Finally, three months later I finished reading A Promised Land. You have no idea how many times I struggled and was about to quit, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the book is fantastic, but the length is something you should take into consideration if you want to read it. I’d suggest going for the audio format, but that’s just me.
Anyway, for those who don’t know, A Promised Land is a memoir by Barack Obama — the 44th president of the United States. It starts by briefly narrating his early life, how he was raised, and his experience as a college student, the moment in which his devotion towards politics begun. Afterward, he narrates how he achieved his position as a senator, leading him to run as a presidential candidate for the democratic party in 2007. This first volume ends with the finalization of his first term as president. And in between the retellings of his political career, Obama unveils himself to all the readers just as he is: a father, a husband, a son, a friend.
We must give props to Barack Obama, not only for his leadership skills but also for this writing style. While reading some sections, it was easy to forget that I had a memoir in front of me because the prose was so vivid and fluid. However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. A great chunk of the book focuses solely on political events, decisions he had to make, and why he took them. Some parts were also pretty technical with explanations and details on political, economic, health, and military aspects.
All of these explanations are the reason the book is so long. While reading it all might be a bit tedious, I found it interesting because before narrating about a specific event or person, Obama shares an introduction to put the reader in context. So even if you had no idea who he was talking about, you’ll be able to understand it nonetheless.
Furthermore, I personally enjoyed seeing Barack Obama for who he is, flaws included. No ones is perfect, not even the president of the United States. Everyone is entitled to have insecurities and make mistakes. And yes, if a president makes an error, it could affect millions of lives. But at least in this memoir, we can see that Obama tried his best every time he confronted adverse situations.
Last but not least, this book gave me hope. I am personally not fond of politics, but given that I had read Michelle Obama’s memoir, I knew I had to read this one as well. And the hope that it provided me with is that not all politicians are self-centered liars whose image is constructed upon empty promises. I’m sure there are others like Obama out there, and thanks to them, the world keeps moving in the right direction.
It’s hard to give it a rating, but overall it’s a 4/5 for me.