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A Tribute to 101 Incredible Women of Distinction Who Influenced My Life
From My House to the White House
by Joyce Dickerson
(Click for Amazon book review)
OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:
Joyce Dickerson is the 2014 Democratic nominee for Senate in South Carolina. This book is the perfect example of why politicians should not self-publish their own books. Joyce Dickerson seems like a nice lady, but her book is just an editorial mess. Normally, we at OnTheIssues would not mind that the quality is bad, as long as the content is good--but the content is a mess also.
I'm an editor, so I have trouble reading documents that are as imperfectly written as this one. The errors just jump out of the page--and there are several on every page. Ms. Dickerson serves as Richmond County Councilor--certainly she could have found someone to edit her book before publishing it. I myself have volunteered for a dozen projects like hers, for my local elected equivalent of County Councilors--grammarians like me are a dime-a-dozen in the political world. The single most annoying choice Dickerson made was to set the main list of "101 Women", chapter One, which stretches for 179 pages, in centered bold italics, which makes it uncomfortable to read. Bold italics should be used for emphasis, not for 179 pages straight.
With that out of my system, let me review the content of the book. That ridiculously long title pretty much sums up the content: "A Tribute to 101 Incredible Women of Distinction Who Influenced My Life from My House to the White House". Dickerson chose 101 women who mattered in her life, and described how each one influenced her, for a page or two each. The "White House" refers to the 101st woman, Michelle Obama, as well as the 26th woman (oops, the 28th, on p. 80, or the 26th, according to the index on p. 256), Hillary Rodham Clinton. "My House" refers to most of the top ten most influential women, who are Dickerson's immediate female relatives, from her daughter to her grandmother. Each of them gets a full "chapter" (that's chapters 4 through 13, pp. 214-251) asserting how incredible and wonderful they are; and that leaves only a dozen pages or so for Dickerson's political views.
In between "My House" and "the White House," Dickerson admires Secretary of States [sic] Condoleezza Rice, Kaye [sic] Bailey Hutchison, Congresswomen [sic] Nancy Pelosis [sic] and several other politicians. We read those sections with interest, hoping to ascertain whether Dickerson is pro-choice or pro-life--but she never mentions her abortion stance or those of her selected women, instead sticking strictly to generic admiration. She often asserts that she disagrees with some of the things that one woman or another says, but Dickerson never actually says WHICH things she agrees or disagree with.
Dickerson does manage to make clear, amid all that generic admiration, her religious convictions (admiring Biblical figures from both the Old Testament and New Testament) as well as her specific admiration for those who worked for woman's suffrage as well as the Civil Rights movement. We excerpt those few thin policy stances--but we wish Dickerson would have told us more about herself.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, October 2014
From My House to the White House
by Joyce Dickerson.
Page last edited: Nov 29, 2018