Cover Image: From the Corner of the Oval

From the Corner of the Oval

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The compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the Obama White House, through the eyes of a young staffer learning the ropes, falling in love, and finding her place in the world.

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.

Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.
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What a story! I loved how Beck pulled it all together. Some of the shenanigans that were going on made it more of a fiction read than a memoir. I kept forgetting this was her story. She has a great writing style that flows nicely. 

I was very intrigued by all of the travel and of course by our dear sweet President Obama. This book made me miss him so much. He is such a gentleman. 

So glad that I had the opportunity to read this. Thank you to Netgalley. 

All opinions are my own.
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I absolutely tore through this memoir, and was immediately engaged by Beck’s writing style. I was pleasantly surprised by how open and candid Beck was about her experience as a White House stenographer during the Obama administration. Her role saw her privy to living history - she toured the world on Air Force One on trips that no sitting US President had ever made (Cuba, Vietnam and Japan most notably), she saw the administration react in real-time during countless school shootings, the Boston Marathon bombing, and many other hard-hitting events that shook the world during the Obama Presidency. 

This more politically entrancing aspect of her memoir was balanced against her day-to-day as a twenty-something young professional (she ran on treadmills in hotel gyms exchanging  competitive banter with President Obama!) and makes for a refreshing read alongside the barrage of more lofty political memoirs currently being released.

My only issue with this was the recurring focus  on her on-again-off-again affair with fellow staffer, Jason. I realise this is an odd thing to critique in a memoir - it was her experience, those were her feelings. I just felt at times it dominated her narrative and I found myself wanting to hear more about what she was doing in her role and her writing journey.

I admired that Beck’s writing strengthened throughout this memoir, mirroring her own growth in confidence in real time. Her depiction of the change in administration was just stunning - her boldness and sass jump off the page and it is exciting to think what is in store for the next stage in her career as a writer. I look forward to reading what Beck pens next!

Thanks to NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau for an advance copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
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Interesting peek into life at the White House. I've read a few memoirs from former Obama White House staffers. Dorey-Stein's memoir of being a White House stenographer is very readable. This would make a great beach read. I couldn't put it down all weekend.

She has a train wreck relationship with a fellow staffer that continues through the entire book. It was painful to read these parts, but I'm impressed at her willingness to be authentic and vulnerable. The White House and DC sound like terrible work environments (work hard, party hard, scrabble to climb the ladder, good luck having kids or any kind of work/life balance), but this is an interesting look at life around POTUS in the White House and while traveling on Air Force One. I'm glad she followed her dream to write.
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<i>From the Corner of the Oval</i> is Rebecca Dorey-Stein's memoir of her years as a stenographer in the White House during the Obama years.  Stenographers don't take actual shorthand anymore in this case, they record and transcribe presidential events.  Dorey-Stein practically stumbles into the job via a Craigslist job want ad.  The ensuing years are outlined throughout the book, while she makes friends, falls in and out of love, witnesses history, and travels the world within the presidential "bubble".  Dorey-Stein is forthright and extremely honest about her own missteps, shortcomings, and actions.  This is more a story of her coming of age and growing into adulthood than it is a tell-all on  the White House.  She does provide insight into Washington events and personalities, but almost tangentially.  The writing is engaging, the subject matter entertaining and enlightening, and the narrator endearing. 

Only one question, WHO the HECK does she mean when she says "the Rattler"???

With thanks to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley.com for the advanced reader copy.
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Ooh this book will totally suck you in. Beck gives us an insider's look to what it was like to be a member of the White House staff during the Obama era. From how she got the job of White House stenographer (by total accidental chance; it could happen to anyone!) to what it was like traveling around the world with the staff (including the relationships she formed, interactions with the President and other senior staff, etc.), this book gives you a peek at a world you likely don't know much about.

I'm so happy Beck wrote this book. She's an incredibly relatable narrator and, despite her faults, hard not to like. That said, her relationship with staffer Jason did drive me slightly crazy; she seems like such a smart girl, but her personal relationships were quite a mess. Chalk it up to being in your 20s and having a crazy job that requires you to be away from home so much I guess. Sometimes I had to force myself to remember that this book is a memoir and Beck is sharing things that actually happened... It almost feels like fiction sometimes. But in a really good way! I give her credit for having the guts to share everything.

