POWER FORWARD by Reggie Love


My Presidential Education
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A memoir in which the author recounts his years as personal aide and “bodyman” for Barack Obama.

After Obama’s election, he told the parents of the author, who had been working with him since the Senate, that Love was “like a son” to the Obamas. Nothing in the book will make the White House consider the author less like family. Love dishes no dirt and not much in the way of politics, but he ably reflects the human dimension of the president whose former aide plainly still admires him, and it also suggests what a tumultuous transition it can be for an outsider to find himself immersed in Washington, D.C., without much sense of the responsibilities or expectations accompanying his new job. “What I didn’t have was a job description,” Love remembers of joining the senator’s staff.  “To this day I still haven’t been able to track it down, because there never was one. Each bodyman job is unique to the principal the PA is working for. Every boss is peculiar.” Not that Obama is particularly peculiar—he’s very competitive, doesn’t suffer fools gladly and prefers healthy food that isn’t too messy to eat on the run—but the two men had to feel each other out and form a bond. Basketball provided a common denominator since Love had been captain of (though never a star for) the Duke basketball team, where the mentorship he received from coach Mike Krzyzewski prepared him well for the responsibilities of being a team player for Obama. They had also both been perceived as “the black guy who acted white,” reinforcing bonds of identification despite a significant difference in age.

Though Love admits to his share of mistakes, both he and the president he served emerge from this memoir as admirable and likable.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6334-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2014


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