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From the Corner of the Oval

A Memoir
Written by: Beck Dorey-Stein
Narrated by: Beck Dorey-Stein
Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
4 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 35.09
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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 the critics say

“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)
 

“If you’ve ever felt like you were out of your element, in over your head, or working without a net, you will love this book. Beck Dorey-Stein reveals an endlessly fascinating perspective on power and history in the making. This memoir is funny, fast-paced, and so emotionally true that it hurts.” (Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black)

“History lesson meets soap opera. In this poignant, brutally honest, and often-funny work of self-reflection, Dorey-Stein pulls no punches and tells all she learned from and about the president who ‘taught me to look up.’” (Booklist)

“A few weeks ago, what I always fear will happen actually did happen. I’d been reading Beck Dorey-Stein’s engrossing memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, out July 10, on my commute home. ‘Huh,’ I thought, as I looked up from my book and saw a slightly unfamiliar landscape whir by. ‘This train ride seems longer than usual.’ And it was. I had been so absorbed in Dorey-Stein’s insider recollections of the Obama White House that I’d missed my stop entirely.” (Refinery29, Best New Books For July 2018) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Book I've Listened to in a Long Time

I heard about this book from the Skimm and instantly knew I had to read it. I was skeptical at first because I've tried reading and listening to memoir's before and end up stopping after the first few chapters but this book was different. From the first chapter, I was drawn into Becks world and I couldn't stop listening until it was finished. Beck Dorey Stein knows how to write a beautiful captivating story. I loved the moments she shared with the president and her drive to push through all the negative things in life. I saw myself in her and I'm so glad she shared her experiences and didn't hide them because they weren't particularly happy. I would recommend this book to everyone! Seriously read it or buy the audiobook you won't regret it!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but sad. Lots of cursing.

It’s interesting to hear behind the scenes experiences. But I would have thought working with 44, Beck would grown in self confidence to stop being used and stop cheating. I expected more about 45 than a few sentences.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • L. N. Smith
  • 2018-08-01

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • alaskajazz
  • 2018-07-12

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa A.
  • 2018-10-11

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • La Smurf
  • 2018-07-21

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Elena Argueta
  • 2018-09-10

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kat lopez
  • 2018-07-25

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • TucRon
  • 2018-07-28

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 2018-08-08

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia J. Mann
  • 2019-01-27

Backstage look at the Presidency, plus!

This is a very enjoyable look at many “unseen” role supporting the President. And, a frank, Funny coming of age story. Kept my interest throughout!

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  • Rachel - Audible
  • 2019-01-11

Gossip Girl meets The West Wing

This is Gossip Girl meets The West Wing, and I couldn't put it down. I loved Beck's take on "D.C. Creatures" and the weirdness that ensues when a bunch of attractive, ambitious singles spend so much time together on the road as POTUS's entourage. And her approachable, endearing voice makes it all go down so easily.

I was expecting the gossip about what it's like to be privy to POTUS's inner circle, but I wasn't expecting her story to be so boy crazy. Turns out there's a ton of romance and betrayal and secrets and dramaaaaa, which made for a super fun summer read.