Larry H's Reviews > What Happened

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
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it was amazing

"Losing is hard for everyone, but losing a race you thought you would win is devastating."

I was one of many Americans watching the 2016 presidential election results come in, feeling shock, disbelief, horror, and utter disappointment as the realization that Hillary Clinton had been defeated began to sink in. I really thought, despite the last-minute bombshell dropped by now-former FBI Director James Comey regarding her emails, that she'd be able to prevail.

I honestly believed, as did Clinton and her staff, as well as polling organizations, political experts, and many media outlets, that despite the concerns so many had expressed about her character and her lack of trustworthiness, the idea of electing a person who had never held public office, one who (at least to me) clearly was unprepared for the presidency, would finally persuade people to cast their votes for Clinton.

As we know, the polls and many political experts and others were wrong, and Trump is now president. There were a lot of factors contributing to his victory—the never-ending email scandal being one significant one—but I still found it hard to understand just how a woman I felt was perhaps the most qualified individual ever to run for president could be defeated. (And as hard as it was for me and so many of Clinton's supporters to understand, I could only imagine how she must have felt!

What Happened is not only a powerful, first-hand account of the 2016 election and its aftermath from Clinton's viewpoint, but it's also a candid look at what convinced her to run for president again after losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. It's also an in-depth glimpse into Hillary the candidate, Hillary the former First Lady and dedicated public servant, Hillary the mother, wife, and daughter, Hillary the friend, and Hillary the person.

"I wear my composure like a suit of armor, for better or worse. In some ways, it felt like I had been training for this latest feat of self-control for decades."

While the book does tread on some familiar territory, it's pretty candid in sharing things you probably didn't know about Clinton. Not only does she share the emotion, despair, disappointment, and frustration she felt when she lost, but she also shares how she felt being vilified as horribly as she was during the campaign, going from being the most-admired woman in America when she left her position as Secretary of State to being followed by people chanting "Lock her up" and pictures of her in prison clothes. She doesn't go into great depth about the challenges to her marriage through the years, but she does touch on the struggles she had, and how she addressed her questions and her fears.

Some have questioned why Clinton wrote this book, and immediately assumed she would point fingers at everyone other than herself as factors contributing to her defeat. While she does discuss the impact of many factors—from Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein's participation in the 2016 race to the imbalanced media coverage she received, as well as Trump's oversized persona—she reserves the largest amount of blame for herself.

"On the campaign trail, I offered ideas that I believed would address many of the underlying causes of discontent and help make life better for all Americans. But I couldn't—and wouldn't—compete to stoke people's rage and resentment. I think that's dangerous. It helps leaders who want to take advantage of that rage to hurt people rather than help them. Besides, it's just not how I'm wired. Maybe that's why Trump was now delivering the inaugural address and I was sitting in the crowd."

At times, the book gets a little too in-depth in areas of policy, as Clinton shares those issues which are most important to her and how she feels America could move forward. She also discusses areas she believes Democrats need to focus on in upcoming elections if they want to be successful.

But what makes What Happened so good is the raw emotion Clinton imbues it with. I read the book, I didn't listen to the audio version, but I could still hear her voice narrating it, and there were times when the things she said really choked me up. I can't imagine what it must be like to come so close to achieving a goal you spent nearly eight years of your life tirelessly pursuing, not to mention the disappointment you felt about letting your supporters down, but this book evoked those emotions so powerfully. She also wasn't afraid to show glimpses of her sense of humor and the generosity of her spirit.

I remember how disappointed I felt the night the election results came in, how I struggled to reconcile the country Trump and his supporters saw from the one I did. But if Hillary Clinton can persevere, I know I can.

"Things are going to be hard for a long time. But we are going to be okay. All of us."

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
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Reading Progress

October 5, 2017 – Started Reading
October 5, 2017 – Shelved
October 7, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 71 (71 new)


Ashley Awesome review, Larry!!!


message 2: by LaDonna (new) - added it

LaDonna I love the review, Larry!! Initially, I said that I was not going to even consider reading this book because I was not interested in finger pointing and passing the blame. However, What Happened sounds like something I should experience for myself.


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Terrific review Lar! This book has been all over my feed lately. I hope to read this at some point. I love your thoughts! Thanks for a wonderful review! Glad this delivered! 😊


Dana Wonderful review! I’ve been listening to the audio...when I have a chance - It’s been a crazy month! I enjoy hearing it in her own voice. ...and yes, I have choked up, too, especially in the beginning. Thanks for sharing.


