More than a coming-out memoir, The Confession is the story of one man's quest to repair the rift between his public and private selves, at a time in our culture when the personal and political have become tangled like frayed electric cables. Teeming with larger-than-life characters, written with honesty, grace, and rare insight into what it means to negotiate the minefields of American public life, it may be among the most honest political memoirs ever written.Or, the really short version - BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
This is so badly written it's hard to credit it to a publishing company; it sounds more like it was written by a tenth-grader who thinks that, since he knows what the word "cogent" means, he doesn't have to bother being cogent himself. Just throw a half-dozen similes onto the page and you've got a mosaic of meaning!
Fish, meet barrel. Time to get shooting...
More than a coming-out memoir,
Much more, in fact - first, he already came out at the press conference, and second, both the conference and the book have served to divert attention from the corruption responsible for James McGreevey's resignation as Governor.
The Confession is the story of one man's quest to repair the rift between his public and private selves,
It may well be, although I'd be more willing to credit that explanation if McGreevey had saved it for the book and not mentioned it at all in the resignation. But my concern here is with the blurb itself. As a descriptive this more accurately fits the Star Trek episode where Kirk splits into a good half and a bad half, than any political process I've heard of.
at a time in our culture when the personal and political have become tangled like frayed electric cables.
Yeah, it's getting worse. Oh, what a tangled rift we repair! Our blurbist can't possibly think that a rift is like a tangled electric cable - or a tangled, frayed electric cable. Or a bunch of frayed electric cables that are tangled. More likely, the blurbist isn't thinking at all, and is merely hoping that we'll mistake an impressive vocabulary for good writing.
I'll also note, at this point, that "the personal is political" is bollocks. It's much closer to true to say that people make the political personal - a process that this memoir is unlikely to interrupt. Instead of this flowery crap about rifted selves (that are tangled, don't forget), it would be simpler to say that politicians long have been parading their families as photo ops without actually being good family men; that all of their talk about promises and integrity has no intention to keep either. Strunk and White were right, bless them - "Be concrete."
And, if you'll forgive the bluntness - is a guy who left his wife and daughters a good choice to write a book about bringing those things back together?
Teeming with larger-than-life characters,
Electrical cables teem?
A memoir of someone's life has larger-than-life characters?
OK - I admit that I didn't read the thing. Did the publisher?
written with honesty,
Hey, kids! Our author didn't lie in his own memoir! BUY TODAY!
grace, and rare insight into what it means to negotiate the minefield of American public life,
(At this point, your brain may hurt. Take a moment, sip some water.)
This is just shoddy writing. Strunk and White again: "Shoddy writing is shoddy thinking." For example: what rare insights can the guy have? He dealt a state job to his supremely-unqualified lover. Hardly rare. Nor would I call it "negotiating the minefield of American public life" when he was caught, and resigned amid scandal. You may as well read my book about what it takes to colonize Mars.
And - again with the bluntness and the hurting and flayven! - life would be far less of a minefield if one simply wasn't a crook. Integrity doesn't mean skirting the law, or not getting caught, or looking stern while saying serious things on TV. It means that all of one's faculties cooperate - that one's public and private selves never get rifted. (I'm beginning to heart that word.) One need not be in public life to benefit, either.
it may be among the most honest political memoirs ever written.
It may be honest? You're not sure? You seemed sure a couple of sentences ago... though, as we've seen, it's rather hard to tell. Are you even sure it's rare? There's a whole industry that caters to celebs and politicos in disgrace - it's called "hitting the confessional circuit." You don't even have to do anything, either, except talk about how lousy you feel. This would seem to indicate that the lack of integrity that caused the disgrace is still in operation, and that "confessional" is therefore not an accurate term. "Fooling oneself" or "wasting all of our time" are far better, though they don't read as well on the back of a dust jacket.
Of course by now I've run both my points into the ground, dug them out, pummeled them, and left the scraps for the buzzards. I'm sorry to be on about it so long. For the three of you still conscious: don't write like this blurb. Ever. Please. Don't rift your selves like tangled cables that teem with rare insight and (perhaps) honesty. You'll be happier and you won't have to bother with writing a book about it.
This has been a public service announcement of Bloggers Against Rifted Writing.