Publishers Weekly Review
In this excellent, insightful memoir, comedian turned senator Franken recalls his unlikely path to public service. He was raised in a middle-class family in a Minneapolis suburb, tried to launch his comedy career while still an undergraduate at Harvard University, and found success when he landed a gig in 1975 as one of the original script writers on Saturday Night Live. He and his colleagues, some of them fueled by alcohol and drugs, indulged in late-night writing sessions that made the show's sketches part of the cultural lexicon. The heart of this memoir is Franken's decision to move back to Minnesota from New York City to run for the U.S. Senate against the Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman. Franken's decision seemed rather quixotic at first, and the 2008 campaign was notable for GOP denunciations of Franken's satirical writings as well as his wife's public disclosure of her struggles with alcoholism. Coleman initially won by 725 votes, which triggered an automatic recount that gave Franken the victory by 312 votes. Due to repeated legal challenges from Coleman, however, Franken wasn't seated until July 2009. Not surprisingly, Franken is quite a raconteur, and he tells the story of his remarkable life and times with a sense of humor that is always irreverent and often self-deprecating. One thing is no joke, however: he's very serious about his job representing the people of Minnesota. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* This is a great book about politics. No joke. (When Franken, former comedian and current U.S. senator from Minnesota, was elected in 2008, by 312 votes, practically every headline writer went with, Franken Elected to Senate. No Joke.) In this freewheeling memoir, the senator covers politics in the broadest sense: elections, expectations, punditry, the sausage factory known as Congress, and the lessons Franken keeps learning. The compulsively readable text contains laugh-out-loud lines in every chapter (since Franken has a dehumorizer in his office to make sure he doesn't come across as a clown, he's saved many of his jokes for this book). But the fun is a side dish to a serious meal about important policy decisions, congressional gridlock, and the frustrations (many) and joys (some) of working for the people, which Franken seems to do with humility and gratitude. There is also a lot of fascinating stuff about other senators: I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz. Politicians often write books before they run for president. Ironically, Franken has already written, Why Not Me? (1999), about a fictional Franken presidency. If this is a stalking horse, it's better than most. I'm looking at you, This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Review
The nation's funniest senator speaks of the strange ways of government by "old white men."Franken, the Democratic senator from Minnesota and survivor of the early years of Saturday Night Live, is a definitively humorous fellow and about as candid as any politician can be expected to be. As he opens this memoir/user's manual, he recounts that he is asked from time to time whether holding a seat in the Senate is as much fun as having been on SNL back in the glory days, to which his response is, "why would it be?" Why, indeed? He finds that his stock is increased among his Republican counterparts, however, when they learn that he knew Broderick Crawford, the tough hero of the classic law-and-order TV series Highway Patrolproving, he says, precisely the oldness and whiteness of the legislative body, and mostly for the worse. Along the way, Franken is open about discussing his wife's alcoholism and the effect it had on his first run for the Senate; far from being a liability, voters appreciated both the humanity and humility of their openness about the problem and Franken's loyalty alike. The same problem was more insidious with the author's erstwhile comedy partner Tom Davis; suffice it to say, as Franken does, that his reaction to the addiction "had made me a much less pleasant person to be around." If anything, the author comes off as affable without being overly yielding, friendly but ready to scrap, and an unabashed devotee of the "Hillary Model": "Be a workhorse, not a showhorse. Go to all your hearings. Come early, stay late. Do your homework. Don't do national press. Be accessible to your state media and to your constituents." And though he allows that Republicans "are just awful," he also holds that Democrats have to accommodate the fact that they exist and try to get things done with themall except maybe Ted Cruz. Here's how the sausage is made on Capitol Hilland in Franken's case, made with a smile. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.