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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life.

Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life. by Anotonia Felix is a new biography out on Senator Elizabeth Warren, and this one focuses specifically on Sen. Warren’s work and how she came to be such a staunch consumer advocate. 

Elizabeth grew up in Oklahoma, the middle-class daughter of two parents who tried to give her and their three sons a “regular” life. That was until her father suffered health issues and her family went into financial dire straits. Her mother, who didn’t believe women should work unless it was necessary, went to Sears and took a job to keep her family above water. Elizabeth fought her tooth and nail to go to college. From there, to now, was a long road full of gusto, grit, and gumption. 

This biography was overall fantastic in that it provided me, the reader, with an intelligent yet accessible summary of Sen. Warren’s work in bankruptcy law. It’s a complicated subject, and one that is easy to tune out of when in books due to a lack of comprehension. I am one smart cookie, but I get bored when I can’t understand. The big advantage this book has is that Felix breaks down complicated legal concepts for the average reader. She does an incredible job — I now have a much stronger understanding of Sen. Warren’s work and why she is the advocate she is today. 

Elizabeth, always a bright and intelligent child, gave up on college early to marry her first husband. Reading this I wanted to scream into the book, “NOOOOO STOOOOOOPPPP.” We know how brilliant she is and where she is going, so it would all turn out fine, but it broke my feminist heart to watch her make this decision for the reasons she made it. It was important to me to read her story and understand how she became the lawyer and advocate that she is. 

One particular note of importance here is that Felix has done an incredible job of making Sen. Warren’s research and academic work on bankruptcy research accessible for the masses. It still wasn’t simple, but it was laid out clearly in layman’s terms so that we can understand the how and they why of the senator’s academic trajectory. It was so clear, in fact, that I’m going to keep this book to reference it when I need a jolt remembering Sen. Warren’s work and the reasoning behind it. 

Felix has painted an incredibly empathetic portrait of Sen. Warren, and I might have been easily swayed if I were less of a skeptic. I happen to be a fan of Sen. Warren as a woman, an academic, and a politician. I also would expect nothing less out of her biographer than praise. However, at times — most notably the final notes of the book — Felix is a little starry-eyed when writing about the senator. It’s not enough to be bothersome, but it is something that I noticed while wrapping up the book. 

I have already recommended this book three times and I just finished it. It’s well worth a read about the woman behind the watchdog. 

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