The Further Perils of Memoir

February 25, 2010 § 1 Comment


From The Washington Post:

Kathleen Rooney, a staffer for Sen. Dick Durbin, was fired earlier this month after the release of her latest book, “For You, for You I Am Trilling These Songs.” The autobiographical essays include three chapters about working in a Senate office: insider gossip, staff secrets and a complicated flirtation between the author and her boss, Durbin’s state director in Illinois.

Rooney, 29, has always blended politics and writing. She started as a summer intern in the Democratic senator’s Chicago office in 1999, worked two more summers, then returned full time as a Senate aide in 2007. Along the way, the GW grad published four other books: “Reading With Oprah,” two collections of poetry and a memoir about working as an artist’s model.

The prose hit the fan after Joe Shoemaker, Durbin’s spokesman, saw a short review of the essay collection last month in The Washington Post and bought the book.

“She was a low-level staffer who wasn’t paid very much,” he told us. “She was trying to make a name for herself in literary circles. The office wasn’t going to stand in her way in furthering her career as long as she was able to do her job for us.” He knew about an upcoming novel, but said he had no idea about the essays.

Although no one was named, Shoemaker was disturbed that she had written about the office and especially concerned about the relationship between Rooney and her supervisor: “Once upon a time there was a girl in unrequitable (but not unrequited) love with her boss,” she wrote. “He would place his hand at the base of her neck, or flick her earring, or twist a strand of her hair…”

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§ One Response to The Further Perils of Memoir

  • Obviously, Ms. Rooney wasn’t interested in pursuing a political career. She’s a writer. As long as she doesn’t libel someone, her own life–and everyone in it–is fair game. That’s what makes writers dangerous people. If you can capture the reader’s imagination, illuminate the human condition, or simply delight, you can succeed. Well, usually. Rooney is very talented. I hope she’s also really, really tough!

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