Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
August 2017
Fred's Rating: 
Al Franken
Total Pages: 
Hachette Book Group

Al Franken, Harvard College grad, received his “doctorate in right-wing megalomania studies from Trump University.” He has represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate since 2009. This gift book was a NYT bestseller.

Amazon’s website for the hardcover edition I was given is

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this books' covers at the website above.]

The home page has a good summary (click on ‘Read more’) to read all of it. Use Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ option and scroll down to the 2-pp Contents. With 47 chapters, you should expect short single-purpose chapters – they make this book hard to put down, for often his last words in a chapter point you to the next chapter. After reading this summary, recall the last words and answer the question by looking at the book’s cover. Does his appearance fit with a poker face (see more about a poker face below). If you said yes, then ask yourself what is the purpose of his hand on the globe.

Note that the contents up to Chapter 23 are his biographical and pre-Senator life review. Their titles are well chosen. Chapter 24 – I Actually Became a Senator – begins after the months-long delay due to his Republican opponent’s refusal to accept the initial vote count. This delay gave Al Franken a special one-Senator only swearing in since he didn’t have to share the stage with the other (winning without endless recalls) Senators.

The Amazon preview of the hardcover edition contains all of the 4-pp Foreword and all of the 5-pp Chapter 1 – Why I’m a Democrat. This is enough to see and appreciate his easy and smooth writing style. If you want to read more, go to the Kindle edition, for it has all of the 11-pp Chapter 2 – How I became a Comedian – and the first half of the 9-pp Chapter 3 – Saturday Night Live (Not the Drug Part). Chapter 2 alone is worth reading online. But just half of Chapter 3 may make you hungry for the rest of the chapter.

If you recall Franken’s previous life, as a comic who especially loves satire, you will understand what it means not to have to share the stage with others. As the Contents reveal, many of the chapters before Chapter 24 deal with his entry into politics for the State of Minnesota – all of the people – for he didn’t limit his approach to any special group within Minnesota – for he appealed in person to all these folks.

But Al Franken had to learn to limit his comical and satirical personality to informal one-on-one meetings with both Democratic and Republican Senators. In public settings, which includes the Senate floor as well as committee and sub-committee meetings, he learned to present a poker face to show respect for a speaker – not eye-rolling, grimaces, and body language to express his normal reaction to absurd or false words. The respect a Senator had to show in public is a big change in his well-developed comical and satirical facial and body language that he had built up in his past life. Having an expressional poker face was a hard but quickly learned reaction for the first-time Senator. But he made plans for one-on-one meetings within the Senate. When he heard or learned by trial and error what type of humor best appealed to another Senator, he would use this to become a friend, sometimes a good friend, with other Senators, who would then be much more willing to co-sponsor a bill with Senator Al Franken. Many of the chapters after Chapter 24 describe the importance of his friend making.

I found this book hard to put down. I enjoyed it more than I did the only other book I’ve read by him: Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations. In this new book he covers much more ground and has done it in short chapters. I enjoyed this book enough to rate it at five stars. Enjoy!