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Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,694 ratings  ·  420 reviews
An intimate look at the love that built the Biden family and the delicate balancing act of the woman at its center

"How did you get this number?" Those were the first words Jill Biden spoke to U.S. senator Joe Biden when he called her out of the blue to ask her on a date.

Growing up, Jill had wanted two things: a marriage like her parents'--strong, loving, and full of laught
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Flatiron Books
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  2,694 ratings  ·  420 reviews

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Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, reviewed
I want you to know this up front: This is not a political book. When Dr. Jill Biden wrote it her husband had not even clinched the Democratic nomination for President. Because he was a Senator and ran several times prior, politics comes in tangentially. But there's no political content, no proselytizing. There is so much to admire and adore in her memoir; I encourage anyone who dislikes or despises her husband to push past that.

Generally Jill Biden had a very happy childhood and this is key to t
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this today, could not put it down. I nearly didn't read it at all because I received so many Kindle loans from the libraries and figured it would be just another politician's wife's book. I could not have been more mistaken. Jill Biden is brutally honest about herself and her faith and the joys and sadness that she has experienced in life. I loved this book. ...more
I loved this book. And I didn't expect to, to be honest. I don't usually read political autobiographies because I want a more balanced view, but in this case I wanted to get to know the members of the Biden family. I've felt for years like I knew who Joe was (because he's an empath, like me, so I feel like I know and understand his core), but I never knew much about Jill Biden, beyond that she's a teacher. In the runup to the election, what I learned about her made me more curious to know more a ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely personal memoir. Dr. Biden teaches at the community college where I did a few years earlier for a short time. A few laugh-out-loud moments and the fast pace make the reading more enjoyable. The politics are kept to a minimum.
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memior
May 8th, 2019, 2:42am

There are no words to accurately express how I feel. I've just finished "Where The Light Enters by Dr. Jill Biden, I have read countless memoirs in my life time. I can say with certainty that this is one of the most beautiful & intimate memoirs I've ever read. It made me laugh, say "awe" out loud countless times, smile, and cry. It inspired to keep going after my goals. It made me miss Beau, & It touched me deeply as a young woman who has lost a loved one to cancer.

As I sa
Mary Sisney
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Before I read her book, I liked Jill Biden. I could see that she was not a media whore, trying to grab the spotlight from her husband and the Obamas, and I appreciated that she was an English professor. But I like her even more now. Her husband is holding at about number seven among the 2020 candidates on my personal poll, but his wife is number one for favorite 2020 spouse. Forget the lawyers and librarians. We need an English professor in the White House. I was amused that Jill was another inn ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a well-written book, jumped around timeline-wise a bit, but it was an interesting glimpse into the life of one of the Second Ladies of the US. The Bidens obviously appreciate family a great deal and support one another no matter what. It's nice to see that characteristic so strong in the people who are leading our country. ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jill Biden's introduction to her life is accessible and well-written, and stands on the shelf with Michelle Obama's Becoming as a record of a time, place, and particular American life. I especially enjoyed Mrs. Biden's thoughts on becoming part of the Biden family as Joe's second wife (his first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident when their sons, Hunter and Beau, were young boys) and as a newcomer to a close-knit, extended family of Bidens. Also her insights into being involved with ...more
Ashley Jacobson
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-biography
Jill seems like such a fun and loving person. This was a really fun, quick read. It had me tearing up in the end when she began talking about losing Beau right after discussing her work with military families. His death broke her. Her loyalty to her family is beautiful and a good example to all of us. I love reading about people who have lived amazing lives!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was hoping it was not political, and it was not. It was a story of family, of romance, of self-realization, of struggle, of grief and loss of a child, of blended families, of courage and of a woman coming to know herself. Take the politics out of it in your mind and read it as a story of someone anonymous and you will enjoy this book. I was pleased to get to know our First Lady better.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn’t recommend this book more! Dr. Biden is an amazing writer and doesn’t hold anything back. This memoir is real, raw, and will make you both smile and cry. I’m so glad that I was able to read this book before the inauguration!
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It was kind of a trick of the library hold system that I read the First Lady and Second Lady's autobiographies back-to-back. It was interesting getting their perspectives on the same situations.

I hemmed and hawed between giving this 4 or 5 stars as I was reading it right after Becoming. It takes a slightly different tact than Michelle Obama did. It definitely reflected the difference in their life experiences. Jill Biden is an English professor at community colleges so each chapter was set up w
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, it is not a political memoir but more of a human, personal life story, I very much enjoyed the timbre of the book, the tales and heartfelt feelings that came with them. One line, "She left before I was done needing her", brought tears to my eyes as they totally expressed my feelings on the loss of my Mother. ...more
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, non-fiction, memoir
I'd flagged this book to read ages ago after reading about it somewhere, and I figured now is an especially timely! This was apparently only published in 2019 but feels like it was written much earlier than that, considering how much has changed since the publication. In here, Jill Biden writes about her life, how she met her husband and how they built a family together, and her life as his political career took off while she worked on her teaching career.

