The Woman at the Washington Zoo
by: Marjorie Williams; edited by Tim Noah
Published by: Public Affairs
Buy From Amazon.com
Reviewed by Connie Anderson
Subtitled: Writing on Politics, Family & Fate
No, this isn't about the typical zoon--but about the "Zoo" that is Washington, D.C.
Marjorie Williams, a journalist for the Washington Post, had a sense of unrelenting refusal to deal with just the surface reality--but find the truth beneath.
Sitting here in the Midwest, some of these stories, some of the people are not players we hear about every day, but some were.
Marjorie and Tim Noah (Senior writer for Slate) were married in 1990. In 2001, happy and healthy, Marjorie discovered a lump in her lower abdomen and after much effort, died in 2005 from liver cancer at the age of 47. Tim has selected what he feels are her most revealing columns written about politicians, the shakers and movers of Washington's social ad business life, and about her family.
As an outsider I enjoyed reading about insiders like Ambassador Lucky Roosevelt and her long marriage, and other characters that made good reading.
Jennifer Senior, New York Times Book Review said, "Williams was a crowbar, prying great quotes from her sources, and she found herself face to face with rather intimate details of their life."
So true, whether she was writing about Bill and Hillary, the couple that always give us something to talk about, her own illness, her mother's illness, or her children--her observations were always sharp and often sweet.
Some of my favorites were her most personal stories, like The Cat Race about how she was "going to raise her children," that is, until she actually had children. This felt very familiar.
The Art of Fake (and Useful) Apology, (in the news again as I write this) used by politicians reminds us that this happens far too often.
With another Presidential campaign heating up, Williams takes us back to 1992 when Al Gore was running for President (without hitching his star to Clinton). Her article, "Scenes from a Marriage" is about that time, and the end of that "marriage" and the not-too-obvious divorce of Clinton and Gore.
Sadly the world will never again read about current events from her.
Armchair Interviews says: This book was a New York Times Bestseller.
From our armchair to yours...