Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': The EW Review

She cooks a mean moose chili (though, as she admits, she “never pretended to have a huge culinary repertoire”). She doesn’t mention Levi Johnston, the father of her daughter Bristol’s baby — not once. Her passages about her son Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome, are incredibly moving.

But before you start scanning this review of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue for a lefty New York bias, let me be clear: I’m not affiliated with any political party. I’ve voted for Democrats; I’ve voted for Republicans. That said, Going Rogue is nothing special, a standard bit of political posturing from someone still eyeing higher office. That’s clear from the jacket photo alone: Palin, hair down, gazing sturdily into the distance, clad in a red track jacket (no fancy duds here), an American flag pinned to her chest. I’m like you, the photo says. “[Todd and I] felt our very normalcy, our status as ordinary Americans, could be a much-needed fresh breeze blowing into Washington, D.C.,” she writes.

Though Palin says that in college she “studied journalism because of my passion for the power of words,” she hired a ghostwriter, Lynn Vincent, for Going Rogue. Fair enough: Writing a newspaper article is much different from crafting a full-length book. But Vincent did her no favors. Her attempts to mime Palin’s no-nonsense speech sometimes result in painful manglings: “I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier.” Still, the first few chapters — about Palin’s early life in Alaska — are down-to-earth and funny (“You know you’re Alaskan when at least twice a year your kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant”). But the passages about her personal politics and her stint as Alaska’s governor are less than forthright, and the description of her time with the McCain campaign reads less like history than like ax grinding.

What’s more, Palin displays virtually no introspection. When McCain asks her to run, she says, “I certainly didn’t think, Well, of course this would happen. But neither did I think, What an astonishing idea. It seemed more comfortable than that, a natural progression.” Wait a minute: Moving swiftly from mayor of Wasilla to governor of Alaska to Vice President of the United States is a natural progression? I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that Palin owes readers a little more than that. Yet maybe that’s naive of me. Palin has just done what almost all politicians do — delivered a mediocre, unsurprising, self-serving memoir. C

Comments (152 total) Add your comment
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  • Jared

    Is it true the first line of the book is “I is an idiot?”

    • Al

      No it’s not true, so that line is still available for your autobiography.

      • lulu

        ha ha ha
        i got a kick out of that comment.

      • paige

        GREAT comment

      • BL

        I agree, Al. Chill. It’s a funny comment!

      • Sarah

        LOL. Nice job, Jared.

      • SteevoNYC

        I believe the first line was actually, “Al is a dooshbag” (no need to correct my spelling, Al — I already know)

      • RA

        There is so much win in that response. Owned.

      • Wickeddoll

        Jared’s line was funny, but so was Al’s. You guys are quick on the draw. LOL

      • MOMO

        Al and Jared, you guys are hilarious. You need your own show. LOL

      • laddieluv

        Gee, Al!



    • Amanda

      I wouldn’t doubt it.

    • Lou

      Ha! I’ll bet that’s the only sentence repeated throughout the entire book. Too funny.

  • Sara

    Thank you for reviewing the book and having no political opinion, I wanted to know if this book was worth reading but obviously if you leaned either right or left I would not be able to trust you. So honestly, thanks.

    • jarha

      You are going by Tina Jordan because she say so? People say lot of thinks to promote their own agenda. But it does not mean that it is true. Why don’t you use your own brain to make decission. If it is about book, movie or voting for president. As candidates for president promote their own lies to get in the office, so can Tina Jordan!

  • jj

    So you voted for Obama and Bloomberg, you repeat liberal talking points, but you want to pretend you are “objective” about Sarah??
    Did you think Obama’s memoirs were also “mediocre, unsurprising, self-serving”??
    I bet not. I bet if you said something too positive about Palin you would get a lot of stress from your co-workers and fellow Urban Elites (Ivy League or Not).
    Do you really think Americans are that stupid?

    • Robert

      I find it very interesting that in your post here, you refer to the President as “Obama” and the Mayor of NYC as “Bloomberg”, but former governor Palin is “Sarah”. I guess her attempt to connect with people has worked, at least for you.

      • Dysthymia83

        I also don’t think Obama needed a ghostwriter.

      • JH

        It might just be that people take her less seriously and have less respect for her.

      • Mark

        It’s a documented fact that terrorist William Ayers co-wrote Obama’s book.

    • gldw

      Obam’s books aren’t suprising or mediocre at all…say what you will about his politics, but the man can write and has had an interesting life. Also, enough with the urban elite ridiculousness. why should anyone be slammed for living in a city and being educated?

    • Sarah

      You mean the urban elites that got blown up on 9/11? Whose deaths you exploit for political gain and war mongering? The urban elites whose massive taxes pay for the rest of the country to have everything from interstates to Head Start? Who do you think you are? We are all Americans. We all want this country to be great and I am SICK and TIRED of being told that because I went to college and live in the Northeast, my opinion is irrelevant. If you dislike your fellow Americans so much, move the hell out.

      • Scott

        Sing it, sister!!

      • K

        Wow, thank you! I can’t believe this doesn’t get pointed out more often.

      • paige


      • gokarm


      • Mark

        GREAT post Sarah!!! I hate the “Urban Elites” remark and attitude regarding people living in or around places like NYC/Boston/Washington DC/etc in this country.

      • sli

        I am from South Carolina and I completely agree. The kind of “reverse elitist” attitude on display here is why Southern states get a bad rap (among other things :p )

      • BlackIrish4094

        From one NY’er to another, hell yeah!

      • motown

        Sorry Sarah, but you are preaching to the choir. Midwesterners and Southerners get treated like ignorant hicks by the Elites on both coasts. Look how we were portrayed in the media for standing up to big government during the Tea Partys. 99% of us were peaceful in our demonstartions. It’s a two way street sister. Show some respect for us, and you will get some in return. Very sad that our great country is so divided.

      • Paul

        You people need to read some history. This country has always been and will always be divided on regional lines. Look into Clay, Calhoun, and Webster to see the Nineteenth Century version of such things.

      • Ashley

        Thank you, Sarah! I want to stand up and cheer!

      • joshua

        Sarah: It’s a shame that you have to make this speech. This whole political party nonsense is real b.s. Regardless of class, education, or political affiliation, WE ARE ALL THE SAME. Stop the discrimmination and division. Don’t let alterior motives and bias divide us.

      • Amy

        Sarah, is that really you? Geez I knew you were keeping the door open for 2012, but I didn’t realize you are campaigning so soon. Off topic yet again!

      • Ladyli1

        THANK YOU SARAH!!!!

      • Lynn

        I agree with you Sarah, but it works both ways. You don’t like being treated like a traitor or “un-American” because you list in the northeast. I equally don’t like being treated like a hick or an uneducated backwater idiot because I live in the Midwest. I believe in evolution, I’m pro-choice and I support gay rights, but because I happen to live in a certain state, members of my own political affiliation are often quick to stereotype me and people like me. Stereotyping, especially based on regional lines, needs to stop on both sides.

      • NicWin

        And I am SICK and TIRED of being told that because I live in the south and voted against Obama, I must be racist. Why is it ok for liberals to stereotype, but not conservatives? Yes we are ALL Americans and we do ALL want the country to be great. Because I have a different opinion on how to get there doesn’t make me stupid or racist, just because Obama happens to be black. (I voted against Bush too.) REALLY tired of the hypocrisy from the left.

      • malabar

        like people in the northeast really have any respect for anyone else in the nation, please, your hypocrisy is showing

      • anb

        Sarah, I was thinking of posting a reasonable response, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. How dare you accuse those with whom you disagree of exploiting anyone? And spare me your whimpering about your “massive taxes”. Do you think that voters in the South and West are the ones in favor of high taxes and big government? No, baby, it’s you. And don’t you find something bizarre about your ranting and demeaning your fellow Americans and then directing them to leave the country if they don’t like their countrymen? You’re the problem, honey. You may live in New York; you may have gone to college; but you certainly didn’t learn to offer a logical argument. Must have been one of those east coast, namby pamby, i’m ok you’re ok, here’s an A for showing up lefty flag burning tie dyed hacky sacking schools.

      • Ionela

        I’m sorry, aren’t these the “mavericks” who are going to END pork barerl spending and waste in our government’s budget????

    • wakeforce

      Webster’s defines elite as; the choice part, the best of a class, the socially superior part of society, people who by virtue of position or education exercise much power and influence. My what a dirty word!

      • motown

        You really think you’re all that, wakeforce? How impressive.

      • Paul

        Only idiots use the dictionary definition to support their point. Elitism has a negative connotation and to deny it is to prove yourself an intellectual midget.

      • wakeforce

        Don’t blame me for your hurt feelings. Blame Webster’s!

