6/8/17

Al Franken: Giant of the Senate (REVIEW)


I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and I'm also interested in politics (albeit its a subject matter that often fills me with rage, but nonetheless...), so generally speaking, I enjoy a good political memoir style book because it blends both together. I haven't read any of Al Franken's previous books, but having paid attention to him over the years through his work in the Senate, and knowing of his SNL history, when I heard about his newest book Giant of the Senate, I figured it was a good place to start.

Giant of the Senate blends together stories from Franken's life, with his views on politics, namely our current state of affairs. He recounts his experiences from childhood and through his SNL days, as well as his radio work with Air America, and his first steps into the political activism pool. He shares the journey that he embarked on with his first political campaign, and the experiences that have resulted from becoming a US senator in 2009.

I appreciated reading Franken's perspective on different issues and found that in many ways we were on the same page. I especially enjoyed how he discussed the issue of delivery reform in regard to healthcare and honestly, found it refreshing to hear someone actually address these types of issues within health care not only has problems, but really as merely existing. Personally, I feel like many view health care without considering the many ways in which the costs are inflated and manipulated and there are a million lobbyists and you know, things like Big Pharma that don't want us to dive too deeply into the matter. It was nice to hear someone touch on the issue, no matter how briefly.

I also liked the way that Franken suggested that trump had violated so many norms within our society. I find this to be both a frustrating, and yet fascinating topic. I find it interesting to examine the norms within society (ours or others), and how they shift and evolve over time. trump however, basically said to hell with it, and disregarded them in a way that makes me wonder if he was/is even aware of what the norms within our society might include.

Giant of the Senate was a nice blend of political reality and personal experience in my opinion and I truly enjoyed reading it. There might have been some points that lagged a bit for me, but in all honestly, I find that often happens with political books. Sometimes my brain simply feels overloaded. In general though, the book flew by. Franken's sarcastic humor certainly helped it along. I certainly enjoyed his picking on Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the idiot brigade. ;) His humor made for a refreshing read from the political genre. Especially considering that we live in a world where laughter has become quite the high priced commodity.

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