Book Review: The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson

The President is MissingTHE PRESIDENT IS MISSING. Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t like James Patterson. Oh, he started out pretty good–I enjoyed some of his earlier works when he was writing his own stuff. Then he became the Master Money Machine and well, you know the rest of the story. Ghosting, partnerships, series that he had the idea for and others implemented. Not that I’m jealous, mind. Hey, someday I, too, will be a multi-millionaire with zillions of best sellers to my credit.

I don’t like Bill Clinton, either. And that’s because of his questionable White House ethics, not because he isn’t brilliant, which I happen to think he is.

So I was really prepared to trash this book when to my surprise, I found I did like it after all! I think these two had fun collaborating to create this instant best-seller, similar to the Rat Pack making the first OCEANS ELEVEN movie in Las Vegas. And that esprit de corps shows.

There are the skills of Patterson, with his masterful sense of pacing and his one-page chapters. The book is tailor-made for Hollywood and I’ll not be surprised if it appears in the theaters one of these fine days. The book has all sorts of action-packed adventures and is full of car crashes, helicopters, and mysterious passages. Oh, yeah.

But the real highlights of this book are the pieces of authenticity that only Clinton as a past president (the real kind) could add. The in-fighting in a Senate hearing. The true anguish when a president must give an order that gets someone killed.

If you read nothing else in the book, don’t skip Chapter 128. (Which comes after the one-page Chapter 127 and the half-page Chapter 126.) This is the President’s (Clinton’s?) address to the nation explaining the real cyber-danger the country finds itself in. It runs nine dense pages (proving Clinton wrote it, not Patterson!) and outlines what our country is capable of being.

“The American dream works when our common humanity matters more than our interesting differences and when together they create endless possibilities. That’s an America worth fighting–even dying–for. And, more important, it’s an America worth living and working for.”

To which I say, Amen.

I hope that these two write another book or two together. Clinton brings out the best in Patterson’s writing, and Patterson creates a venue where Clinton’s intelligence can still be heard.

I gave it four stars instead of five because of uneven editing. The two voices could blend together better.

Who ever said life would be easy?

Agathla Rock

I’d looked forward to seeing the immense rock on the Navajo Reservation near Kayenta, Arizona. I wasn’t disappointed. This volcanic monolith rises over 1500 feet, straight up.

Agaathla Peak, meaning “much wool” in the Navajo language, is so named because of the tufts of deer and sheep wool caught in its sharp rock edges and deep crevices. In the summer with the thunderheads building, there is nothing more beautiful. The eagle was lagniappe.

Then I got to wondering. Had ever anyone climbed to the very top? If I asked a Navajo wise man, he would probably look at me as though I’d lost what few brains I had left and shake his head. “Bilagaana,” he’d mutter.

You’re probably on the right track if it’s uphill.
~ Anonymous ~

 

Barreling along

barrel cactus

This is a commercially planted group of golden barrel cactus, also known as mother-in-law cushions. I know this because no self-respecting barrel would choose to grow this close to another, just like a wise mother-in-law (without the thorns)!

Barrels have a single blossom in the spring. You can see the remains here. What I like is their representation of both the short-term represented by the fading blossoms and the long-term potential of life. Living beings often grow slowly in the desert, taking time to put down roots. Under the right conditions, barrels live to be over a hundred years old.

These cacti remind me that we do not need a reason to exist–sometimes it is okay to just sit there and look beautiful.

Observe the space between your thoughts.
Then observe the observer.
~ Hamilton Bordeaux