      • Jason

        Yeah! Only idiots use what a word means to prove thier point!


    • RA

      Huh? lol

    • donknottz

      Umm if you think Sarah Palin is not a complete imbecile you have answered your own question regarding the intelligence level of americans.

    • Shadow19910

      Hmmmmm Let’s see 8 years of George Bush? yes, we are that dumb.

  • crispy

    Another vampire book! When is this trend ever gonna end?

    • arun

      I wish I had said that!

      • Chris Richards

        That is brilliant!

      • Jason


    • Jack

      Crispy = win

    • Me

      Too funny!

    • MNI

      Well done!

    • Lili

      ***bows in awe**** :D Love it!! I wish I’d come up with it! Ugh, can someone please just make her go away?!

    • Amy

      Brilliant, Crispy!

  • Ugly Jenny

    Thanks for the nonpartisan disclaimer for your review. I’ll probably be buying the book anyways because I like Sarah Palin. She has a lot to prove if she wants to be running in 2012, but if she is successful at showing what a political player she can then I would have no problem with her running. I admire her for coming from out of obscurity and making the impact that she has had on American politics.

    • Erin

      I’m kind of curious as to how Sarah Palin is proving herself politically after quitting the governorship.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Thta’s my biggest issue, she quits because she doesn’t want to be a lame duck. So if (God forbid) she is elected twice to the presidency, she would leave half way through the 2nd term? Makes no sense and she looks like a quitter.

    • darth caifan

      @Ugly jenny: yeah and you just described George W Bush from 10 years ago, so… no thank you

    • Ugly Jenny

      I said in my first post that she has a lot to prove if she wants to be a viable presidential candidate. I don’t have blind optimism in her. President Obama spent most of his first and only time as a senator campaigning for president, so what is the difference between Palin and Obama as far as previous experience?

      • Lili

        Seriously? You’re going there??! The woman is a rambling idiot who just needs to shut the F up already! I can’t believe how many people are “followers” and “fans”.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Umm, ability to verbalize complete thoughts and concepts?

    • Your name is very apt

      Your lack of critical thinking is indeed ugly.

    • John

      I think you make a valid point about Moore (and I also thank you for wading tgruohh the muck so I don’t have to). I did see Roger and Me, and enjoyed what I then viewed as his everyman style and ability to illustrate the challenges facing the working (or not working) poor folk in Flint, MI. He gets it but doesn’t like it.

  • tvgirl48

    I hate that argument about “I’m like you so I’m just as qualified as anyone to be in Washington.” People hate “elite” people because they’re jealous or something. I don’t want just some random guy/girl off the street to be in charge of important political decisions. I want someone qualified, with experience, with knowledge. Why is being qualified for a job reviled in politics but valued in every other field?

    • dpinmd

      I totally agree. I don’t want someone “just like me” in the Oval Office — I want the smartest person we can possibly get!

    • Desmo

      Because being qualified for a job has nothing to do with experience or knowledge. It’s all about who has more money.

    • CH

      Jon Stewart said it best: “You’re running for an important elected office, and if all goes well, they might put your face on a mountain. You;re supposed to be better than me.”

      • CH

        The complete quote: “Doesn’t elite mean good? Is that not something we’re looking for in a president anymore? … The job you’re applying for — if you get it, and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don’t actually think you are better than us, then what the f@*k are you doing? … Not only do I want an elite president, I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me. I want someone who speaks sixteen languages and sleeps two hours a night hanging upside down in a chamber they themselves designed.”

        THAT is who I want my president to be, not a random local governor from Alaska who didn’t finish her term. I’d be interested in the book, especially in seeing her opinions on treatment of her family during the election, but this doesn’t sound like what I’m looking for.

      • betty

        So why is Obama president then?

      • NicWin

        I’ve watched the Daily Show for a long time. I recently had to stop. I couldn’t take it any more. You really should try not to get all your news, thoughts and opinions from Jon Stewart. He’s a funny guy, but he’s got a very one-sided view of the world.

    • K

      No kidding! When did having an intelligent person in charge of the country become a bad thing? I want the most qualified representation, not the one I’d most like to have tea with (note: I would also not like to have tea with Palin).

    • Wayne

      That is not what we have now.

      • RA

        Sure Wayne – because you are an experienced and accurate barometer of whether or not a president has been successful after less than one year of office. The political system should put you on retainer as a consultant because of your vast knowledge of the impact of government on our world. And for your ability to prognosticate the legacy of a president.

