Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama [audiobook]

I started a membership to an audio book club, which allows me one free download a month and lets me fill in my walking time with books as well. In selecting audiobooks, I’m considering who is reading them as much as who wrote them. Especially this first book, I was very anxious to hear Obama’s story told in his own voice.

Although written before Obama’s political career took off, it’s hard to listen to this book and not hear Obama the president. But it was the fact that this book was written early in Obama’s career, before he was a guarded, calculating politician, that drew me to it. He is very frank about everything from his disappointment with his father to his drug use, from his take on race relations and search for an identity to his dealings and disillusionment with Chicago politics and community leaders. His early life would be an interesting story for any man—considering that he’s now the president, it’s really interesting.

As a president, Obama is a top class writer and orator. As an author, he tends to overwrite a bit for my taste. And as a reader of audiobooks, he’s so-so. He has a commanding voice, but his accents slip in and out when he does dialogue and he comes across a little stiff. Still, I wouldn’t have anyone else read this book. And overall, it’s a great and insightful look into a living historical figure.

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