, Dorey-Stein is drinking, often to the point where she makes the bad decisions that impact her bad romantic relationships. Over and over. I worry about her. Anyhow, despite my criticisms above, the book was readable and kept pulling me along well enough, especially as I hoped each turn of the page would bring another Obama appearance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    I really wanted to like this book. I’m still deciding whether to give it one or two stars. The only thing that saves it is some of the wonderful moments that involve President Obama. I expected it to be much more about her work and Obama insights (which there is some of) than reading what probably boils down to journal entries recalling the years of bad personal relationship decisions. I forced myself to finish the book because I wanted the glimpses of President Obama. Otherwise, every time the I really wanted to like this book. I’m still deciding whether to give it one or two stars. The only thing that saves it is some of the wonderful moments that involve President Obama. I expected it to be much more about her work and Obama insights (which there is some of) than reading what probably boils down to journal entries recalling the years of bad personal relationship decisions. I forced myself to finish the book because I wanted the glimpses of President Obama. Otherwise, every time the name “Jason” appeared, I audibly groaned and rolled my eyes. We’ve all been there but sheesh, way too much of this book is devoted to her “relationship” with this douchebag. That whole story could have been shoved into a couple of chapters and pages devoted to things interesting. Perhaps the author should have done a compilation of her random writings- the ones she’d give to people, as those actually sounded interesting. Or for the love of God, someone get Peggy to write a book. She’s the one who has the stories I think most readers were looking for - and over years and years, through various presidencies. My vote is don’t waste your time. Very disappointing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I devoured this book. Beck pulls us along on her journey into the Obama administration from her vantage point as a stenographer. Access to the history-making moments and the people who made them was fascinating. The relationship sagas woven into the snapshots of history was icing on the cake. This is a memoir but reads like fiction. The writing is smart and well developed. The end came too soon and left me mourning (along with Beck) the end of Obama’s time all over again. A must read for anybody I devoured this book. Beck pulls us along on her journey into the Obama administration from her vantage point as a stenographer. Access to the history-making moments and the people who made them was fascinating. The relationship sagas woven into the snapshots of history was icing on the cake. This is a memoir but reads like fiction. The writing is smart and well developed. The end came too soon and left me mourning (along with Beck) the end of Obama’s time all over again. A must read for anybody who wants a closer look into the lives of White House staffers deftly told from the vantage point of someone living in the middle of it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Grace Lindsey

    Maybe not everyone needs to write a book?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kat Narvaez

    EXCELLENT! Simply EXCELLENT. I flew through this memoir and forgot about the rest of life moving around me. Beck Dorey-Stein is an incredible author, I will be sure to keep an eye out for her upcoming books (****please write more books*****)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The two stars was because the Obama stuff was fun and enjoyable. The rest was a mess of her getting drunk all the time and rambling on incessantly about how she shouldn’t be sleeping with someone and then turning around and sleeping with them. Over and over and over again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I listened to this, which I think greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the book. The author is a fantastic narrator and I often found myself sitting in my car, listening for a few more minutes. Beck Dorey-Stein was unemployed when she randomly answered an ad on Craig's List for a stenographer, thereby landing a job with the Obama White House. She traveled extensively with the President and even worked out in the hotel gym next to him in the pre-dawn hours. There is one scene where he wants to use th I listened to this, which I think greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the book. The author is a fantastic narrator and I often found myself sitting in my car, listening for a few more minutes. Beck Dorey-Stein was unemployed when she randomly answered an ad on Craig's List for a stenographer, thereby landing a job with the Obama White House. She traveled extensively with the President and even worked out in the hotel gym next to him in the pre-dawn hours. There is one scene where he wants to use the elliptical because he has plantar fasciitis (me too, bro!) and he waits for some staffer to finish using it. I mean!!! He was the President and could've presumably had the entire hotel gym shut down so he could work out. This memoir is funny and the author has a lot of self-awareness. Her disastrous approach to men/relationships gets a little tiresome but it's written with so much humor and intrigue that it's not as frustrating as it might otherwise be. She really dishes and I have admittedly spent too much time googling in failed attempts to figure out the real people behind the aliases. She doesn't hold back (but definitely doesn't paint herself as a victim, either). Trigger warning: if you are dismayed by the crass, barely literate, morally (and financially) bankrupt person currently serving in the WH, this book will be tough at times. I've been very critical of Obama in the past, so much so that I didn't even vote for him in 2012, which seems either extremely nitpicky and/or overly idealistic in hindsight. Such cute concerns I had back then. Such a narrow definition of "the right thing." Anyway, this book is about the writer and her life, but it made me love (and miss) Obama all the more. So many events he did from the heart, where he didn't even allow photographers...there is exactly zero chance the current POTUS would meet with students or prisoners in closed-door sessions with no photo op. It really doesn't matter if you loved Obama's policies, or hated them, or something in between. He is a good human. He represented this country well to the rest of the world. I was absolutely sobbing at the end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    In the spirit of Thanks Obama, My Hopey, Changey, White House Years comes From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. Beck is a young 20-something in Washington DC who's finding her way. She's working a couple of jobs to help ends meet and comes upon a Craigslist ad and applies, assuming it's just another job. She's stunned to find out that it's a position as a stenographer -in the Obama White House. She travels on Air Force One and comes to be a part of her own White House family. I'm find In the spirit of Thanks Obama, My Hopey, Changey, White House Years comes From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. Beck is a young 20-something in Washington DC who's finding her way. She's working a couple of jobs to help ends meet and comes upon a Craigslist ad and applies, assuming it's just another job. She's stunned to find out that it's a position as a stenographer -in the Obama White House. She travels on Air Force One and comes to be a part of her own White House family. I'm finding it hard to express just how much I enjoyed this book. I loved getting to read about life inside the administration, but the part that sticks for me was reading about Beck's relationships with the other employees. She's so relatable and funny and writes with an incredibly authentic voice. Warning: this will likely make you miss 44, if you haven't been already.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Chinnici

