Suellentrop's book review of John Edwards' memoir of Four Trials
in his previous career as a trial lawyer is a little odd--after a damning-with-faint-praise opening:
"On the plus side, it's affecting if a little bit corny, and in parts it's enthralling. But it's also thin on policy, focused on a past that bears little relation to the candidate's merits, and filled with eye-rolling paeans to the virtues and dignity of "regular people." And like the Edwards campaign, it's headed for the remainder bin before you know it."
Suellentrop summarizes the News in the book, which is that Edwards finally, if briefly, talks about the death of his 16-year old son Wade 7 years ago. (He would have been my age, the same as many of my friends.) I had never even heard of this before, so perhaps it was the surprise factor, but I found the rest of the review moving and enticing. It seems obvious that this tragedy helped propel Edwards into public life, and at the same time admirable that he has not milked it. I have to wonder if the top of the review was a mild and political example of what Heidi Julavits calls Snark
, or at least a weak cousin of it--dissing for the sake of dissing.