This was a fairly short read, so I supp
Kathy McC
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Marvelous read! I have no doubt she will be a wonderful first lady!

"There's something profoundly optimistic about teaching. We are taking the best that humans have to give-- lifetimes of knowledge, wisdom, craft, and art -- and handing it over to the next generation, with the hope that they will continue to build, continue to make our world better."

"So why do we do it? We do it for that spark in a student's eye when an idea falls into place. We do it for a moment when a student realizes she's c
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
An informative book by Jill Biden who I really didn’t know that much about. She is an accomplished English professor and loves to teach. She also loves her family and will make an excellent First Lady!
Carmi Cioni Podwojski
Glad to have read/audibl-ed this ahead of hearing Jill speak at WUSTL's She Leads conference TONIGHT! She was absolutely lovely in her narration of this book. HOWEVER –

I have many questions about Hunter and his crack usage / short-lived romance with Beau's widow / random fast marriage, etc. etc.

I will refrain from discussing all of the above at the conference.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful memoir read by the author that revealed a poignant intimacy of such a well known couple. Jill Biden is someone that every woman can relate to. From her childhood to 2016, she tells the story of an introverted woman who was fiercely independent but was willing to leave her comfort zone to support the man and family she loved. Her captivating prose is a reflection of her career as an educator specializing in English and literature. The chapter on her work with military families...both ...more
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An engaging, well-told story of an independent woman and how she formed a family and became its glue. I expected to be interested, but didn't expect to be immersed from start to finish. ...more
Stefanie Onieal
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Jill Biden feels like a friend. I love how she loves her family and her work. So grateful she’s our FLOTUS!
Tamara Evans
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Where the light enters” is an deeply personal, powerful and poignant journey of Jill Biden’s transformation from oldest daughter to second lady of the United States and grandmother. The book begins with Jill viewing a photo from her wedding day then reflecting on all the events that lead to where she is in her life.

This book is a story of Biden’s upbringing in a loving family, her educational journey as well as her romantic relationships. I was surprised to read that Biden had been married befo
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an unexpectedly charming book. Jill Biden grew up at the same time and in the same general part of suburban Philly as I did, so I could visualize a lot of times and places in her early life. I never quite realized that although I knew we were about the same age and from Phila. area. Many of our life experiences were almost identical. She must have written this shortly after the traumatic loss of Beau Biden, who sadly went way before his time, and her pain was palpable. There was so much ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this year of multiple candidates for president in the 2020 election I believe it is important to know as much as one can about the candidates, especially since the election of Trump. One way to discover who a person is can be found through the eyes of those around him. In this book we meet former second lady Jill Biden, learn of her life and her relationship with candidate Joe Biden. It was an interesting tale of a couple who have dealt with much adversity together, each always supporting the ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jill Biden writes a really nice comprehensive biography covering many facets of her life. I would also like to add, this is not a political themed book and I think anyone could appreciate an enjoy her story as a person. The book itself is not very long so its an easy to finish read.
I found the most memorable bits were her describing meeting & becoming friends with the Obamas, meeting Joe Biden (and his first wife!) early on in her college life at a campaign event, her respect of the memory of V
Julane Alt
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book just didn't do it for me. It was an easy read and finally really set up for me at the very end.

The numerous quotes by theologians, historians, etc. really disrupted the flow of the book for me. Also, the book was not chronological and skipped around time periods which made it difficult to follow who was who.

Dr. Jill Biden seems like a lovely person, but it just didn't come through in this book.

Recommend, but see the above..
Andrew Shaffer
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fast read, very much in tune with both of Joe’s memoirs—the Bidens have their family mottos and mythologies down pat. Makes you want to be adopted by their clan or at least anointed an honorary Biden!
Ampersand Inc.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jessica-s-reads
A behind the scenes and honest account from the former second lady.
Margie Middaugh
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting to get background on her life...just seemed a bit restrained in comparison to Michele's. ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not much to say... I like memoirs!
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Jill Biden is a community college professor and served as Second Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. During the Obama-Biden administration, she advocated for military families, community colleges, the fight against cancer, and the education of women and girls around the world. She continues this work today through the Biden Foundation, the Biden Cancer Initiative, and the Beau Biden Found ...more

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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