Thursday, July 13, 2006

Book Review: The Woman at the Washington Zoo

The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams

You know the book sections of magazines like People and Entertainment Weekly? That is where I heard about this book. At first I wasn't interested in reading it but I kept remembering their story, by which I mean that this book was organized by Marjorie's husband AFTER she died of liver cancer.

Marjorie was well known for writing wonderful political profiles of people in Washington D.C. and wrote for Vanity Fair, Slate, and the Washington Post. The first third of the book is a selection of these profiles and includes ones on Barbara Bush, Jeb Bush, Vernon Jordan, and "the marriage" of former President Clinton and Al Gore. These profiles were amazing, exciting, and informative.

The second section includes various essays on her thoughts and her family. It was her thoughts that surprised me the most. I didn't expect Williams to discuss anything on 90's feminism and yet it became a reoccuring theme. She, like I, was confused as to where feminism was heading. Why didn't leading feminists get angry during the Clinton-Lewinsky ordeal? Why did they continue to stand behind him?

The last section covers her life with cancer. It includs essays on her experiences with treatment, and coming to terms with the fact that she wouldn't be there for her two young children. She was an extremely strong woman, who appreciated every moment she had and lived with liver cancer for three years when she was told she wouldn't last six months.

Kim's Grade: A An excellent political read and a moving piece on struggling with cancer.

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