Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Parody of Outraged Maidenhood - Review of Bristol Palin's Book "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far"

The author of this review on about Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far" has kindly given us permission to republish this review here.

A Parody of Outraged Maidenhood

Corinne Quayle, Tricia Nixon, Sarah Gore, the Agnew girls (Pamela, Susan, and Kimberly), Jennifer and Judith Kemp... all of them, any of them, and other Vice Presidential candidates' daughters must be limp with relief that Mummy didn't find a ghostwriter and publisher to put out a book this sleazy, and so early in a young woman's life.

Bristol Palin professes many things in her life: that her parents gave her a "purity ring" in adolescence (a sure-fire applause line for one of her mother's speeches, had she used it, which she hasn't), that she has had only one sex partner at the age of twenty ("one too many," as Nancy French writes). After being put on birth-control pill at age fifteen, she says, to relieve menstrual cramps, Bristol woke up "cold in a tent" after passing out from too many wine coolers and losing her virginity; and that the young man to whom she announced her betrothal not once but twice is "a gnat." Oh, and that she felt she had to "watch her back" in the presence of Meghan McCain. Bristol's many, many grievances--such as why her family did not routinely fly first-class when her mother was, briefly, governor of Alaska, or why the McCains owned so much Louis Vuitton luggage and had more hairdressers at hand during the 2008 campaign--take up most of this book. And from the foreword by Theodore Roosevelt, the person who actually reads this book has to wonder how much of it Bristol herself read. It also appears to be a catch-all for grievances accumulated by her mother since the publication of Sarah Palin's ghost-written "Going Rogue."

"'Wow!' said my mom," pointing out that the "Dancing With the Stars" finals garnered more viewers than Keith Olbermann, whom Bristol says, "has seemed to disappear, and is more irrelevant than ever." Umm, Keith Olbermann returned to the airwaves this week--poor timing, girl.

The knife-sticking and twisting goes beyond Olbermann, President Obama and the McCain and Johnston families, including Bristol's fellow contestants on DWTS, a competition entered by no other politician's daughter. Bristol/Nancy call the human-interest pieces on Kyle Massey, Jennifer Grey, and Florence Henderson "sleekly produced tearjerkers," a phrase difficult to imagine emanating from Bristol's lips, given her trash-talking posts on MySpace and Facebook. Yet she tells her professional dance partner Mark Ballas that their chances are "all in God's hands." Really? After the instructions given on the Internet to Palin fans about how to game the system and multiple-vote for her?

The real victim of this otherwise forgettable book is little Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Children are cruel, as his own mother has demonstrated in 253 pages. Tripp will be the target of playground gibes before he can read.

The real culprit for foisting this tawdry family on the American scene is John McCain. Without him, we never would have heard of Bristol Palin.

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