The true story of how Rachel Johnson - born into one of Britain's most famous political families - tries and fails to get elected in the 2019 hard-fought effort to stop Brexit, running against her older brother, Boris, and what she learns in the process about politics, ambition, family, marriage, and winning and losing.
I should have loathed this book, but I’m afraid I loved it. It is sheer gossipy joy, the perfect escape from a fug of coronavirus anxiety, yet with just enough dark espresso jolt beneath the froth to satisfy ... There is something gloriously refreshing about an account of political failure in which nobody is trying to excuse or hide the buttock-clenching awfulness of it ... There is a sadder storyline occasionally struggling to get out, about the feeling of having compromised one’s own ambitions for motherhood and promptly been leapfrogged by men who did not ... Yet she is smart enough to know that this is all more palatable as high farce than impossibly gilded tragedy. The book isn’t perfect, obviously – she’s a terrible name-dropper, forever referencing what her doubles partner David Cameron said at tennis, and the galloping speed at which it must have been written sometimes shows. But reading it is the definition of guilty pleasure. In times like this, grab that wherever you can.
Rachel paints herself as an abject failure. She does write really well about the problems that women face in the workplace, from the damage that having children wreaks on their careers to the scrutiny she has endured about her appearance ... Yet I felt this self-deprecation was overplayed: she has written seven books and had a successful career. She perhaps only feels like the unsuccessful sibling because her big brother only ever fails upwards. There is a lot of fun here, though, largely because Rachel is not worried about causing offence. An unembarrassable oversharer, she seems determined to make others blush.
Illustrated throughout with personal photos, this quietly feminist book not only offers humorous insight into the politics of a divided, madly competitive family. Johnson also reveals how conservative extremism and the politics of fear are not just an American issue, but are reshaping the political world as we know it. A wittily provocative look at British politics.