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The author of What I Saw at the Revolution and a former speechwriter for President Reagan discusses her life after she left Washington--and the world of politics--in 1988. 75,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo. Tour.
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Former Reagan speechwriter Noonan (What I Saw at the Revolution, 1990) reflects on life outside the Beltway with charm and wit--and a privileged insider's view. Noonan moved to New York to raise her son and make a living as a journalist. Although she has been called back to Washington from time to time--notably on emergency speechwriting chores for George Bush during his 1992 campaign--this is her story of ``real life'' in the Big Apple. First, it should be made clear that Noonan lives on the ritzy Upper East Side and takes a lot of cabs, that her son goes to private school, and that the parties she attends are social events reported in the New York Times. That said, it is easy to enjoy, if not always agree with, her commentary on life as a single mother in the '90s. ``There's no such thing as quality time,'' she says. ``There's only time,'' just being there ``in the daily boringness.'' She cites a friend who launched a career out of ambition and maintains it now because she must help pay the mortgage. Why, wonders Noonan, must everyone own a home and have a mortgage? Because of the tax deductions, she flashes. Which proves that our tax burdens are too heavy. Calling current American culture ``coarse,'' she observes that romance has faded and marriage has become a ``deal.'' She offers astute perceptions about President Clinton, politics, and politicians. ``Old Republicans come from guilty Greenwich; young Republicans have less gelt and so less guilt.'' Young Republicans, she says, favor think tanks and Rush Limbaugh over Jay Leno and Gridiron dinners. She is at home-- if not always happy--with the Republican Party, but ideology does not override observation in this book. Fun to read, skillfully written with guess-who-this-is anecdotes, but still inside a beltway of the mind. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Readers who remember Noonan's first book, What I Saw at the Revolution (1990), will be surprised to find a more private and reflective account here. In fact, they may find after the first 100 pages or so that they already have learned plenty about the personal life and views of this former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, thank you very much. Not surprisingly, the book is split into three sections: "Life," "Liberty," and "The Pursuit of Happiness." The most entertaining of these is "Life," in which Noonan describes what it was like being a single mother moving from Washington, D.C., to Manhattan in the early 1990s. (The best part is where she finds out that the house she now inhabits had at one time been lived in by author Louis Auchincloss; this gives her the necessary sign that moving to New York to write was definitely the right decision.) "Liberty" is more whiny than amusing. There, Noonan bemoans the plight of the nation now that a Democrat--albeit a moderate Democrat--is in the White House. However, this chapter does supply the expected Capitol Hill gossip that readers might be craving. The last section, "The Pursuit of Happiness," is the most introspective and, sadly, the most self-indulgent. Noonan gives a touching description of her newfound sense of spirituality, but she belittles the beauty of that story by adopting a this-is-the-only-answer attitude. Her writing is eloquent, though, and readers looking for a conservative's thoughtful take on the world today will find it here. Mary Frances Wilkens
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