Yes, this book is about Beck's experiences during the Obama administration, but I don't think your political affiliations should matter much as a reader, though I can't even imagine how different this book would play out if it was written during the current administration (oh, how I wish Beck had stuck around to write that book!). In any event, From the Corner of the Oval is sure to suck you in and entertain you.
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#FromTheCornerOfTheOvalOffice #NetGalley Great look inside the life of a Washington outsider who gains access to the inside when she lands a job as a stenographer in Obama's White House. I enjoyed this book on several levels, one as an Obama supporter, one as a mother of a young women who wants to work in politics, and just as someone who has always wondered what it's like behind the political scenes. Beck tells the story of her job and life with humor, admiration for POTUS, honesty, and she has a keen eye for observing what's going on around her. Great descriptions of the places where history happened, the movers & shakers, and the young people that work long hours to help our president do his job. My only gripe was Beck needed to cease being a doormat, get stronger and stop letting guys break her heart. Kick the assholes to the curb if they aren't respecting you! You're better than them and I hope you find a decent,honorable guy. Thanks to Net Galley, the publisher and author for this review copy.
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Very entertaining memoir of the author's time spent in the Oval office.under the Obama presidency.  It was smartly structured with engaging characters.

The only issue I had was that she wasn't smart enough to handle her personal affairs, but talked against our current president as if she was a great political analyst.   Her job was basically a clerical position, and I equate her reasoning  with a person of low intellect.
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THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. I couldn't put it down and found myself wanting more and more! Beck Dorey-Stein was one of President Barack Obama's stenographers, and this chronicles her White House career, from getting hired via craigslist to traveling internationally on Air Force One to deciding that her government days are over. Her writing is incredible, engaging, and I can't recommend pre-ordering this highly enough. If you're feeling like you're making all the wrong choices in your relationships, friendships, career, or in general, there's going to be something in this book that resonates with you.
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An amazing read. Enjoyed the cute, sweet, honesty of Beck. The challenges of being a young, talented young woman in any career or walk of life can relate to her the inside look into an administration is relatable to anyone.
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In the spirit of Thanks Obama, My Hopey, Changey, White House Years comes From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. Beck is a young 20-something in Washington DC who's finding her way. She's working a couple of jobs to help ends meet and comes upon a Craigslist ad and applies, assuming it's just another job. She's stunned to find out that it's a position as a stenographer -in the Obama White House. She travels on Air Force One and comes to be a part of her own White House family.  I'm finding it hard to express just how much I enjoyed this book. I loved getting to read about life inside the administration, but the part that sticks for me was reading about Beck's relationships with the other employees. She's so relatable and funny and writes with an incredibly authentic voice. Warning: this will likely make you miss 44, if you haven't been already.
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Very interesting viewpoint of behind the scenes of the Whitehouse.  I never thought of a stenographer as one of the presidents staff. This book will keep you reading long after bedtime. It has heart, friends and heartbreak
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An incredible memoir that reminded me of Scandal (in it's better days). This book is the perfect blend of political insider memoir meets Sex in the City. It is a fantastic look at the inner workings of the Obama administration without a boring bit to be found.
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This memoir is a fun look at what it was like having a front seat to history as a White House stenographer during the Obama presidency. Beck joined the team prior to the 2012 campaign season. I laughed out loud often reading this book, especially at her descriptions of Washington and some of her experiences traveling with the president. I also cried in solidarity of her pain, and the last bit of the book beginning with a trip to New York in September 2016 through Innauguration Day had tears rolling down my cheeks.

