My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Audio Book Review: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Please Note:  I have created links to Amazon on the book cover.  If you buy the book using these links, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.

In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from "Saturday Night Live" to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics. Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.

I have followed Al Franken's career for many years, first enjoying his humor on Saturday Night Live, and in movies such as Trading Places.  Later, I found him to be entertaining and irreverent on his Air America radio show.  Now, as the junior United States Senator from Minnesota, Franken shows a new, more mature side of his personality.  Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, chronicles his brutal first campaign, and his education in how the government actually works.

What I Liked:

I think it is to be expected that this book would be quite entertaining, but Al Franken's cranky voice adds much to the experience.  He creates a conversational tone that makes the listener feel as though they are sitting at a bar, drinking a beer, and listening to this improbable story straight from the horse's mouth.
"Insider Baseball":
This book is full of information about campaigns that I have always wondered about.  How are candidates picked (in Minnesota)?  How does one  get a campaign donation from a wealthy donor?  Why can't anything get accomplished in Washington?  Perhaps for some, all of these details will be a bit dry.  But I loved it all!

Al Franken shows how he has tried to reach across the aisle and see all of his fellow Senators as human beings.  I know, for myself, it would be hard to listen to people say the most vile things about your career and what you stand for, and then go out to lunch and be civil, later.

I also liked that he gave wonderful examples of Senators from the other party being friendly, considerate, real people.  The author has cultivated several friendships that many would be surprised about.  For instance, he is very chummy with Republican Jeff Sessions.  Yet, that didn't stop the Senator from presenting biting questions to Jeff Sessions during his recent confirmation hearing.  There seems to be an air of conviviality in the Senate, but only when the public isn't watching.

Hopeful Tone:
This book, for all it's grumblings about how challenging it is to be a United States Senator, has a very hopeful tone for the future.  Al Franken longs to see the Senate the way it used to be, with Senators of all political parties getting to know (and trust) each other.  He is also optimistic about the possibilities of getting the government back on track after the current presidency is over (my apologies to anyone reading this if you voted for Trump.  This is what Al Franken is saying in the book).

What I Didn't Like:
I am an unabashed Democrat but, I am certain many of the readers of this blog are not.  While I think that this is a book that everyone should read, I can understand it if you would rather not.  This book is quite biased toward Democrats and does not delve into some of the scandals that have rocked the Democratic Party during the 2016 election.  Thus, it sometimes reads as though Democrats have to put up with Republicans, rather than them needing to seek common ground. 


Release Date:  May 30th, 2017

Genre:  Non-Fiction Memoir

Publisher:  Hatchette Audio

Performed By:  Al Franken

Listening Length:  12 Hours, 13 Minutes

Page Length:  406 Pages

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  An entertaining, hopeful book about Al Franken's experience in the Senate.  People of all political persuasions should read this.
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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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