4 Stars Reviews

Book Review: To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger and Hope by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas gains unprecedented access to the mail room of the White House during the Obama Administration. What she finds is a hardworking group, made up mostly of volunteers, sorting through thousands upon thousands of letters from everyday Americans to the President of the United States. It’s the task of these mail room workers to sort, file, and pass on all of these letters. But ten letters a day find their way into the hands of Barack Obama. And some of those letters get a response.

Here was a chance to get to know Obama in a way most people hadn’t.
The tiny stories that stuck. The voices that called. The cries and the
howls of the people he had pledged to serve. Here was the raw
material of the ideas that bounced through his mind as he went
about his days in cabinet meetings, bilateral summits, fundraisers,
the Situation Room, and to his bed at night.

This was an enlightening and moving read that I didn’t expect to enjoy so thoroughly. Laskas interviews works of the White House mail room as well as letter writers themselves to bring the reader a carefully considered and insightful look at an aspect to Obama’s presidency that is often forgotten. Images of the original, many handwritten, letters accompany transcripts of Americans’ thanks, wishes, and anger; a touch which reinforces the fact that these letters were average Americans who never dreamed they would get a response. The stories these letters tell ranged from humorous to heartbreaking. It’s an incredibly fascinating look at a small part of the White House and Obama’s presidency which speaks volumes about his impact across the country. A beautiful tribute to Obama’s time in office.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Read for the NEWTs Magical Readathon. Class: Muggle Studies. Grade: A.

*I received a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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