Promise Me, Dad Review
By Shreeya Aranke, Communications Director
“May 30, 7:51 p.m. It happened. My God, my boy. My beautiful boy,” Former Vice President Joe Biden wrote in his journal entry, the day his son, former Attorney General of Delaware, Beau Biden passed away from a Stage IV glioblastoma.
Human Joe Biden. The title of Politician came second in the former vice president’s memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.
The book runs in two zones: one in the political life of Biden, and another in his personal life. One where he was making decisions on dealing with foreign policy crises, and another where his eldest son was battling a deadly brain tumor. The real beauty of this book lies in Biden’s ability to seamlessly tie these two together. He gives the readers a glimpse into his mind when experiencing the stressful duties of the vice president alongside the knowledge that his eldest son was battling a pernicious brain disease.
The book is not a sob story. On the contrary, Biden describes his son’s never-failing optimism. “All good. All good,” Beau would say, when he was facing early symptoms such as fatigue and loss of memory.
The memoir notes Beau’s selflessness. In the face of a brutal disease, the vice president writes how his son wanted to make sure that Joe Biden would be ok, no matter what happens.
“But Dad look at me,” Beau said. “Look at me. I’m going to be okay no matter what happens. I’m going to be ok. I promise you…But you’ve got to promise me, Dad, that no matter what happens, you’re going to be alright.”
Biden also narrates the carefully thought out decision on whether or not to take part in the 2016 presidential election. His other son, Hunter, said that he believed that giving the family a purpose, would make them stronger.
The memoir also gives details into the friendship between Biden and the president–how they met, what their daily conversations were about, and how Beau’s diagnosis affected their relationship. Biden also talks about President Obama’s thoughts on a Biden 2020 presidential bid.
Biden also dedicates a couple chapters on crucial policy decisions at the time of Beau’s battle. He talks about his own political achievements, and moments of his goodwill. In a way, the book could be seen as a political book and a stepping stone for a 2020 campaign, but I wouldn’t go so far.
Promise Me, Dad showcases the human behind the politician. Throughout the book, Biden uses poems and stories from his life, showing readers what he means when he says that “all politics is personal.” The word “personal” is one that defines the essence of the book–a book about family, politics, and Beau Biden.
Image: Twitter/Joe Biden