Lynn Fantastic review! I really enjoyed this book too, although I hated why she had to write it. Wish it started with her acceptance speech.


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Absolutely wonderful review, Larry! I listened to part of the book, twice. I'm not ready for it yet. I love your last quote and I sure hope she is right.


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Cabus I was reluctant to read this one. If I was a patriotic, politically optimistic person in my youth, time and experience have now led me to be cynical (if you asked me today what good politicians do for us I would be hard pressed to think of anything; they seem to just take their salary and any other kickbacks they find lying around). I thought Hillary was of high experience and high intelligence, and would have made a good president. I could use something to restore my faith in politics. This seems to have a hopeful end note. Could be good medicine. Thanks for your review!


Emily So glad to read this review! I’ve had trouble gathering my emotions enough to get through even the first few pages but I know it’s worth it.


message 9: by Esil (last edited Oct 09, 2017 07:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil Such an excellent review, Larry. I just started this one as an audio. It's so good. I don't know how she pulled herself together to write this.


message 10: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Terrific review, Larry. The worst outcome I could imagine. I’ve been depressed and disgusted since November!


message 11: by Navidad (new) - added it

Navidad Thélamour Fantastic review, Larry! As soon as I saw this title next to your name, I knew I had to read this review! :) Can't wait to read this one! I, too, was shocked and horrified on that fateful night last November.


Dennis I realllyyyyy need to read this. I might pick it up to mourn 1 year with President Cheeto.


message 13: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Loved your review!


message 14: by debra (new)

debra Wonderful review, Larry!


message 15: by Marie (new)

Marie Great review, Larry!


Susanne Strong Amazing review Larry! This is a deeply personal and impactful memoir. I am so glad that you felt it's weight and power as much as I did. I too, wish things were different, but like you said, if Secretary Clinton can go on, so can we.


message 17: by Purple Country (new)

Purple Country Girl (Sandy) Fantastic review, Larry!


message 18: by Jaline (new) - added it

Jaline Fabulous review, Larry. Your review almost had me in tears - and I'm Canadian ferhevvinssakes. Nevertheless, we all are in this boat called "Aftermath" together.


message 19: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn Great review, Larry! I’m next in line for the audiobook from the library. Can’t wait.


message 20: by Sherril (new)

Sherril Larry, thank you for your review of Hillary's book. I've heard her any number of times as she's made the rounds promoting the book, but reading your reactions to it was perhaps even more meaningful since I reacted as you did to the election results.


message 21: by Pattie (new)

Pattie Larry - your review is fabulous and so heartfelt.


message 22: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro This period of introspection, soul-searching and division might unfortunately last for years, as will the ramifications of Brexit (agh!) this side of the pond.
Nice review, Larry.


Larry H Ashley wrote: "Awesome review, Larry!!!"

Thanks, Ashley!!


Larry H LaDonna wrote: "I love the review, Larry!! Initially, I said that I was not going to even consider reading this book because I was not interested in finger pointing and passing the blame. However, What Happened so..."

Thanks, LaDonna! I was going to pass on this, too, initially. There's definitely blame to go around, but she does take the lion's share of it. It's just a really powerful book I'm glad I read now.


Larry H Lindsay wrote: "Terrific review Lar! This book has been all over my feed lately. I hope to read this at some point. I love your thoughts! Thanks for a wonderful review! Glad this delivered! 😊"

Thanks so much, Linds! Yeah, it was a tough one for me, but it's surprisingly well-written...and I can only imagine how hard it was to write!!


Larry H Dana wrote: "Wonderful review! I’ve been listening to the audio...when I have a chance - It’s been a crazy month! I enjoy hearing it in her own voice. ...and yes, I have choked up, too, especially in the beginn..."

Thanks, Dana! I'll bet hearing it in her own voice must be so great...and so difficult! I don't know how she did it!!


Larry H Lynn wrote: "Fantastic review! I really enjoyed this book too, although I hated why she had to write it. Wish it started with her acceptance speech."

Thanks so much, Lynn! I agree with you completely. Still makes me sick to my stomach.


Larry H Jennifer wrote: "Absolutely wonderful review, Larry! I listened to part of the book, twice. I'm not ready for it yet. I love your last quote and I sure hope she is right."

Thanks so much, Jennifer! I didn't know if I was ready either. Once I got past the initial chapters the sadness abated a little, although my heart still hurts. I hope she is right, too, but I do think it will be a long, long time.


