First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Will Haskell, Avid Reader Press, and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Always a sucker for a unique political memoir, this book by Will Haskell caught my attention from the title alone. After the election of Donald Trump, Will Haskell, a university senior, knew he wanted to help change the system. He turned to what he knew best, his home state of Connecticut, and began a journey to unseat a long-time state senator. His hope was to show that young people (all of 22 at the time) do care and could make a difference. This memoir is his way of showing how change can come from an idea and short time in office. A great piece and easy to digest, showings that grassroots change is possible with enough passion!
While Will Haskell had always been around politics, he did not give it much thought. He knew that the winds of change were coming, but could not foresee the hurricane of Trump or the destruction that it would bring to America. While still in university at Georgetown, Haskell thought back to some of the comments made by President Obama before he left office and how change would only come by doing something. Cue the interest in being a part of that change.
Discovering that there was a state senate election on the horizon back home in Connecticut, Haskell began bandying around the idea of running for the Democrats to unseat a long-time Republican. Of note, this was a politician who began her service before Haskell was born. It would be monumental, but it was something that Haskell knew would evoke the change he sought. Armed with a small purse and a great deal of gumption, Haskell began making waves and shaking hands, receiving some harsh and sobering advice along the way. However, he did not let it deter him, as his campaign got off the ground and his ideas became key coffee chat topics around his district.
While winning on Election Day was grand, it was only the beginning of a steep learning curve. Haskell recounts some of the major stumbling blocks facing him when he arrived in Hartford, the state capital, as well as how business in the statehouse made for messy work representing constituents. Haskell informs the reader throughout of the struggles to have a voice, get ideas on paper, and push them through to the governor’s desk, even with a majority of Democrats at the helm. He explores the great difference between wanting change and making it happen, while juggling budgets, constant requests, and the shadow of the Federal Government. Through it all, he pushes that idealism is the fuel for change and that anyone, no matter their age, can make a difference if they want it badly enough.
While I have long held a passion for politics, I appreciate my sidelines position. Will Haskell explores some of the great grassroots aspects to politics and how one voice can and will make a difference, given the chance. His writing is real and yet not sloppy, giving the reader a great narrative as they follow along through this unique journey for all to see. I loved the honesty that each chapter brought, as well as the brevity, helping me push through the memoir with ease. There are great themes that emerge throughout, even as politics has taken a dark turn for many over the last number of years. Haskell provides hope for young people who feel they want to make a difference without getting too preachy. I will have to keep my eye out to see how things go for Haskell, as he makes politics intriguing and shows that passion can fuel action, given the right push!
Kudos, Mr. Haskell, for a great political memoir. You show that grassroots need not be a bad thing and that passion is no longer a pipe dream to success!