A Singular Woman

11 May
Ann Dunham and Barack Obama

Ann Dunham and Barack Obama

Tonight I attended an author event at Book Passage at the Ferry Building featuring Janny Scott, who spoke about her new biography of the President’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. A Singular Woman is an examination of the woman who was frequently reduced to the “white woman from Kansas” on the campaign trail.

Scott applies a journalist’s rigorous research skills and objectivity to the life of a woman who is very difficult to define.  I couldn’t help but think of the value of this biography to future biographers of President Obama.  Scott has spoken with the man who was the house servant in the home of the Soetoro family in Jakarta.When that man dies, his first person knowledge of the President’s childhood will be lost.  In compiling all of these accounts, she provides a useful resource for better understanding the woman who had the most influence on shaping her son’s outlook and character.

I’ll admit that I often found it hard to understand how a woman could separate herself from her young son and choose finishing her PHD over raising her son. But I’m not a mother, and I can’t even begin to fathom what it took for her to choose a stable environment and quality education for her son over being with him.  Sacrificing is what mothers do.  I am eager to read this book and read of what other qualities this singular woman possessed.

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