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. Read more...
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.
Praise for From the Corner of the Oval "Who knew the West Wing could be so sexy? Beck Dorey-Stein's unparalleled access is obvious on every page, along with her knife-sharp humor. I tore through the entire book on a four-hour flight and loved reading all about the brilliant yet hard-partying people who once surrounded the leader of the free world. Lots of books claim to give real insider glimpses, but this one actually delivers." --Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada "Ms. Dorey-Stein . . . writes with wit and self-deprecating humor."--The Wall Street Journal "Addictively readable . . . Dorey-Stein's spunk and her sparkling, crackling prose had me cheering for her through each adventure. . . . She never loses her starry-eyed optimism, her pinch-me wonderment, her Working Girl pluck."--Paul Begala, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
- ISBN-13: 9780525509127
- ISBN-10: 0525509127
- Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
- Publish Date: July 2018
- Page Count: 352
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Reflections from a former White House staffer
Recent Wesleyan grad Beck Dorey-Stein swore she would spend no more than three months in Washington, D.C., a place she calls “an ego swamp of a city.” Then she lands a job as a White House stenographer, a position she didn’t even realize existed.
From the Corner of the Oval is Dorey-Stein’s effervescent memoir that recounts spending five wide-eyed years traveling the world on Air Force One, producing transcripts of President Barack Obama’s press conferences and speeches. She joins a team of D.C. insiders who hopscotch the globe, from Senegal to Tanzania to Stonehenge, all in service to their country and to the man they call POTUS.
“The people who make the president look good on these trips often look terrible and feel even worse,” Dorey-Stein writes. “It is degrading and embarrassing and awkward when a twenty-two-year-old advance person scolds you for disappearing to the bathroom, and when you’re so hungry you eat three bags of stale cookies in front of a vanful of trigger-happy photographers. Civility takes a backseat to survival as you chug water, throw elbows and down half a bottle of Advil. You work through the pain to keep up with the action. Ballets are full of bloody slippers.”
Yet the few chosen to serve the president also form intense bonds, and they get a front seat to history. Dorey-Stein and her colleagues bear witness to the White House response to the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. She forms a tight band of friends within “the Bubble”—her name for the president’s cliquish traveling entourage—and she begins an ill-fated romance with a magnetic yet noncommittal senior staffer.
Dorey-Stein offers a generous, vivid portrait of what it’s like to work at the epicenter of power when your job is to stay out of the spotlight. She navigates heartbreak, career indecision and friendship like virtually every 20-something. But unlike other young women, she does it all in the shadow of the White House.