    3.5, rounding down. I really enjoyed the author's writing style but could have done with a little less detail of her personal life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    THIS SOUNDS LIKE A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL’S DIARY. This author is so cringey to listen to. I thought it would be about how she got a job at the White House and what it’s like working in politics and like 2 pages in she says “yeah so I applied and did and interview and took a test and I was in!!!” Doesn’t talk about politics or anything exciting in politics. She just talks about drinking and tries and be cute and quirky but really it’s just uncomfortable to read because it’s so tacky and predictable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dick Reynolds

    I got about half way through this book before giving up. There are some interesting incidents about President Obama and other senior White House staffers but they are outweighed by the author’s uninteresting problems with life and her lovers, marking her with an inconsistent level of maturity. As a writer, Ms. Dorey-Stein commits the unforgivable sin: She made me not care a whit about her or her White House experience.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I thought this book was fantastic!! I’m a political junkie, so I really enjoyed Beck’s retelling of all the ins & outs of working for President Obama. The juicy details about the trials & tribulations of her personal life made this book spectacular as well !! 5 Stars ! I thought this book was fantastic!! I’m a political junkie, so I really enjoyed Beck’s retelling of all the ins & outs of working for President Obama. The juicy details about the trials & tribulations of her personal life made this book spectacular as well !! 5 Stars !

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Beck Dorey-Stein is a charming and funny young woman, as is her book, From the Corner of the Oval. The day after I finished her book, I met Beck at the Harrisburg Book Festival. She joined former speechwriter and fellow author David Litt on the stage, while they discussed their experiences in the Obama White House. Dorey-Stein in her book seems fundamentally the same as Dorey-Stein in person. Of course, it’s still just a glancing knowledge, but she’s remarkably candid in both settings. She had be Beck Dorey-Stein is a charming and funny young woman, as is her book, From the Corner of the Oval. The day after I finished her book, I met Beck at the Harrisburg Book Festival. She joined former speechwriter and fellow author David Litt on the stage, while they discussed their experiences in the Obama White House. Dorey-Stein in her book seems fundamentally the same as Dorey-Stein in person. Of course, it’s still just a glancing knowledge, but she’s remarkably candid in both settings. She had been teaching and tutoring at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. When that job ended, her hunt for a new gig took her to many interviews including one from a Craig’s List ad. And famously, that ad led her to the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency. As a White House stenographer, Dorey-Stein had a view of gatherings from press briefings to diplomatic meetings to interviews. Her responsibility, along with her coworkers, was to record the event and then transcribe it for presidential record. Along the way, she met other staffers and developed friendships as they traveled the country and the world with the President. As a young woman will, Dorey-Stein was also sorting out her love life at the same time. And it did need to be sorted! She had been dating Sam before starting as a stenographer. He was the consummate D.C. political animal, also traveling to work in various campaigns out of the area. She wasn’t a political person, but ended up in the highest political realm in the country by accident. It makes for some conflict between them! My conclusions Dorey-Stein was lucky enough to meet a great group of people at the White House, from varied backgrounds and of various ages. In her author talk, she contrasts that group with the staff she experienced in the current 45th President’s White House, which is largely staffed by white men. Naturally, she didn’t stay in the White House after her book deal came through. Like many of us in our twenties, Dorey-Stein also had a second and disastrous personal relationship. I appreciated her vulnerable honesty in telling the positive and negatives in this relationship. For my part, I also could have stood a little less of this and a little more of the 44th POTUS. But it’s not my story to tell, so I respect the author’s choice. Dorey-Stein often tells of sitting by a pool in some foreign country, waiting to work, while writing about her experiences. Her stories of integrating her job and her desire to write are inspiring to would-be authors. It’s obvious that this book originated in those moments. I admire her persistence in recording these intriguing stories. I’m not normally a fan of author-read audiobooks. But this was a two-thumbs-up exception. Dorey-Stein’s writing is candid and open, and her voice and inflections are a great match for that. I’ve been gobbling up current events political books for the last two years. It’s an historic and scary time to be alive. But some of the books on my list are fundamentally dark and depressing. From the Corner of the Oval was the perfect antidote, while also fulfilling my political voyeur impulses. Acknowledgements Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Spiegel & Grau, and the author for the opportunity to read the advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.