If only former President Bill Clinton could write the way that he could charm a crowd at a rally or a speech. My Life is over 900 pages of Mr. Clinton outlining his entire life from the date of his birth until the date that the book was written. It detailed his early life, his collegiate life, his time at Oxford and in law school, his time as the Governor of Arkansas and his time as President. It details the policy battles that Mr. Clinton faced as the Governor and President as well as his scandals – from the draft dodging scandal, to Monica Lewinsky and the infamous “I didn’t inhale” scandal.
I got this book out because I was enthralled by Bill Clinton, absolutely fascinated by him. I won’t deny it – his charm and talent in public speaking had engaged me. I was morbidly curious about this man’s life, the motivations behind the actions that he took and the history that created this charming and fallible President. The book did not disappoint in that regards. Mr. Clinton eloquently detailed his history, his youth and young adulthood. This was the most fascinating part of the book for me. I especially loved the stories that he told about growing up in Arkansas and his trip to Oxford. I also loved his stories about Georgetown and Yale law school. Mr. Clinton’s writing style in this part of the book mirrors his public speaking ability – he can draw you in and, as much as some people may like to, you cannot tear yourself apart from him.
However, as the book progressed, Mr. Clinton began to delve more and more into the policy battles that he fought, both as President and as Governor. Initially, these discussions were very appealing to me because I have always had an interest, a passion even, for politics and policy. However, by the time I was halfway through Mr. Clinton’s memories about his first term as President, I could not help but think “Darn, does this guy like to hear himself talk or what?” He just kept going on and on and on about why he made the decisions that he did. Discussions like this would have taken much less time than he gave to it. A book that could have been written in about 600 pages therefore took more than 900 pages to complete.
This book, while thoroughly engaging at the beginning, lost its appeal for me approximately halfway through. For a man, and a book, that had a great deal of potential it disappointed. It’s like a horse that starts off one of the Triple Crown races strongly and then pulls up lame halfway through the race – you are hopeful because you can see that it has a lot going for it but you are sorely let-down when it loses steam. Therefore, this is a book that you should get out of the library as opposed to buying.