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BOOK REVIEW Rachel Maddow: A Neowonk Guide to the Leftist, Lesbian Pundit
by Christine Badowski
2009-07-22

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Written by Xander Cricket. $13.69; CreateSpace; 65 pages.

I wanted to write this review in the third person, to convey a book review in the way it should be. After some thought, this is better told in a truthful first person.

I have been a fan of Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show since the start. I enjoyed her on Air America, but let's face it: she's not bad to look at. There's more than her intelligence that caused me to originally tune into the show. Yet, I ultimately stuck around because, as The Advocate deemed her, "the smartest person on TV" does makes you think about the world in which you live and explains the political world in a way no one else really does.

So imagine my heart-palpitating excitement when I heard there was a book out about Maddow. I had to get my hands on a copy. There was this hope that in some way, it would deliver something in the way I misheard a promo for Maddow's show when they announced "embedded video" now on the MSNBC site. ( Yes, "embedded" is definitely different from "in bed" video. )

When the UPS man knocked on the door with the large book-size book, I was ready for what "brown could do for me." Then I opened the box. This tiny book plopped down on the dining-room table right next to the current issue of People magazine. The only way I could tell them apart was that the book was smaller and thinner.

Being a good-hearted and open lesbian, I chose not to trust the book by its cover and looked inside. Nine—yes, nine—pages of annotated notes in the back give it away. This is not a book; this is a college paper about Maddow's rise to fame with a really nice, expensive shiny paper cover.

Trust me when I say there is nothing new is this book. If you've ever watched MSNBC; Googled Maddow or her partner Susan Mikula; or read any magazine article about either of them, you've read this book. Quotes are completely taken from other sources and noted throughout. Even information about Maddow's early days in California is all taken from other sources. And forget about being able to justify the purchase because you can ogle at some good pictures of Maddow. There's not one in the book.

It's pretty clear that author Xander Cricket, self-described as an Oklahoman writer who travels the world profiling people of influence, is out to make some cash off of Maddow's fame without having to do any of the leg work or phone calling to get information. It's too bad. It would be nice to get some new insider information about Maddow to learn more about what really makes her tick. I'd like to hear more about how she narrows down her diverse amount of knowledge and gets it focused into a one-hour show every day. Believe me; it's harder than one would think.

If you don't know a thing about Maddow, go ahead and toss down the $10 or more for this book. It's a good primer for watching her MSNBC show.

Upcoming on Cricket's schedule is another book, a biography of Glenn Beck. It's yet another time I feel sorry for Beck's followers.

Christine Badowski is a Web content specialist by trade and a freelance writer who spent 10 years as a television writer/producer before making the transition to online work.


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