Larry H Michael wrote: "I was reluctant to read this one. If I was a patriotic, politically optimistic person in my youth, time and experience have now led me to be cynical (if you asked me today what good politicians do ..."

Michael, thanks so much! I couldn't agree with you more. I was an idealist for a time as well, but the system is enough to break anyone of that. I am disgusted with the party-over-country mentality I see these days. But what struck me is the fact that despite the fact she can't believe she lost (and to whom), and she believes there were many factors contributing to that loss she couldn't control, she still has respect for the transition of power, which wouldn't have been said of her opponent had she won.


Larry H Emily wrote: "So glad to read this review! I’ve had trouble gathering my emotions enough to get through even the first few pages but I know it’s worth it."

Emily, it's definitely worth it. And it gets better after the first few chapters. Sort of. :)


Larry H Esil wrote: "Such an excellent review, Larry. I just started this one as an audio. It's so good. I don't know how she pulled herself together to write this."

Thanks so much, Esil! I agree completely. And I can't believe she does the audio, too...it's one thing to write the words, but to say them out loud? She has even more of my respect.


Larry H Angela M wrote: "Terrific review, Larry. The worst outcome I could imagine. I’ve been depressed and disgusted since November!"

Thanks, Angela! I've been in a rage since the GOP convention, honestly (although looking back on my Facebook memories it seems even longer), but November was horrifying. What might have been...


Larry H Navidad wrote: "Fantastic review, Larry! As soon as I saw this title next to your name, I knew I had to read this review! :) Can't wait to read this one! I, too, was shocked and horrified on that fateful night las..."

Thanks, Navi! I hope you enjoy it, too! It's just so powerful. And painful, because you think about where we could be as a nation right now as opposed to where we are. Sigh...


Larry H Dennis wrote: "I realllyyyyy need to read this. I might pick it up to mourn 1 year with President Cheeto."

Oh, lord, Dennis, please don't say he'll make it a year! :)


Larry H Stacey wrote: "Loved your review!"

Thanks, Stacey!


Larry H debra wrote: "Wonderful review, Larry!"

Thanks so much, debra!


Larry H Marie wrote: "Great review, Larry!"

Thanks, Marie!!


Larry H Susanne wrote: "Amazing review Larry! This is a deeply personal and impactful memoir. I am so glad that you felt it's weight and power as much as I did. I too, wish things were different, but like you said, if Sec..."

Thanks so much, Susanne! Your review convinced me I had to read it now, and I'm so glad I did, even though it made me sad.


Larry H Purple Country wrote: "Fantastic review, Larry!"

Thanks so much, Sandy!


Larry H Jaline wrote: "Fabulous review, Larry. Your review almost had me in tears - and I'm Canadian ferhevvinssakes. Nevertheless, we all are in this boat called "Aftermath" together."

Thanks, Jaline! We are all in it together...although I wouldn't mind suffering through the aftermath with a leader like you all have!! :)


Larry H Dawn wrote: "Great review, Larry! I’m next in line for the audiobook from the library. Can’t wait."

Thanks, Dawn! Hope you enjoy it...I'd imagine the audiobook is even more powerful!


Larry H Sherril wrote: "Larry, thank you for your review of Hillary's book. I've heard her any number of times as she's made the rounds promoting the book, but reading your reactions to it was perhaps even more meaningful..."

Thanks so much, Sherril! I've avoided listening to her talk about the book because I wanted the impact of reading it. I hope people realize she's so much more than what the media has portrayed her as all these years.


Larry H Pattie wrote: "Larry - your review is fabulous and so heartfelt."

Wow, thanks so much, Pattie!


Larry H Kevin wrote: "This period of introspection, soul-searching and division might unfortunately last for years, as will the ramifications of Brexit (agh!) this side of the pond.
Nice review, Larry."


Kevin, I agree completely! I just hope our world can sustain all of the ramifications, because sometimes I worry we might not survive. Sigh...

Thanks!!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Excellent review Larry!


message 46: by Choko (new)

Choko Wonderful review!


message 47: by Larry (last edited Oct 10, 2017 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Larry H Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Excellent review Larry!"

Thanks so much, Mary!!


Larry H Choko wrote: "Wonderful review!"

Thanks, Choko!


message 49: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson I agree, Larry. A truly long time, unfortunately. I will have to suck it up and get to this soon. :)


message 50: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great review, Larry!!


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