The Dumbledore Effect in ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama

It’s no secret that Barack Obama is cool. His annual reading and listening lists show he has his finger on the pulse of culture in a way that rivals the most hipster of hipsters. So, I was a bit apprehensive about creating a Perfect Book Experience for the first volume of his memoir, but here it goes.

You know how at the end of most Harry Potter books Harry has a thoughtful and revealing conversation with Dumbledore? The reader is usually given one more clue to the mystery behind Harry’s scar. Reading ‘A Promised Land’, and especially if you get the audio version, is a little like having Dumbledore explain to you how and why everything happened during his tenure the way it did.

You’ll find yourself remembering things you had no idea were lodged in the recesses of your brain. And if you’re not one for following the news, you might find there are several events you’re hearing about for the first time. Obama’s account of his (roughly) first four years in office is, in this Unsanctioned Book Influencer’s opinion, thorough.

What It Tastes Like

While I’d love to recommend his favorite campaign meal of steak, potatoes, and vegetables as the food that represents the book best, this book needs ice cream. For its objectivity I’d go with something invigorating like mint and add chocolate chip for the moments of tenderness. I mean, after his presidency, I think some comfort food was in order.

What It Sounds Like

Trying not to be too on the nose, but I’d sincerely compare this book to Miles Davis’ album ‘Kind of Blue.’ Because he is so cool, Obama beat me to it, as he added ‘Freddie Freeloader’ to his ‘A Promised Land’ playlist (of course he has a playlist for the book) but to me, this book feels like the entire Davis album: moody yet dynamic, heady yet conversational.

This Book Might Be Your Next Read If:

  • You’re ready to wade back into the practice of following current events, but you need some hand-holding
  • If you’ve got a ‘Crush on Obama’
  • If you want a glimpse behind the scenes of major legislation during the late ’00s and early ’10s.
  • If you miss hearing Obama’s idiosyncratic voice and speech patterns

Photo credit: Published by Crown, Penguin Random House

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s