From the Corner of the Oval

From the Corner of the Oval

A Memoir

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama's stenographers. For five years, Beck was a part of the elite team of men and women who accompanied the president wherever he went, recorder and mic in hand. She got to know everyone from the White House butler to the secret servicemen, advance team, speechwriters, photographers, and press secretaries, and on whirlwind trips across time zones, she forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travelers in the bubble--young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with one of the President's closest aides...who was already otherwise engaged... Set against the backdrop of a White House full of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the compulsively readable story of a young woman finding friends, falling in love, getting her heart broken, finding her voice as a writer, and finding herself in the process"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525509127
Branch Call Number: 973.932 DOREY DOREY
Characteristics: xix, 330 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 05, 2019

Tuesday December 1, 2020 Evergreen Book Club

May 07, 2019

This book comes with very positive reviews so I felt it doesn't live up to its billing. The author does give us some unique perspectives of working in the White House; but i could have done without the description of the author's, almost pathetic, love affairs. Also, the White House staff seems to do a lot of drinking and one wonders if all of it is true. An OK read - not great.

Feb 03, 2019

Disappointing. I initially felt it had potential but it devolved into a White House soap opera. Too little insight/behind the scenes perspective into the professional side of working in the White House - instead it felt more like a too-long memoir from a business traveler who spends too much time in bars. And the toxic relationship that she can’t give up - for an intelligent young woman to be so naive, it was head-shaking. I felt like I was reading a 20 year-old's journal at times instead of someone nearing 30.

Bottom line: some interesting content about working in, and navigating the complexities of, the White House, but not enough to offset the too-frequent recountings of her trysts and the resulting self-loathing. Cutting out 50-75 pages of the personal drama would have left me feeling this book was true to its title.

Jan 11, 2019

This book was highly touted, but I was disappointed. I expected an inside look at the daily functions of the Oval Office, as well as some idea of the people who work there and what they do. Instead, it was more focused on the author's experiences, including her personal life away from work. I could have done without that--lots of drinking, bar-hopping, partying etc. and very little about governing, although she seemed to admire Obama.

Nov 10, 2018

I hated the first several pages so much I went online and read reviews. Bottom line don’t know how first several pages got past editors. But I read on and I loved it. Stayed up all night.
Well. We were all 20 something once. I am glad I was married my whole 20s. 1963-1975.
Yep. That old. So the mistakes she made I made in my 30s. But I was older and way more wiser. But they were mistakes. So what. I survived without a major disaster. I almost didn’t read the book because of reviews about her personal life but I stayed up all night reading. Yeah I loved it. I recommend it. This is life. And those people who say Obama’s only made cameos??? It was enough. The real story was how the press works and what it takes to be one of the lower echelon people and the friendships. You will love it.

Oct 09, 2018

I was really excited to read this book, as it comes from an individual with such a unique perspective on the Obama administration; and I am definitely torn on the outcome. On one hand, the book is well written and offers some incredible stories of once in a lifetime experiences, as well as small peaks into the personal life of Obama. On the other hand ... the majority of the book is taken up recounting the ups and downs of the author's dalliance with an Obama staffer. A staffer who can be politely referred to as a cad (I would use some other super impolite terms, but think the library might ban me). While I think most women can relate to falling for someone who is terrible for them, the author's actions become, at some point, awfully pathetic; and by the end I didn't respect her very much. Perhaps the salaciousness had to be included to get published, but I would have preferred a book less focused on her personal life. If anyone deduces who Jason is, let me know ... I've been googling, but so far have not discovered his real identity ... and I'm dying to know (so I guess she got me there, really).

Sep 26, 2018

I'm always interested in behind the scenes looks that very few people seem to get and this book started off with what I thought would have been great insight. Imagine my surprise. As much as she clues us in to how things work around the president of the United States, or POTUS, it seems more like a diary written by someone who has been allowed to ghost write. Either she had severe restrictions on what she could report, or as many of the White House staffers said, its just a job, this came across as rather bland. She did her share of sleeping around, if that goes with the territory, and like any job some people embrace her and others seem to be out to give her nothing but grief. It was a quick and easy read which I came away with very little to want to pass around or read it again.

Sep 18, 2018

After a few chapters, I returned this book to the library.

Aug 25, 2018

I enjoyed this book so much I gave myself a migraine because I couldn't put it down. Of course, missing Obama I love every mention of him and his 8 years. I could have done without her love life melodrama(bad advice to include this) and more of inner workings of White House, more about Obama(of course), but really was a good read if you are missing the last administration.

Aug 04, 2018

Great title by a good writer who, at the time, was 26 going on 16.
Having briefly touched this magic bubble myself, she did a good job capturing that electricity that surrounds this group.
Too bad she followed Remnick's advice and made it 'her story'.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top