Feb 1, 2010

Government Girl by Stacy Parker Aab

Stacy Parker Aab's Government Girl chronicles her time in the White House during the Clinton Administration from the age of 18 to her early 20s.  Expecting the bulk of the memoir to be about the Monica Lewinsky scandal or the like would be a mistake, although Monica's fall from grace could have just as well been Stacy's story if she did not have the personal drive to achieve more, live within the confines of her duties and principles, and focus on self-satisfaction.

"You want acknowledgment -- all that comes when you've done a good job, when you're so deserving.  You want that light.  That hand on your shoulder.  At least if you're like me and this sort of loving affirmation from authority figures still feeds you, even if you wish it would not."  (Page 13 of ARC)

Being young and in politics, Stacy had a daunting task of navigating an adult world when she was not quite secure in her self-identity and still evolving as a woman.  She's a product of a single mother, an alcoholic father, and her mixed heritage as an African-American with a mostly unknown-to-her German ancestry.  All of these elements come into play as she navigates the White House media and policy web and the knotted ropes of her possible career ladder.

"Maybe it was like going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and seeing a rubber version of yourself blown up and 'walking' with the help of a dozen attendants, this version of you more than ten stories tall, knowing that your celebrity was just that, something outside you, something as big and as vulnerable as giant balloons"  (Page 87 of ARC)

The narrative of this memoir is smooth in its transitions between her intern days and her past in Troy, Michigan.  The struggles of family life and the dedication of her mother to help her out with schooling expenses and other costs clearly influenced Stacy's drive for financial independence, even if the job opportunities at the time were not the most fun.  Politics is at the forefront of her work in the White House, but it often takes a backseat to her internal struggle to become a strong, independent woman with a clear idea of where she wishes to be and what she wishes to achieve.

"Working, I wanted that feeling of rowing on the Potomac River, that feeling in the eight with all of us pulling our oars.  Sixteen arms and sixteen legs powering that slim boat forward, as we were lead by our coxswain, as our coach called out to us from his motorized boat nearby."  (Page 39 of ARC)

In many ways, what drives Stacy is the hole inside her -- an absence of fatherly love -- as she falls into transient relationships with co-workers, fellow students, and others.  While this desire to fill this emptiness does little to improve her romantic life, it does often push her to perfection in her work life.  In terms of memoir, readers will find Government Girl is deliberate, vivid, and eye-opening -- especially in terms of behind-the-scenes politics.  Readers will find Stacy's prose frank and honest, almost like a friend telling a portion of her life story to another friend.

Please stay tuned for a guest post from Stacy Parker Aab on Feb. 2, 2010.

Interested in winning 1 of 3 copies of her book (US/Canada only, sorry), please visit this giveaway link.

About the Author:  (Photo credit: David Wentworth)

Writer, blogger, and former political aide, Stacy Parker Aab served for five years in the Clinton White House, first as a long-time intern in George Stephanopoulos’s office, and later as an assistant to Paul Begala. She traveled as a presidential advance person, preparing and staffing trips abroad for the president and Mrs. Clinton. She also served as a special assistant for Gov. David Paterson in New York.  Please check out her Website.

Also check out this video where she talks about her memoir:




If you are interested in Government Girl, please check out the rest of the TLC Book Tour.

I'm also counting this as my 7th book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.

FTC Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Government Girl from the publisher for a TLC Book Tour and review.  Clicking on title links or images will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary. 

32 comments:

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Lucy
http://dataentryjob-s.com

Anna said...

Darn! I was hoping for some juicy tidbits about Monica! j/k

This sounds like an interesting memoir, and I'm looking forward to the guest post.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

That book sounds really interesting! I would have loved to have done something like that when I was her age.

S. Krishna said...

This sounds like a great book. I definitely want to read it. Thanks for the review!

Rebecca Graham said...

Sounds interesting with the behind the scenes politics.

rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think this sounds like an interesting book. On the last review I read, my only comment was that I hoped she didn't write anything bad about George because I like him! I was assured that his reputation, from this lady at least, is intact!

wisteria said...

I haven't heard of this one. I liked when you said:
Readers will find Stacy's prose frank and honest, almost like a friend telling a portion of her life story to another friend.

I like that kind of writing. Sounds real honest.
Thank it sounds like a good read.

Julie P. said...

Great review. Every time I see this book reviewed, I tell myself I really need to read it. I came to DC after college to work for the Federal Government -- nothing like this though! I'd love to learn more about her experiences.

naida said...

this does sound interesting!
great review.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I saw this book on another tour blog, and thought it sounded good. I'm glad it's about more than the affair, since that would really make it feel dated. But, using that to explore other issues about gender and power and politics would work well, I think.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for the review. I'm always on the lookout for new memoirs.

Jenners said...

It makes sense that she would be very driven ... and a bit more serious about her responsibilities than a certain other intern we all heard about.

Charleydog said...

Are troubled pass or a permissive sexual attitude prerequisites for jobs at the White House?

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

justpeachy36 said...

What a time to be in The White House, LOL... With Hilary, Bill and Monica... This is probably a really interesting book.

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I'm glad it didn't turn out to be about the whole sex scandal fiasco. I imagine it was was quite difficult for the author, especially being so young. I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for your great review, Serena.

Alyce said...

When I saw the cover I thought that it was typical chick-lit. How nice to see that it's a memoir, and about working in politics too! I'll have to add this one to my wish list.

Carol Dirks said...

Sounds good. Instead of a tell-all, an honest account of growing up (we are still growing up in our early 20s, aren't we?).

Linda said...

Wow, what exciting opportunities this young lady had! I'm a big fan of Bill and Hillary Clinton and I know I'd enjoy this memoir.

lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

nomadreader said...

I've seen this book pop up a few places, and it looks good. Thanks for the review!

Lenore said...

I know a friend who would like this!

Haleyknitz said...

this looks so cute! right up my ally. adding to the to-read list! thanks for the review!

Iliana said...

Oh how interesting. I've always wondered exactly what do the interns do? Is it a lot of busy work, filing, or what?
Great review!

Denny, Alaska said...

Interesting. I grew up in a very small town near Troy, Michigan. I haven't been back there in nearly 30 years. Thanks for the review!

Valerie said...

This looks interesting; an insider point of view of politics during the Clinton era. I'd also be interested in reading more about how Ms. Aab got to where she is now. I think I can understand the left brain vs right brain struggle (in her case, politics vs being a writer).

trish said...

Great review, Serena! I think Stacy's insights into her childhood and how that affected her ultimate career in politics is very interesting, particularly since she didn't fall into the hole that Lewinsky fell in to. It seems like this would be a great book for anyone, but especially for teen girls as they try to find their place in this world. Thanks for being on this tour!

Michelle said...

This book sounds amazing! I love memoirs, and I try to be aware of the best ones being published, but I totally missed this book! Your review was excellent - and enticing! Thanks :)

stacybuckeye said...

I like that she spells her name correctly :) I love politically books and would love to read this one.

kristinemarie7 said...

The book sounds very interesting! And I grew up the next city over from her; what a small world!

wheresmyrain said...

wow, at first glance the book didnt seem like something i would be interested in , but after reading the review it really actually sounds like something really interesting, youve convinced me

Bcteagirl said...

This books sounds v. interesting in that it offers a behind the scenes look at what was going on at the time. Thanks for the review!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

very cool. I think my sister would love this. she's very into politics.

-lauren

mariska said...

Interesting book ! i haven't read any book about White House before.

looking forward to read it :)

uniquas at ymail dot com