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From the Corner of the Oval  By  cover art

From the Corner of the Oval

By: Beck Dorey-Stein
Narrated by: Beck Dorey-Stein
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller 

What if you lived out the drama of your 20s on Air Force One? 

"[This] breezy page turner is essentially Bridget Jones goes to the White House." (The New York Times

Recommended Reading: theSkimm • Today • Entertainment Weekly • Refinery29 • Bustle • PopSugar • Vanity Fair • The New York Times Editors’ Choice • Paste

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama's stenographers. The ultimate DC outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers - young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. 

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate DC insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal. 

Against a backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice. 

“Who knew the West Wing could be so sexy? Beck Dorey-Stein’s unparalleled access is obvious on every page, along with her knife-sharp humor. I tore through the entire book on a four-hour flight and loved reading all about the brilliant yet hard-partying people who once surrounded the leader of the free world. Lots of books claim to give real insider glimpses, but this one actually delivers.” (Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

“Dorey-Stein...writes with wit and self-deprecating humor.” (The Wall Street Journal

“Addictively readable... Dorey-Stein’s spunk and her sparkling, crackling prose had me cheering for her through each adventure... She never loses her starry-eyed optimism, her pinch-me wonderment, her Working Girl pluck.” (Paul Begala, The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice)

©2018 Beck Dorey-Stein (P)2018 Random House Audio

What listeners say about From the Corner of the Oval

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I kept waiting

I kept waiting for her to stop making idiotic choices over and over and over again. I kept waiting for her to stop being self-obsessed and self-destructive and to start telling more stories about important things like the White House and the trips they made to other countries, and to tell fewer stories about moronic boys who treated her like crap. I waited, right up to the very end. Two stars, only for the few stories she actually did share that were anything remotely pertinent to her former position in the White House.

12 people found this helpful

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Not an insider view

Book is all about cheating on her boyfriend and being cheated on. Also puts down other women. Not what I expected. Would not recommend.

10 people found this helpful

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Memoir about her love life.

The book was performed well. The storyline book was disappointing for me. I expected more like TV series "West Wing" or "Madam Secretary", but reminded me more of TV series "Scandal". This chronicles her travels as a White House employee, her being impressed with #44, but the majority covers her love life, love affair with another employee and her desire to become a writer. It reminded me more of a Harlequin love story and caused wonder if it was a work of fiction. I would have been more impressed had it been presented as a fictional work with all fictional characters.

9 people found this helpful

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West Wing - it's about the work, loves, and life

This might be the best book I've "read" on Audible. Writing was beautiful and totally enjoyable to listen to. My favorite character was Pathahad (read the book to learn more!). I recently rewatched the West Wing TV series and was left with an intense curiosity on how the White House staff functions - when do they sleep, where do they live, how do they dress so well on meager incomes. This book doesn't reveal all but gives me a feel for the non-political backdrop to working in the White House.

8 people found this helpful

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i expected more

i hoped it'd be a story about someone close to obama's presidency, but it's almost all about the author's love life.

7 people found this helpful

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Missed Opportunity

Thought this would be an interesting insight into the life and doings of the Presidency ("from the corner of the Oval"). Here she gets the opportunity of a lifetime...what many would only dream about. And the chance to write about it. Only to turn the bulk of it into a personal story of her relationship with her boyfriend and the man she cheats on him with while she travels with the President and his staff. The more I read it and the more she continued on about these relationships (if you can call them that) it just made me angry as I could care less about her sexual trysts. Honestly I got exactly halfway thru it and was just so disappointed I quit reading it. If I wanted to read a romance novel I would have bought that. Sad to have missed such an opportunity with that kind of insight. She could have written not only a great book about the Presidency but about a Great man as well.

5 people found this helpful

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  • A
  • 08-08-18

Painful and Disappointing

I had so much hope for this book, but I was very disappointed. While the writer is skilled in creating interesting descriptions, the book point was confusing and came across like a soap opera. The author was constantly saying that she despised "D.C. creatures," for various behaviors. At the same time, she was also often name dropping throughout the book--a behavior that seems to align with the characteristics she described as being unattractive. The book has a painful pattern: travel for work, get extremely intoxicated, and make terrible choices. Finally, the author came across as arrogant (e.g., flaunting her perceived basketball, running, humor skills) and a bit hypocritical (e.g., dissing on other women when she seemed to be promoting a message of lifting one another up). I'm not sure what the take away is for this book. I think the author would still be in the same dead-end relationship if it was possible.

4 people found this helpful

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Love it

Love that it is read by the author! Makes me miss former President Obama, who the author got to run next to on the treadmill more than once.

4 people found this helpful

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A little White House insider, a lot of drinking, and way too much silly romance. Learn how women think.

This book is well written and has some interesting White House organizational information. I hope the White House staff doesn’t drink and smoke as much as it seems, and it’s sad to think the author is so foolishly unlucky at love. You do get a good description of the way women think. And, of course, some wonderful descriptions of President Obama.

2 people found this helpful

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From the Corner of her Bedroom

Just finished "From the Corner of the White House," by Beck Dorey-Stein, which is supposed to be her memoir about working as a stenographer in the Obama White House.

The title of the book would give you to think that the White House was what this memoir was about wouldn't it?

Well, don't be fooled like I was.

What it's really about is the various love affairs of an insecure, misguided, sexually obsessive young woman who uses the backdrop of her job as a stenographer at the White House as an excuse to write her "memoir."

"When," I found myself asking more than halfway through the book, "is the author going to stop talking about herself and the men she "loves" and start talking about the White House?"

Now that I've finished the book however, I see that she did talk about the White House, and about Obama, and about his staffers and about Air Force One and about "how she can't believe how lucky she is" and especially about how easy it is to be a stenographer --- which, sad to say, is painfully obvious -- but it's hard to tease these facts out from under the bed sheets.

Bottom line. There's just not that much to say about setting up a microphone, recording a speech/statement/press conference, etc.and then going back to your office and typing it up.

Which is probably why the author threw in all the stuff about her love affairs.

And oh yeah, about how she figures out that she "really is a writer."

I guess she is. After all, she has had a book published that I can almost guarantee you will be made into a movie -- it has what everybody wants these days. Politics and sex. (Sorry, no violence).

So, do I recommend the book? Let me say if you are an Obama fan you will love it. The author literally drools over Obama and, to be fair, along the way shares some interesting behind the scenes moments with him.

That being said, she doesn't really have anything to say about him that the Obama fan doesn't already think and feel.

If you are into obsessive love affairs, boyfriends who cheat and even people who write memoirs who cheat and write about it ad infinitum then, if you have something else to do (like crocheting so you don't end up feeling like you have entirely wasted our time) while you're listening to this drivel, you might get through it.

Otherwise, if you want writing and storries that matter, insight, perspective, and real historical moments that don't take place at a pool side, in a hotel room, or in a bar then I'd give this one a pass.

2 people found this helpful