I really enjoy memoirs in general, but especially political memoirs, and this one did not disappoint! I heard this book has been optioned to be turned into a TV show or movie, and it's in the vein of fun workplace relationships and experiences. It's full of messy relationships, learning from mistakes even as you make them again, and what true and real friendship looks like. This may be my favorite book of 2018 so far, and I've read some deeply loved books this year.
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I loved this behind the scenes look into authors life and also in the White House and presidency. No matter who you voted for  this book is quite funny and breathtakingly honest. I'm so impressed. Highly recommend. 
Thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
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Beck surprisingly gets THIS job, shows up every day , figures out who’s who and what’s what and, in spite of the vaGIANTS, makes it her own.Compulsively readable, you CARE about these 20-somethings who commit to this 24-7 lifestyle for the thrill, the travel, the “life in the bubble”. Luckily, Beck kept notes (her journals) so we can share in her goods and bads....men don’t seem to be any more understandable in DC....but... the boys were right.....this woman can write...you GO girl!
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4.5 stars for this. 

Beck Dorey-Stein was a twenty-something former teacher unsure of not only what she wanted to do with her future, but whether she'd even be able to find a job to sustain her until she figured out her life. Living in Washington, DC to be closer to her boyfriend, she cobbles together a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet, but she's envious of those who know what they want.

When she answers a Craigslist posting for a job, she figures it won't amount to anything. She's more than shocked to find out that this isn't a random clerical job—it's a position as a stenographer in the Obama White House. Stenographers don't take dictation anymore—instead, they're in the background of every speech, every presentation the president makes, no matter where in the world he is, microphone in hand, recording his words and transcribing them for history and/or public release.

From the Corner of the Oval follows Beck as she learns the ropes of her job and White House protocol, builds friendships with her colleagues in different positions throughout the administration, and begins to travel the country—and the world—viewing current events and the president's reactions to them at close range. She gets to have opportunities she never would have thought of, such as traveling on Air Force One and running on a treadmill next to the president.

"We're always just a few ticks, clicks, updates, and pings away from personal and collective disaster, but right now we're not our titles but our own selves—people with backgrounds and futures and exes and half-dead pets and crazy parents and broken hearts and broken hearts and big dreams; people who are listening to the president as he tells a funny story from two countries back, twelve hours ago, depending on which time zone you're counting in. We're so different, but we're swimming in this same punch-drunk delirium, and we have one major thing in common: We've found ourselves, shockingly, amazingly, how-the-fuck-did-this-happen crazily, flying halfway around the world on Air Force One. We are lucky. We are so goddamn lucky."

The constant demands of her job take their toll on her relationship with her boyfriend, who after volunteering with Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, becomes more desperate to recapture that enthusiasm and magic. Their on-again, off-again, often-long-distance relationship leaves her vulnerable to the advances of another senior staffer, someone far from appropriate relationship material, yet someone Beck finds unable to resist, no matter how many times she winds up hurt.

As the Obama presidency moves closer to its conclusion, Beck becomes ever more enamored with her job and the president, and more confused about what her next step should be. This book so accurately captures the enthusiasm so many felt around the Obama administration, his family, and his reactions to the events which unfolded—tragedies like Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, and his historic trips to Cuba and Vietnam. At times I felt sad reading the book because of the immense juxtaposition between his administration and the one currently in the White House.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Dorey-Stein is so engaging, and she drew me right in as she began recounting her experiences. Her story was told almost in an "aw, shucks" manner, as if she couldn't believe her good fortune in getting to be witness to history and be in such close proximity to this president. Her description of the despair many of her colleagues felt when Hillary Clinton lost the election stung, because I remember feeling similarly, although for different reasons.

I don't read a lot of memoirs, but this was so appealing, so enjoyable, and such a quick read. All of the people with whom Dorey-Stein shared her writing throughout her tenure in the White House weren't lying—she really can write, and we are lucky she shared her seemingly unbelievable journey with us.

NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!
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I devoured this book. Beck pulls us along on her journey into the Obama administration from her vantage point as a stenographer. Access to the history-making moments and the people who made them was fascinating. The relationship sagas woven into the snapshots of history was icing on the cake. This is a memoir but reads like fiction. The writing is smart and well developed. The end came too soon and left me mourning (along with Beck) the end of Obama’s time all over again. A must read for anybody who wants a closer look into the lives of White House staffers deftly told from the vantage point of someone living in the middle of it.
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