Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A book review: Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and PurposePromise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose by Joe Biden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I usually tend to steer clear of sad stories. I feel like I've had enough pain and loss in my own life, so why latch onto someone else's? But something about Promise Me, Dad and what I'd read from prior reviews drew me to it. Also, I think Joe Biden is a good, kind-hearted, caring public servant, and I was interested for that reason, as well.

The pain of loss encapsulated in Promise Me, Dad comes as no surprise to anyone who reads the news. Joe Biden lost his son, Beau, to an aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma. Despite aggressive, cutting edge treatment, Beau slowly lost a painful battle. This book recounts that battle, as well as the way the Biden family pulled together, supporting each other while doing their best to protect Beau's privacy and dignity. It's also a remembrance of family history and cohesion, as well as a recounting of the support they received from so many, including President Obama.

Interspersed with the story of Beau Biden's cancer battle, and his family's agony as they watched it unfold, is a look inside the top-level politics Joe Biden was engaged in, from legislative history to his deep involvement in international affairs. This well-written and deeply personal book did something few books can; it made me cry. The genuine feeling of it tapped into my own emotions of loss. As things progressed, I found myself hoping for a surprise happy ending, despite knowing how things really did end. It was that level of connection and feeling.

I can see how some readers might not want to go along on this particular ride. As I said above, I often steer clear of such things. But if you don't mind the sadness interwoven within this story, it's a story well told about good people who have made it through a lot while still focusing on how they can make the world I better place. It's worth reading!

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