        What, you heard everything you know from Glenn Beck? Oh…as you were then.

  • KCWolf

    “Palin displays virtually no introspection”

    That line alone pretty much sums up Palin. She can be very personable (heck, if Hillary won’t sit down to coffee with her, I’d be glad to) but like many I see on the far right, Palin seems tone deaf that her words don’t always mirror her actions.

    Will I read this book? Maybe, once all the furor dies down. Frankly, I think it will be a big splash for a month and then you’ll be able to find it on the clearance rack by the first of the year.

    • NicWin

      OK, if I start off a tirade adainst Obama with a line or two about how I’m not a Democrat or Republican, will you take everything I say as gospel too? This is so OBVIOUSLY not a fair open minded review. I’m not particularly a Palin fan, but this reviewer surely knows that showing any support for her will get her in hot water with the millions of mindless minions who think Obama is the second coming.

  • Red

    I guess I can understand Palin going the celebrity route, with all those kids to support. And other politicians certainly have gone for the big bucks, too, e.g. Hillary C. with her $8 million book advance (she has worked with co-authors, too) and Al Gore with his very profitable carbon credits business, etc. I just wish Palin had tried to establish more credibility by finishing out her term as governor and taking a hard-news approach to issues rather than posting blurbs on Facebook. Don’t hate her, but can’t take her seriously.

  • Arden

    It’s a coloring book, right?

    • Ed

      Hysterical Thanks for brightening my lunch hour.

    • NicWin

      And you’ve been the governor of how many states?

  • fancypants

    I honestly don’t see what the point of this book is. She didn’t write this book (it was ghost-written), so the book is completely hollow and generic.

    • kelsey

      This is exactly what’s been going through my mind. Regardless of politics, I feel that having a ghostwriter write *your* book for you is akin to cheating. I guess maybe she’s a very busy person, although I can’t see what she’s been busy doing.

    • a/c

      I work in Publishing and speaking to real writers, this bugs the hell out of me. What happened here, and in most cases with politicians, sports atheletes, and celebrities, is they hire a ghost who basically shadows and interviews them. The ghost writes the book. The ghost here most likely had some help too b/c of how quickly this book got published.

    • NicWin

      And how many books have you written?

  • Christina

    I really hate that Palin seems to think that being an average person means you should be in the White House. I’m a college student, and I’ve always been pretty good in school. I’ll be pursuing my Master’s soon and I’m moderately liberal, so I’m sure I’d fall under her description of “elite” even though I don’t come from money. That being said, even though I’m fairly intelligent, I sure as hell want someone way smarter than me to be running the country. Palin doesn’t seem to realize that running the country means dealing with BIG issues both domestically and internationally. I mean, yes, she was Governor of Alaska but the population of Alaska is less than 700,000 so despite the size, very few people even live there. So how does running that state, with less than a million people, for about 2 years make you qualified to run the country?

    • singlemom

      Well, at least she has executive experience. What kind of ‘running anything’ experience did President Obama have before the media swooned all over him? And considering Alaska’s natural resources, sheer geographic size, and a population that is over a million (nice elitist dig, there!) I think Palin was better prepared to be an executive than a barely sworn in US Senator who started campaigning for President before he’d finished his Senator’s oath.

      • Valencienne

        “Well, at least she has executive experience”

        What executive experience would that be?

        She quit the governorship before her first term was even up (but not before she managed to commit an ethics violation!)

        Her experience in Wasilla appears to consist of pushing the librarian around and mismanaging the skating rink purchase so the city wound up paying 4x what the land was worth.

        You mean that executive experience?

      • Quinny

        “What kind of running anything experience did Obama have?” Hmmm…let’s see:
        1) Constitutional Scholar and Professor at the University of Chicago Law School- oh oh oh no!! ELITE ALERT! Imagine having a president who teachers consitutional law at one of the best law schools in the United States? Imagine, having a President who understands the Constitution?? THE HORRORS!
        2) Illinois State Senator & Rep. for years before becoming a US Senator. But I guess that doesn’t really compare to being Mayor of Wasilla, does it?
        3)United States Senator who “quit” when he was elected leader of the free world by 54% of Americans. But obviously being Governor of Alaska for just over 2 years and then quitting to field book offers and tv gigs is much more noble…

        And lastly, SingleMom, you say Alaska has “over a million people”. Fascinating. Because Alaskan officials seem to think their population total is 686,293 at last count…

        nxt time your posting stats, maybe give wikipedia a gander first.
        that’ll be all.

