Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Staying True

Remember Mark Sanford? He was that governor from South Carolina who gave the phrase “Hiking the Appalachians” a new meaning, when he used it as an excuse to cover up his affair with an Argentinean woman. Well, of course, he had a wife, Jenny Sanford, who decided to write a book about the ordeal.

The book, Staying True, actually covers much more than the affair and its attempted cover-up. Jenny goes through her and Mark’s relationship and political career beginning with their courtship and lasting until the present. Here’s the thing… most of it is boring. As terrible as the affair was, it is the only part of the book that had elements of a good story, and it is a remarkably small fraction of the entire work. The rest of Staying True is filled with way too many details, like what kind of sheets her sons had on their beds and the names that campaign workers gave various areas of the Sanford home. I can’t tell you how many times (probably once every five minutes or so) that I thought, “Why do we care about this?”

After reading Staying True, I’m pretty I’ve figured out Jenny’s goal: to extol Mark’s political career while simultaneously showing the world what an asshole husband he was. Though I didn’t find myself won over by Mark’s political viewpoints, I did finish the book knowing that he was a bastard.

My Staying True experience had an added element, as my library had only the audio version of the story. Jenny Sanford narrated it herself, which I initially thought would be a good thing, but soon proved to be otherwise. Jenny read with overly precise diction, but no expression or emotion whatsoever. I understand that it may be a difficult thing for her to continue to talk about the disarray of her marriage, but if that’s the case, she should have had someone else do the recording. If you do decide to check out Staying True, I’d definitely steer you away from the audio-book.

But, really, I’d steer you away from the book altogether. I’m giving Staying True a 1/5. Any book that leaves me wondering, “Why should I care?” is not a good one.

Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. This should start off a week full of reviews, though. I should finish Scott Patterson's The Quants and Jeff Garlin's My Footprint before the week is up.

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