Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book 78: Dreams from My Father

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

I feel like I'm incredibly late in reading this book. Being from Illinois, of course, I'd heard of the senator comparatively early. Naturally, I also wanted him to win the presidential election; however, I really didn't do that much research into who he was - I read all my favorite blogs for information about the candidates, but actually go out and read a autobiography? Yeah, not so much.

Obviously, I have no idea what his political aspirations were when he wrote this book, so he was very honest about himself, to an extent. Of course, it's been almost twenty years since people asked Clinton if he'd ever smoked pot, and since then we've had a president that had alcohol and cocaine issues, but still, to honestly make a passing reference to weed and other drugs is kind of surprising.

In some parts, Obama started getting a little bit too philosophical on me - not necessarily bad, but while reading this I was more interested in the human story. Given that originally he had intended to write a book about race and law, however, it made sense that he would occassionally veer off in that direction. In fact, since one of the reasons Obama even had a chance to write this book was because of his election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, I wouldn't have minded hearing more about his graduate school experiences. However, Obama focuses mainly on his struggle to find himself, and by the time he reaches law school, it seems that he has become settled in who he is and resolved most of the inner conflicts he has had concerning his background and family history.

While I knew the very basic background, it was good to actually finally learn some of the finer details of Obama's background. I didn't always necessary agree with him in this book but it seemed like a good indication of the type of person he was, especially since, as I said, I don't think he would have been planning his presidential campaign that far back and therefore wouldn't have been too worried about the picture he presented. Of course, I'm sure he embellished parts or made himself appear better in points (who doesn't do that after all?), but there are also enough parts where he doesn't to make it feel honest.

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