      • my opinion only

        He was state senator for 8 years where he authored and passed over 100 bills. Illinois is a large state with a senate very similar to the US senate – wide birth of ideologies, etc. That constantly gets overlooked and I have no idea why. I honestly think Palin and Obama are roughly the same on the experience front.

      • Emily

        @Quinny – Aaahhh, yes! Because Wikipedia is totally reliable and completely factual!

      • singlemom

        sorry about the million people part. Added something wrong somewhere.
        But I stand by the part about Obama not having run anything. Teaching – ran a classroom? Okay, why have none of his students spoken up about his insightfulness? How long did he teach? Was he given tenure? What articles did he write? Regarding his State Senate years – what did he vote for or against? Not present, actually took a side for. Why didn’t the media go into his legislative past the way they do/did with every other candidate?
        What’s so wrong about a woman in a long-term, happy (ie-no controversies/scandals) marriage who worked her way through college like a large number of Americans, who had more than one child, including the youngest with a birth defect, who worked her way up through politics without going through the old-boy, Ivy League, lobbyist money network? I would have thought we would want that in this country. Guess not, huh?

        Before y’all jump on me again – I respect the President for his office, for where he has come from and what he has made of himself, and, most of all, for being a good husband and doting father. I disagree with his policies, not his personal life.

      • RA

        @Emily – Really, you want to call out Wikipedia on a widely available census number? Lame.

      • peggym

        She was mayor of a town smaller than my housing development, and a half-term governor of a state with a population smaller than my moderately-sized city. Not too awe-inspiring.

  • Cyrus

    She studied journalism because of her respect for the written word? But she can’t name a newspaper?

    • jodipo

      oooh! Good point. Maybe she respects is so much cause she can’t read? Big scary words

    • Me

      Seriously, not even the Enquirer? And now look how often she’s on the cover!

    • JH

      Nor, apparently, can she speak English.

    • Kelsey

      What baffles me is that she has a “journalism” degree but apparently never worked for any campus newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, etc.
      I have a journalism degree from a respected J school, and if you didn’t do substantial work with campus media, you didn’t graduate.

      • Kanai

        How\’s it feel to support a woman who pootrmes teaching creationism alongside evolution in the science classroom? I suppose I really shouldn\’t be surprised since you yourself are a card-carrying member of the pseudoscientic elite. Say, when is that Polywell report due again? Oh yeah, in 6-9 months…as usual…

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the review. I’m not going to buy this book because of the unfavorable review, and money is tight right now. I don’t think Palin was very bright to sell her book during a recession. Well, I guess that says something about her book too.

  • TorontoTom

    I watched Palin on Oprah yesterday. Umm, her hair looked nice…

    • Eimy

      To an extent, lggauane has relied on catch phrases to quickly explain deep feelings about complex issues. However, what’s changed is the quickness the vernacular is passed around, coupled with graphics and sound now the world is very noisy with sound bites that explain everything from our feelings about celebrities to politics.While we can take these short cuts to express ourselves, what’s lost is the willingness to go through our experiences and understand why we feel the way we do. It’s like jumping from point A to F, without ever really examining or bothering to further articulate B,C,D, and E. Besides, in an age where the 144 character tweet is supposed distill our essence at that point in time, who has time to really go over how they feel and more to the point specific examples that led up to the emotional outburst?Anyway, some will argue that there’s a lot of truth in the emotional-political shortcut sentiments uttered by those both on the left and right. But the ones we’re all thinking of are those originally espoused by the nimrods working for Sarah Palin, who came up with Don’t retreat, instead reload, and then paired it up with a graphic of crosshairs. What’s so dumb is their denial that the graphic was depicting crosshairs or visual or verbal associations to shooting. But what’s as tenuous is trying to shift the blame for the whole tragedy to Palin’s camp. Let’s face it. The problem of crude speech is a societal one. Hatred, no matter who it’s espoused by and for whatever reason, is simply that.Kanani posted

  • TorontoTom

    If she was going to use a ghost writer why not hire Tina Fey for the job?!? (BTW, wouldn’t it be great if SNL did a send-up of the Palin book tour this weekend with a surprise visit from Fey?)

    • motown

      Shut up and get back to Canada.

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