From the Corner of the Oval – A Memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein

I absolutely tore through this memoir, and was immediately engaged by Beck’s writing style. I was pleasantly surprised by how open and candid Beck was about her experience as a White House stenographer during the Obama administration. Her role saw her privy to living history – she toured the world on Air Force One on trips that no sitting US President had ever made (Cuba, Vietnam and Japan most notably), she saw the administration react in real-time during countless school shootings, the Boston Marathon bombing, and many other hard-hitting events that shook the world during the Obama Presidency.

This more politically entrancing aspect of her memoir was balanced against her day-to-day as a twenty-something young professional (she ran on treadmills in hotel gyms exchanging  competitive banter with President Obama!) and makes for a refreshing read alongside the barrage of more lofty political memoirs currently being released.

My only issue with this was the recurring focus  on her on-again-off-again affair with fellow staffer, Jason. I realise this is an odd thing to critique in a memoir – it was her experience, those were her feelings. I just felt at times it dominated her narrative and I found myself wanting to hear more about what she was doing in her role and her writing journey.

I admired that Beck’s writing strengthened throughout this memoir, mirroring her own growth in confidence in real time. Her depiction of the change in administration was just stunning – her boldness and sass jump off the page and it is exciting to think what is in store for the next stage in her career as a writer. I look forward to reading what Beck pens next!


Thanks to NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau for an advance copy of this in exchange for an honest review. Out 10 July 2018.



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