I’ve read a number of interviews with Cherie Blair; I think she’s an interesting woman, so I was excited to read and review Speaking for Myself. Unfortunately, it is really difficult to read. I don't expect (or want) everything I read to be light and easy, but this simply isn’t great writing.
Blair is a woman of contrasts. On one hand, she is a strong feminist, yet she chose to work in one of the most conservative of professions (Blair is a barrister). She is clearly an intelligent woman, but she lacks emotional intelligence. She is successful as a barrister, yet she also lacks some graciousness. For example, the book begins with the Blairs leaving 10 Downing Street. As she and Tony got into the car, the photographers called out “We’ll miss you!” She shouted back, “I won’t miss you!” Her husband was not pleased by that exchange, to say the least.
Like Hilary Rodham Clinton, Cherie Booth Blair has been a controversial figure in the politics of her nation. She was the first wife of a British Prime Minister to have a college degree, but she came from a working-class background. She also had “run-ins” with the royal family. There was public outcry over the supposed euthanization of the 10 Downing Street cat - which was entirely false. Her friend Carole Chaplin introduced her to Peter Foster. Blair apparently bought apartments from Foster, and it is alleged that she tried to intervene when Foster was threatened with deportation.
Cherie Blair featured in the press quite often during her husband’s 10 years as prime minister. If you read much of it, you’d have one impression of her. If you read her book, you’ll find another side of her. Who’s to say which is the real Cherie Blair? If you’re at all interested in British government and society, you’ll likely find this book an interesting insight.