Posts Tagged ‘Anita Ward’

Sarah Brown’s “Behind the black door” gives an intriguing insight – but leaves out the juicy bits

15/03/2011, 01:45:45 PM

by Anita Ward

As someone who has always admired and liked Sarah Brown – for the dignity she showed through the death of a child and her self-respect whilst her husband was under attack from just about everybody on an almost daily basis – I was looking forward to reading this book.

The title was fascinating. What was this tome going to tell me? Scandalous gossip? Cloak-and-dagger political revelations? Sadly, neither.

What it did give me was an insight into a role that few of us would relish. A role where if you put one foot wrong you are likely to be castigated for life; a role where if you express your own opinion, especially as a woman – think Cherie Blair – you’ll be pilloried. You have to be the constant adoring wife with no views of your own, well at least in front of the camera. And, it’s a role hardly anybody will thank you for doing.

This is not a political blockbuster, nor is it the girly book some people were expecting, but is probably halfway between the two. I found it easy to read, something I could put down and pick up; but it wasn’t so absorbing that I felt I had to keep reading no matter what.

There were some light hearted moments, some loving family moments, and you get to find out that politicians talk about the same things “ordinary” people do and are fascinated by the same people many of us are – Nelson Mandela, to name but one.

What I think it lacks is what she really thinks of those people who conspired against her husband. What she really thinks of the media for their hounding of him. I get the impression that she wants to say much more than she has. It’s sad that she didn’t, because it leaves you with the feeling that something is missing from the book.

Did I enjoy Behind the black door? Overall, I think I did, but it isn’t one I’ll re-read in a hurry.

Cllr Anita Ward is Lord Mayor elect of Birmingham.

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