Book Review: Moving Forward by Karine Jean-Pierre

As my first review on Net Galley, I am feeling a great deal of pressure to get this right, but Karine Jean-Pierre has made my job much less difficult with her lovely memoir. Moving Forward focuses on her childhood in Queens and the daily work that is required of the eldest child of an immigrant couple, her own journey to naturalized citizenship, and her subsequent lively political and media career.

Sharing the same birth year I felt at one with Jean-Pierre as she traced her youth and early adulthood in the 1980s and 90s. She has a wonderful way with words and although our experiences are vastly different I was quite drawn in by the narrative. Her writing style helped me feel closer to her and the people in her universe. This is exactly what a good memoir should do.

Jean-Pierre’s retelling of aspects of her time in government, on various political campaigns and, ultimately, in the White House on the staff of President Obama, offers a clear and concise window into both the inner-workings of a campaign and the funny, sad, heart-wrenching, and joyous things that can happen along the way. It is by no means a comprehensive look at any one campaign, but the details she provided gave me just enough information to hold my continued interest.

I also greatly appreciated the additional information she provided on media awareness and specific news sources, pundits, and reporters that she feels are worthy of a readers time. Jean-Pierre has written this book to be used as somewhat of a manual for future politicos, explaining how she navigated that space through a successful career, but it is still quite a wonderful read for those of us that want to be involved at a more local level or just participate through our votes.

If you are looking for an interesting political memoir, Moving Forward is most definitely the book for you.

Huntsville Coffee Tour: Honest Coffee Roasters

Welcome back to the Huntsville Coffee Tour! The first location that we visited for the Huntsville Coffee tour was Honest Coffee Roasters. They provide excellent coffee and a pleasant atmosphere to hang out for a little while. When I was working part-time last year I spent a lot of my afternoons on my personal computer at Honest and they were always very welcoming. Being a busy location, though, has its downside. Sometimes it is impossible to get a seat inside. Luckily there are many locations for excellent coffee in the Huntsville area and in this series we are rating them all. For a refresher on the rating system, please see this previous post, Huntsville Coffee Tour. And now, here are the results for Honest Coffee Roasters:

  • Beverages = 8
  • Atmosphere = 10
  • Location/Hours = 10
  • Price = 15
  • Staff/Service = 20
  • Social Media = 20
  • Total = 83 out of a possible 165
  • Rating = 50.3%

Being the first location to get a rating, this doesn’t seem awful. We don’t believe that any of the coffeehouses in Huntsville will get 100%, but it remains to be seen if 50.3% is a good score. Once we have more scores in we will see!

And now for a detour into my thoughts on coffeehouse culture, in general, in 2019…

One of the things that I really miss about coffeehouses in Buffalo (in the 90s) was the social interaction that occurred within those walls. Political and cultural discussions were plentiful. Drinking copious amounts of caffeine and smoking real cigarettes indoors while playing mancala and discussing the news of the day was standard. Nothing compares to that time in history and I realize that. This is why I’m not comparing the coffeehouses of Huntsville to other cities or other times in coffeehouse culture history.

The 90s in most cities was a very different scene than we see today. Technology has changed the way we interact in public spaces. The proliferation of WiFi and the welcoming of individual tech by coffeehouses has given each patron the ability to exist in public space without interacting with other humans. This severely shifts the culture of what coffeehouses were meant to be. For the current generation, this is a welcome outcome, but for a GenXer, it can be super rough to integrate into this new way of being in public. Although – I am typing this in a coffeehouse right now, with my headphones on, so it seems that I have made the transition pretty well. I still yearn for the days of interacting with the baristas and arguing with professors stopping in for their cups of java between classes. I miss the times sitting on couches and just chatting with someone I never would have talked to otherwise. That time is gone, but we can look back with fondness.

Peace and happy caffeinating!

Chantale aka hippiegrrl

If you are interested in reading more about the Buffalo, NY coffee scene in the 90s, check out my articles on genXreactions.com:

Buffalo, Then (Part One)
Buffalo, Then (Part Two)