Book Review: From the Corner of the Oval

Who gets on Craigslist to find a job? Who finds a job on Craigslist, misses the interview, and still gets hired? Who finds a job on Craigslist, misses the interview, still gets hired, and ends up working at the White House during the Obama administration? Who does? Beck Dorey-Stein does, that’s who. I needed a new Audible book a few weeks back, and after hearing the details of Beck Dorey-Stein’s new memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, I was so curious I knew it needed to be my next choice.


Back in 2012, Beck was struggling with finding a career. She had lots of jobs but was in the midst of working to find her passion when not even trying, she stumbled into a job at the White House. She takes a job as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers, following the President everywhere he went. She soon finds herself in the middle of a tight-knit group of Obama staffers, making new friends and discovering a new love that’s full of bad decisions.


I loved having a back seat to some of the inner workings of the Obama White House. This book focuses a lot on Beck’s personal life and the choices she makes during her time at the White House. This is her story, her memoir so of course, it should focus mostly on her and not President Obama. However, my favorite parts of the book were her direct interactions with the 44th President. I wanted more of those and less of the relationship drama. I get it. She was in her late 20’s, finding her way in love and life. But I found myself so frustrated with her that I wanted to smack her and tell her to stop it. Most of us made stupid choices of one kind or another during our 20’s, and Beck was not different. But most of us didn’t have the opportunities that Beck did.

My favorite parts of the book? The beginning of how she got the job, the Epilogue, and every interaction she had with President Obama. If you are looking for detailed specifics about behind-the-scenes happenings at the White House from 2012 to recently, this isn’t the book for you. Beck does give a few sneak peeks, but we learn much more about the inner workings of her jacked up love life than we do about the inner workings of the White House. Don’t get me wrong. You do get to peek behind the curtains, just don’t expect a full view.


From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
Published July 10, 2018 by Spiegel & Grau
Genre: Memoir
Where I read it: on Audible while cleaning patio furniture
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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