Speaking for Myself is the memoir of Cherie Blair, wife of ex-British prime minister Tony Blair. She provides a glimpse into life in British politics. What I like best is the sense you get of how much she loves her husband. She is also able to laugh at herself and her gaffes.
The book discusses the lack of privacy and the unrelenting pressure of being under constant scrutiny. From the clothes she wears to her hairdo, all are fodder for public discussion. I gave thanks after reading this book that I enjoy the freedom of being a non-famous person.
Who should read Speaking For Myself
Women trying to balance career and family
Working mothers will identify with juggling the demands of work and having young children at home. Cherie is the main breadwinner of the family, and has four children and a husband under extreme pressure. How she accomplishes this is a lesson for other women.
Spouses of leaders in society
It is lonely at the top, for the leader himself but also for the spouse. Having a husband busy solving the world’s problems requires spouses to be self-sufficient. You also need to feel a person in your own right instead of merely somebody’s wife. Cherie describes her desire for herself to be recognised as “having a brain and not just a husband.”
Quotes from Speaking For Myself
My favourite quote
“I felt proud of him then, and I feel proud of him now. I remembered the vulnerable young man I first met, who had just lost his mother, and the resilience and determination that took him all the way to Downing Street and across the globe. But more than anything, I am proud of what he has achieved for us as a family. We went in there together, saw our kids grow up and our family expand, and we had come out the other side still happy and united, all of us, in our different ways, coming to terms with the weight of ten years of experience, and looking forward to the next phase of our lives.” (page 405)
“For a quarter of a century we had been not only lovers but best friends. I always knew there would be things that Tony couldn’t talk about, but I also knew that he would never lie to me, which is why I was 100 percent behind him over Iraq.”
“There wasn’t one prime minister’s wife who hadn’t talked about how lonely it could be at Number 10, and I think this is particularly true for the Prime Minister himself. No matter how many advisers there are bringing up the rear, in the end everything rests with you.”
“The job itself was so demanding and tough, I was determined that – as a family – we would do everything we could to make it easier for him, and make home a haven when he needed just to be himself.” (page 343)
3 replies on “Speaking For Myself by Cherie Blair: Book Review”
Miss Thrifty, yes she came under a lot of flak for that, as well as for allowing photos of her children to be taken while saying she wanted their privacy to be respected. In the book she describes her mother and grandmother both having to work because their men weren’t bringing home enough bacon, and perhaps this fear that there was never enough and the concomitant need to work as a practical necessity is wired into her.
I don’t know her enough to judge. She may not be consistent all the time, but then again (and I say this with tongue fully in cheek), women tend not to be anyway! 😉
Yes, she wasn’t the most popular PM’s wife! A lot of people objected to the way she used her public position/name to embark on lucrative lecture tours and freeloading missions. It was at odds with her complaints about being forced into the public eye.
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