When Valerie Jarrett interviewed a promising young lawyer named Michelle Robinson in July 1991 for a job in Chicago city government, neither knew that it was the first step on a path that would end in the White House. Jarrett soon became Michelle and Barack Obama's trusted personal adviser and family confidante; in the White House, she was known as the one who 'got' him and helped him engage his public life. Jarrett joined the White House team on January 20, 2009 and departed with the First Family on January 20, 2017, and she was in the room - in the Oval Office, on Air Force One, and everywhere else - when it all happened. No one has as intimate a view of the Obama Years, nor one that reaches back as many decades, as Jarrett shares in Finding My Voice. Born in Iran (where her father, a doctor, sought a better job than he could find in segregated America), Jarrett grew up in Chicago in the 60s as racial and gender barriers were being challenged. A single mother stagnating in corporate
"History may not give Jarrett all the credit she deserves. When pressed, most might identify her simply as First Friend, based on her long-standing relationship with both Michelle and Barack Obama. And while true, that's a pejorative that fails to address the numerous professional accomplishments that preceded her association with the Obamas. Stanford-educated and holding a law degree from the University of Michigan, Jarrett gave up her career track at Chicago white-shoe law firms to enter public service, working with Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley to manage key city agencies. Jarrett's quiet determination, unparalleled work ethic, and deep commitment to a city rich with family roots won her respect at a time when, as a newly divorced single mother, she needed it most. Revisiting her illustrious career, from inner-city Chicago to the White House and beyond, Jarrett reveals the life-changing events that, though perilous at the time, enabled her to become a virtuoso corporate and philanthropic leader, and a valued presidential adviser.--Carol Haggas Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In this insightful political insider memoir, Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, tells of her career in the government. Raised in a prominent black family in 1960s Chicago, Jarrett graduated from Stanford and the University of Michigan Law School, and returned home to work in private practice. Realizing that public service was her calling, Jarrett took a job in the office of Mayor Harold Washington ("the chance to work with incredibly talented public servants gave me a purpose and satisfaction I'd never felt before"). As Mayor Richard Daley's deputy chief of staff in 1989, Jarrett hired Michelle Robinson, fiancée of Barack Obama, and the three forged a close-knit friendship; Jarrett later agreed to chair Obama's Senate race finance committee and to be an advisor for his presidential bid. After Obama's election, she became his senior adviser and writes proudly about how satisfying it was to have been part of an administration that addressed such issues as health care and passed a bill to allow "openly gay men and women in the military." Along the way, she includes such memorable moments as when a speechless Michael Jordan learned he would be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jarrett movingly captures life as a public servant in this detailed, well-told memoir (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."