You’ve probably heard that Hillary Clinton’s memoir, What Happened, contains a lot of long-winded analysis of the role various people and events played in the candidate’s disastrous campaign outcome. Well, yeah. But what we’re not hearing as much about are the good parts of the book.
1. She almost didn’t go to the inauguration.
Since it seemed like there was a good chance she’d be booed, humiliated, or—as Trump had promised his followers!—locked up, and on top of that, it was raining, she wondered if she could just skip it. But after she called the Bushes and the Carters and found out they were going, she sucked it up. A particularly satisfying moment came when George W. Bush muttered his reaction to the “American carnage” inauguration speech. “That was some weird shit,” he said.
2. The woman has a wicked sense of humor.
When Mitt Romney was trailing in the polls, lambasted for driving with his dog in a crate on his roof rack, and suspected of planning to defund PBS, Hillary Clinton photoshopped a picture of him driving down the road with Big Bird strapped to his car and sent it to him. “To cheer him up,” she says.
3. She’s a panda, and she has just had to accept that.
Before launching into a description of her diet and beauty routines on the campaign trail, she explains the Panda Principle advanced by her advisor Philippe Reines about the level of interest in these matters. “Pandas just live their lives. They eat bamboo. They play with their kids. But for some reason, people love watching pandas, waiting for something—anything—to happen.” So when she goes to a Chipotle, for example, it’s covered like an alien landing.
When she goes to a Chipotle, for example, it’s covered like an alien landing
4. She loves chile peppers…
She puts fresh jalapenos in her scrambled egg whites, orders pizza with sliced japs, and carries a bottle of hot sauce on the road. She recommends Ninja Squirrel Sriracha and, from Belize, Marie Sharp’s. The woman knows her capsaicin.
5. … and her martinis!
Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards turned her on to Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which she describes as the pride of Austin. She likes it as cold as they can make it, with olives.
6. When Anna Wintour speaks, Hillary listens.
After seeing her at an event in New York, the editor of Vogue suggested Hillary stop trying to do her own makeup. Now she has her face put on by Wintour’s personal pick, Melissa Silver, who also does the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
7. Being a woman in the public eye is not for sissies.
While her male colleagues shower, shave, put on a suit, and walk out the door, Hillary has calculated that she spent 625 hours—25 days!—in hair and makeup on the campaign trail.
8. The pantsuits are there for a reason.
“They helped me avoid the peril of being photographed up my skirt while sitting on the stage or climbing stairs, both of which happened to me as First Lady.
9. In debate prep sessions, she practiced evading a possible Trump attempt to hug, kiss, or even—after the Access Hollywood tape—shake her hand.
No explanation required.
10. She loves Bill Clinton.
“No matter how I’d spent the day, I always called Bill before falling asleep. … We’ve had many, many more happy days than sad or angry ones. … I still think he’s one of the most handsome men I’ve ever met. … I love him with my whole heart.” You won’t get through this book without believing that despite everything, these two have a profound, loving, and life-defining relationship.
“We’ve had many, many more happy days than sad or angry ones,” she says.
11. She sees an important difference between sexism and misogyny.
When she was a still a high school senior, a professor at Harvard Law School told her, “We don’t need any more women at Harvard.” That’s sexism. She defines it even further as, “All the big and little ways society draws a box around women and says, stay in there.” Misogyny is something darker: rage, disgust, hatred. Calling a woman names simply because she’s successful. “Trump that bitch,” for example. Both, she says, are endemic in America.
12. The most moving part of the book is the author bio in the back.
“Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in U.S. history to become the presidential nominee of a major party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State, First Lady and Senator. She is a wife, mother and grandmother.”
Yes she did, and yes she is. Full stop.