** Pardon the excessive use of the colon, above. **
With the United States General Election on the immediate horizon, I felt it poignant to take a little while to look at this BookShot, a rare non-fiction piece edited by James Patterson and Denise Roy. It is entirely direct quotes made by the presidential candidates of both major parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Patterson and Roy divide the quotes into themes and then further break them down into smaller and more digestible sub-topics, all for the reader to synthesise. By offering their context, the reader can sometimes better place what is meant or considered by each snippet. Exploring these numerous topics, Patterson mentions in his editorial preface that he hopes to provide those who read this piece a better idea of those for whom they might cast a ballot on November 8, 2016. The world will be watching, though it is unclear if this collection will purify the waters at all.
Without delving too deeply, the academic in me must offer a few caveats to this collection. First and foremost, quotes can be highly misconstrued when they are taken out of context. Anyone reading one-liners can develop a certain view of any person, which might not reflect who they are as a person. Should anyone choose to cut and paste a number of the phrases I use in book reviews alone, I could really be in trouble with the outside world. It is all about context. Secondly, the editor’s pen and cutting room floor must not be taken out of the equation. While I am not trying to vilify Patterson or Roy, their personal viewpoints will bleed through the quotes they wish to include in this collection, as well as those whose impact were left as scraps or afterthoughts. No sane person can read or listen to every possible sound byte or piece of writing that relates to these two candidates. Therefore, the reader is expected to place their trust in the editors that the collection is comprehensive, which is impossible to do. Lastly, one can only wonder if this collection will sway anyone. It is quite well presented and offers some key aspects of what the electorate ought to think about as it relates to a Commander-in-Chief, but I would be remiss if I felt this was the ultimate guide that all Americans ought to read ahead of casting their ballot. It is more entertainment for those who wish to approach it. Whoever is chosen on November 8th, they will have much to do and I can almost guarantee the mud will fly, even after one side concedes to the other.
Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madame Roy for this collection. I cannot offer praise, for it does not lend itself to being persuasive one way or the other. That said, your dedication in gathering these quotes deserves at least a small golf clap.