The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower
3 words: dishy, insider, personal
Dear The Residence,
I enjoyed every guilty-pleasure minute we hung out together.
Except when I didn’t.
Here’s the thing.
I appreciate hearing the inside stories about what it’s like to work at the White House, and the dedication it requires. I’m all about the inside-baseball workplace narratives.
And I like the fact that the many heroes of the book are the behind-the-scenes people who make sure the clocks keep ticking and the silver is sparkling and the floral arrangements are fresh and beautiful.
Sometimes these stories make me feel like the storytelling’s gone a little too far. Do we really need to hear about various First Ladies’ worst moments of losing their temper?
I know. It’s dishy and it sells books.
And I know. It’s part of the story of what it’s like to work at the White House. There are personalities involved.
But then there’s this.
Upon moving into the White House, First Families are told that the residence staff will maintain the families’ privacy.
So when we hear stories, told by various residence staff members, of First Ladies and other family members saying things in private that were meant to stay in private… I feel uncomfortable. And it makes me concerned about the level of confidence that future First Families will have about their own privacy being respected.
And the worst part is: I’m part of the problem, because I gobbled you right up.
And I understand why your author included those anecdotes. If you’re told these tales, you’re gonna feel that you should share them to complete the story. But I still wish they weren’t there.
So, I appreciate your shining a light on the tireless people who work at the White House. They make the work look easy (it ain’t), and much of the time they work near-miracles practically invisibly. It’s a remarkable thing. I’m grateful to learn more about their work and their devotion.
But when I recall some of the private moments that were revealed, even though they were only a tiny little part of this book… I gotta say, it makes me uncomfortable.
The Residence, I just can’t rest completely easy within your pages.
You’re a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.