I recently stumbled upon $50 worth of iTunes gift cards and decided it would be a good time to try out iBooks on my iPhone (yes, that is an "i" overload, I know). The next book on my list was always going to be Dirty Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain, because I knew it was short and thought it would be light and fun. It was, unfortunately, much shorter than I expected, but it was very light and very fun and a good 3-hour read.
I've been a fan of Meghan's for awhile, I follow her on Twitter, catch her interviews when I can, and generally relate to her. It is clear that I was her target audience, and I was a happy patron from the beginning. Her storytelling was interesting, if not profound, and she is very honest about herself. I almost wonder if this was a form of therapy for her.
What I liked: Hearing new stories, about how, for example, the young Palin children took precedent for hair and makeup above Meghan at the Republican Convention, because they were going to be seen more. Hearing about her visit to the White House, and how they awkwardly excluded her from a lunch with the first lady. Hearing about what her family did after Election Day, how they recovered.
What I disliked: as much as I root for Meghan's brand of Republicanism*, there was just too much attempted persuasion in the book. I don't know if she was trying to make the book longer, or, that she felt like she had the opportunity that she couldn't miss to say something. But her message was so much more powerful through her personal stories. She IS the type of person that she wants the party to include more, and her story is all about how she was excluded. I think her story would have been a lot more powerful if she relied on that alone. I even went so far as to skim through the remaining pages because I thought they would be boring.
What I thought about the Sarah Palin stuff: Now that I have read the entire book, I wonder what the interviewers were reading when they interviewed Meghan on her book tour. I had already read her Daily Beast column in which she related how unhappy she was that the interviews all seems to focus on Ms. Palin. But reading the book left me even more perplexed. She really didn't say anything about her that I found significant, or at least significant enough to warrant an entire interview segment. She spoke of how much a secret the selection of her was, how she cried when her mother refused to tell her who the running mate would be. She spoke of the Palins getting priority for hair and makeup at the convention, and how Palin used the opportunity to further her own aspirations. But I found none of it to be something we hadn't already heard. I thought the most attention-grabbing aspect of the book was the fact that the campaign essentially isolated Meghan from her parents, to the point of banishing her, and her parents didn't seem to care. I would think that my father, even if he was a busy candidate, would have stopped every once in awhile to make sure that I was being treated well, even if I was an adult. I hope after reading the book John McCain offered an apology to his daughter, even if it wasn't his direct fault.
All in all, a decent read, but a little thin. I wouldn't spend the money on it if you can avoid it. My digital copy was $10, probably a little more than I'd like for a 3-hour book. I am proud, however, because this is the first book I've read in awhile in print form (as opposed to audio). I'd like to dabble in fiction next, will keep the blog posted.
*To be clear, I'm not a republican, nor do I plan to be. She and I disagree greatly about the role of government and of national defense. But I root anyone who fights for more inclusion, as she does so well particularly in advocating on behalf of the LGBT community.