In a shocking loss heard round the world, Hillary Clinton speaks out for the first time on what she was thinking and feeling during the controversial 2016 presidential election. She shares what her average day was like on the campaign trail, and how it felt to be stalked around the stage during that infamous debate. She really takes a hard look into the how, and the why of “what happened”. Hillary takes responsibility in her own failings as a candidate but also brings to light a number of outside contributing factors.
This was a tough book to read. Not because it was bad but because it was so heartbreaking to see what could have been. It was tough because as Hillary talks about the difference between sexism and misogyny, many other women could relate to those feelings from all different industries and walks of life. These pages show just how qualified she was for that job with all her decades of experience in various factors yet it was, in the grand scheme of things, “those damn emails” that everyone couldn’t stop focusing on.
The emails felt like the catalyst to everything else that happened: the Russian interference, James Comey, the press coverage… It’s interesting because while this was happening during the campaign, it felt constant and related but not until Hillary lays it all out and connects the actual timelines does it provide a really eye opening picture of what she was up against. And while she does make note that her diving into all of this isn’t necessarily to just rehash everything in the past but to move forward and prevent it from happening again, I do think there felt like a bit of repetition in that part. Yes, it’s important for everyone to be more vigilant about actual fake news and more cognizant about what the media is covering but I felt there were some chapters in the book that felt like it was repeating again what was already covered in some earlier chapters. Nonetheless, it really drilled home what lead to where we are today.
What Happened contains a mix of anecdotes and a deeper dive into policies and factual accounts of what occurred. While I found it fascinating to read how all the contributing factors connected to each other, I particularly enjoyed when Hillary shared candidly her thoughts during some highly profiled controversial moments. She admits that during some of those moments, she would have wanted to react more but wanted to maintain a poised persona on television. So it’s those very instances that are fascinating to read about now on what she was actually feeling.
I have never felt compelled to mark up a book but I truly couldn’t resist underlining (lightly, in pencil!) a number of passages that are full of inspiration and poignancy. It’s hard to not draw comparisons of this well-spoken person to the non-stop barrage of nonsense that many face on a daily basis now.