2009: 58. Dreams From My Father

“A few months after my twenty-first birthday, a stranger called to give me the news.”

Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama

This would have been an interesting book to read when it was first published in the 1990’s, or when this reprint was issued in 2004, when Obama was the Democratic nominee for the Senate from Illinois.  But to read it knowing that the author is now President of the United States is just mind-boggling.  On just about every page Obama grapples with the extremely complicated issue of race in America, and comes up with difficult and sometimes ugly answers.  And he lays his heart bare about his family, and his struggles with being a black man in a white country, and an American in Kenya, and a son who grew up without his father.  And you say to yourself, the guy who wrote this complex book was elected? Obama could have been a professional writer, I am certain, and the book reflects that.  

When I was done reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder if the opposition had even read this book - it seems to me that if they had, they would have made more fuss about some of the ideas in it (particularly the parts where he talks about racism in America).  But I guess the ideas that are in it are too complicated to be reduced to a nasty soundbite, and anyway, the kind of people who would be put off by the ideas about race in this book were probably already just mad about the President’s race is a much less complicated fashion, so there was no need to discuss the nuances of this memoir.  

I just cannot believe the contrast between the literacy of the last guy, and the literacy of this guy.  I loved the book - it made me proud that Obama is our president, and I cannot WAIT to read the book he writes after his presidency is over.

Date/Place Completed:  May 2009; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction, Commuting Book; U.S. President Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017