Kirkus Reviews QR Code


My Life From Liverpool to Downing Street

by Cherie Blair

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-03145-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

The wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair shares her personal and political life in a talkative, entertaining memoir.

Born Cherie Booth to two young British actors, the author’s childhood was somewhat idyllic until her father abandoned the family to cultivate another relationship. Blair offers a breezy take on her youth and upbringing, thus priming readers for the juicy bounty of her adult years with husband Tony and the varied controversies she would spend years buffering. Developing a bright, headstrong personality early on, Blair pursued a law career—though the bar, at that time, was “overwhelmingly masculine”—and blossomed while a pupil barrister in the late ’70s. It was during those lean academic years that she met Tony, a handsome law student with blue eyes that “seemed to see right through me.” A heady romance led to marriage four years later and, eventually, four children. The author hardly minces words when it comes to their relationship: She admits to heavy petting on a double-decker bus and describes her youngest son Leo’s birth in excessive detail. As Blair juggled motherhood and a barrister’s career, her husband’s increasing political involvement in the Labour Party spawned a triumphant campaign for prime minister. During their inaugural term, the Blairs met the Clintons in the first of many pleasurable evenings together (though the Monica Lewinsky scandal put a damper on things), and she cites a pleasurable visit to the Bush ranch years later. The author’s blatant disdain for the news media embarrassingly capped the end of her husband’s last term after she took a final jab at relentless media hounds perpetually perched on their Downing Street doorstep. Throughout the book, Blair’s plucky forthrightness shines through.

Though some consider Blair chilly and staunchly belligerent, her memoir indicates that there’s a soft center there somewhere.