Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue, is out today. Palin co-wrote
the book with Lynn Vincent, a conservative writer. Plenty of pundits
are happy to parse the book as a political manifesto, but how does it
hold up as a piece of literature? Not so well, judging from the book reviews. The standout
positive review is from Matthew Continetti, a conservative editor for
the Weekly Standard who just released a Palin biography of his own.
Here's what newspaper book reviewers are saying about Going Rogue.
- I Didn't Finish Reading It Writing in the Washington Post, liberal blogger and radio host Ana Marie Cox takes the book not so seriously, writing only 373 words in her review. "I cannot claim to have completely read 'Going Rogue' -- I had to skim the last 150 pages (or more than one-third). I only got the thing into my hands late Monday afternoon with a deadline of early evening. It's terrible, I know, but if I didn't read it all, neither can Sarah Palin claim to have completely written it," she writes.
- 'One-Woman Alaska Division of Tourism' Also in the Washington Post, Weekly Standard editor and Palin biographer Matthew Continetti praises it to the sky. "She writes in the warm, casual, occasionally corny voice that has made her so lovable to some and revolting to others. I'll go out on a limb and predict that if you like Palin, you'll like 'Going Rogue' -- and if you don't like Palin, well, I hear the new Stephen King is pretty good," he writes. "With the aid of Lynn Vincent as her ghostwriter, she tells homespun stories, cracks a few jokes, provides juicy campaign gossip and lets the reader know where she stands on issues such as the right to life, government taxes and spending, health care and climate change. Like a good Republican, she invokes Ronald Reagan's name at every opportunity. The book is so packed with facts, history and encomiums about her state, she's practically a one-woman Alaska Division of Tourism: 'We have the highest number of pilots per capita in the United States.'"
- 'Erratic' Spin and Name-Dropping The New York Times's Michiko Kakutani pans the book as "erratic" and "part cagey spin, part earnest autobiography, part payback hit job. And its most compelling sections deal not with politics but with Ms. Palin’s life in Alaska and her family. Despite an annoying tendency to drop the names of lots of writers and philosophers gratuitously — in the course of this book she quotes or alludes to Pascal, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Paine, Pearl S. Buck, Mark Twain and Melville — she does a lively job of conveying the frontier feel of the 49th state. [...] She talks about juggling motherhood with politics, and gives a moving account of learning that her son Trig would be born with Down syndrome."
- This Is Lynn Vincent's Book The L.A. Times's Tim Rutten credits "evangelical Christian writer and pro-life activist" Vincent's ghost writing with the tenor and message of the book. "Vincent reportedly was selected for this job in large part for her ability to connect with evangelical Christians, and they won't be disappointed to find that Palin discerns 'God's hand' and a divine purpose in nearly every turn of her life, including her tenure in Wasilla, Alaska's city hall. Actually, the hand most obviously working throughout 'Going Rogue' is Vincent's. The narrative is sprinkled with literary and philosophical references that one somehow doubts sprang from the copious pages of Palin's diaries, including the role of Blaise Pascal's philosophy in her girlhood conversion from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism."