The What Happened Book Club

image of Hillary Clinton's book 'What Happened' sitting on my dining room table, with my Hillary action figure standing on top of the book, her arms raised over her head

This is the fifth installment of the What Happened Book Club, where we are doing a chapter a week.

That pace will hopefully allow people who need time to procure the book a better chance to catch up, and let us deal with the book in manageable pieces: I figured we will have a lot to talk about, and one thread for the entire book would quickly get overwhelming.

So! Let us continue our discussion with Chapter Five: A Day in the Life.

* * *

This chapter. Oh how I loved it.

I imagine that this chapter, more than most, serves as a Rorschach test, with people who hate Hillary Clinton seeing a flying demon bat with hellfire breath and people who respect her seeing a hardworking dork facetiming with her granddaughter while eating hot sauce and somehow managing not to spill any on her perfectly tailored white trousers.

At the end of this section, I basically came away thinking how much I like Hillary Clinton as a person. And, because I see so many similarities between us, in both our strengths and our weaknesses, I also came away thinking I need to give myself a fucking break once in awhile. It will forever confound me that I defend and understand in other women the very same things I can't seem to forgive myself.


There was a lot I appreciated about Hillary's detailing of a typical day of her life while campaigning — from her typically abundant credit-giving, to ensure we understand she did not manage any of this on her own, to her grousing about the demands on female candidates because of the impossible beauty standards set for women.

I was legitimately amazed that she spent a cumulative twenty-five days of her campaign just having her hair and makeup done.

And not, of course, because she is vain. But because no woman in public life can get away with not presenting herself in styled hair and professional makeup. Even if she wants to.

I feel like if I tried to recount every bit of this chapter that I liked, I'd just be transcribing the entire thing. So I'll just leave it there, and we can discuss the details in comments.

Wait, just one more word because I can't help myself: PORKCHOP!

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