Monday, June 24, 2013

Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin

I read Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life before I started writing book reviews for the Mississauga Library System's Nonfiction Book Club. Palin impressed me with her political history, going from city council to mayor to governor to Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. The story of her climb up the political ladder was exciting to read, and I looked forward to a different perspective in Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin by Lorenzo Benet.

Benet, an assistant editor at People magazine as well as a coauthor of a number of pop biographies, unfortunately has written a boring book that reveals absolutely nothing about Palin that the public doesn't already know. Trailblazer relies on news articles and televised media stories for its sources, and anyone who has read the newspaper or watched Palin's media appearances will find nothing new here. Benet, to his credit, did interview Palin for People, when the magazine did a story on the then governor shortly after she gave birth to her son Trig, who was born with Down Syndrome. There however mustn't have been a lot of substance to that article as he only touches on his actual meeting and interview with Palin. Benet relies on many quotes from an interview he had with one of Palin's sisters, but the calibre of quotes he culls from her are all fluff, ranging from how good she was at high school basketball to how fabulous she works at juggling her time between her work and family. He also interviews Palin's hairstylist and all that she can say is how she changed Palin's hair colour and that she and Palin love to chitchat about their kids. All the quotes he gets out of people are fluff like this, which makes a very boring read indeed.

Trailblazer, written in 2009, seems out of date already since Palin has lived a lifetime of activity in the four years since the book first came out. Most glaring are the references to the upcoming wedding between Palin's daughter Bristol and future Playgirl model Levi Johnston. Benet speculates about Palin's future and while he could not have known that she would resign as Alaska governor later on in 2009, or that she would star in her own TV show, he was prescient in thinking that she would write her autobiography. For more in-depth information about Palin's rise up the political ladder, read Going Rogue.

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