Tuesday, June 23, 2015

And the Good News Is..., Dana Perino

And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side

Dana Perino

Category: Memoir
Synopsis: Dana Perino, Press Secretary to President George W. Bush, talks about her life, in and out of politics.
Pages: 242
Date finished: 16 May 2015

Rating: ***½ 

When I read a memoir, I’m always keeping track of how much I have in common with the author. A lot of times, there isn’t a lot, maybe a physical feature here and there or a shared love of food, say, or writing. But every now and then a book comes along that catches me by surprise because the author and I have so much in common. And the Good News Is… is one such book. Dana Perino and I are, apparently, soul sisters.

Here’s a little chart of our commonalities:

Item                                       Dana Perino                                        Carrie Butler Becker

Born                                      1972                                                      around 1972
Raised                                   on a ranch in Wyoming                        on a farm in Wisconsin

Attended                               state university                                     state university

Studied                                  journalism                                            creative writing

Met husband                        on a plane                                             online

First date with                     awkward, kissed a lot in a taxi             awkward, kissed a lot in an
   husband was                                                                                   Oldsmobile Alero

Dated husband                     long-distance                                        long-distance

Husband is                           18 years older                                       26 years older

Children                               decided not to have them                     decided not to have them

Stepkids are                         her age                                                  my age

Grandkids                            call her “Grandma America”               call me “Grandma”

Loves                                    dogs, reading                                        dogs, reading

Believes in                            God and manners                                 God and manners

AM or PM?                         morning person                                     morning person

Spells swears with               yes                                                        yes
Thinks she’s funnier           yes                                                        probably…
   than she is
Politics                                  conservative                                         conservative

Job                                        press secretary for leader of the           okay, so this is where
                                              free world & co-host of cable              it all breaks down, but still…
                                              news commentary show

You see? At least the non-White House stuff was like reading my own memoir, just written by a petite blonde with expensive clothes and a home in NYC. But seriously, you can imagine how rare it is to find someone my age who was raised on a farm, whose marriage enjoys a 20-year age split, has grandkids but no biological kids, and who votes conservatively. The odds are low, my friend. L-O-W.

So I’m no great reviewer of this book. I feel like I’m wildly prejudiced. But I do have two things:  

If you think George W. Bush is the devil, don’t read this book. Because Dana is unabashedly close to the president, and you’ll just get upset about that. If you respect George W. Bush, read the book. She humanizes him and gives instances of his steadfastness of character. For instance, when she was going into resentful overdrive trying to protect the president from his less-than-kind portrayal in Scott McClellan’s memoir, he told her something to the effect of, “You have to let this go, Dana.” He knew not everyone liked him, and he knew he’d even make enemies of those he trusted most, but that was something he had to deal with, not something she had to take on herself.

Thing two. A portion of the book was advice to young professionals and it. Was. Awful. It was the most banal advice ever. (Send thank you notes. Don’t wear stupid boots to work. Etc.) I was embarrassed for her. I wish she would have talked about confidence, courage, and clarity—things she knows something about and many young women struggle with. The dress-for-success stuff and how to speak intelligently—young women will learn that on their own. What women (of all ages) need mentoring in is how to feel successful, not how to be successful.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this “celebrity” memoir because she’s my little blonde spirit-doppelganger.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
If you’re a conservative woman, yes.

You might also enjoy:
No Higher Honor, Condoleezza Rice
Spoken from the Heart, Laura Bush


  1. Ha! Loved your little side-by-side comparison. That's uncanny is what it is.

    1. Ha. It was fun to do. A nice way to add spice to reviews. :)