cover image From the Corner of the Oval

From the Corner of the Oval

Beck Dorey-Stein. Random/Spiegel & Grau, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-50912-7

In this hilarious memoir, Dorey-Stein gives an insider’s glimpse into the White House from her perch as Barack Obama’s stenographer. In 2012, 25-year-old Stein responded to a Craigslist advertisement to be a stenographer at a law firm; the “law firm” was the White House. On her first day on the job, she overpacked and needed to empty the contents of her bag to find her recorder while flying on Air Force One: “Oh, dear God, my travel-sized hair straightener in its little travel-sized hot pink silk bag looks like a vibrator! Jay Carney thought I was talking to him, on Air Force One, with a vibrator in my hand.” When she forgets her underwear for another overnight, she notes, “Today, I’ll be traveling commando with the commander in chief.” Dorey-Stein traveled with the president’s envoy across the world—to Cuba, Mexico, India, and Saudi Arabia—and to all corners of the U.S. As Dorey-Stein became accustomed to living aboard Air Force One, she began an affair with a man in the president’s inner circle. What follows is pure tragicomedy, and Dorey-Stein writes with honesty and panache about her fun job and her eventual heartbreak. It’s thrilling to get a front-row seat to the Obama White House, and she has stayed on with the Trump administration, where the “West Exec parking lot is no longer filled with Priuses and Chevys but with Porsches and Maseratis.” Beltway gossip hounds will hope to hear more from Dorey-Stein. [em](July) [/em]