Bristol Palin's memoir "Not Afraid of My Life" is less of a cautionary tale and more of a rant(Read article summary)
Bristol Palin vents about her ex and the McCains, but if she's learned some life lessons they don't come through in her memoir.
It seems Bristol Palin has lived several lifetimes in her 20 years.
At an age when most 20-year-olds are adjusting to college and doing their own laundry, the eldest daughter of Sarah Palin had already: broken her own vow to remain celibate until marriage; became a teenage mother; stumbled through an on-again, off-again troubled relationship with the father of her child; entered the fray of reality TV on â€śDancing with the Starsâ€ť; and got media-savvy fast on the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign trail.
Did we forget to mention sheâ€™s also published a memoir?
Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, hit shelves Tuesday and its already creating waves. The younger Ms. Palin dishes on everything, from losing her virginity while drunk on wine coolers, to her combustible relationship with â€śthe gnat named Levi Johnston,â€ť to her intense dislike for the McCains.
(Mr. Johnston, of course, will be releasing his own memoir, â€śDeer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palinâ€™s Crosshairs,â€ť later this summer. Weâ€™ll report later on the quarter-life memoir trend.)
Palin begins her book with her account of the seminal night that â€śwould affect my life in ways a teenager could not comprehend.â€ť
She recounts a summer night in high school when she went on a camping trip with Johnston, got woozy on wine coolers, and woke up the next morning in a tent, next to Johnstonâ€™s empty sleeping bag.
â€śI could tell by the evidence in the tent that all of my plans, my promises, and my moral standards had disappeared in one awful night in a series of bad decisions,â€ť Palin writes, adding that she then immediately felt obliged to marry Johnston.
She goes on to disparage him with a string of anecdotes in the book: His reaction when he found out Palin was pregnant? â€śBetter be a [expletive] boy.â€ť
The way he proposed? Slipped a ring on Palinâ€™s finger while they were watching TV, adding, â€śIt was expensive.â€ť
His behavior throughout? â€ś[He] cheated on me about as frequently as he sharpened his hockey skates,â€ť writes Palin, adding that he would make up for his infidelities with gifts like Coach purses, Abercrombie clothing, and designer rain boots.
Palin writes that she forgave Johnston and started sleeping with him again, hoping that he would stop cheating.
â€śIt was part 'thank you,' part 'security deposit,â€ť she writes.
She finally ended their relationship after discovering Johnston had impregnated another girl and named the child Bentley.
She goes on to dish on the 2008 presidential race and the McCains. She describes Cindy and Meghan McCain as demanding divas who alternately ignored and snubbed her.
Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy â€ślooked like a queenâ€ť and â€śheld herself like royalty,â€ť she writes. The senator's daughter, Meghan McCain, â€śignored us during the entire visitâ€¦. I had a sneaking suspicious I might need to watch my back.â€ť
She added, â€ś[Iâ€™ve] never seen people with so much Louis Vuitton luggage, so many cell phones, and so many constant helpers to do hair and makeup.â€ť
According to â€śNot Afraid of Life,â€ť upon their first meeting, Cindy McCain asked to be the godmother to Tripp, Palinâ€™s son. â€śI wondered why she wanted any type of guardianship over my child [since we had] just met,â€ť Palin writes.
At times, Palin does endear herself to readers with her self-deprecation (â€śmy life had become a Jerry Springer episode, and a bad one at thatâ€ť) and, frankly, her sheer grit.
But if she wrote this book so others can learn from the â€śpretty foolish decisionsâ€ť sheâ€™s made, sheâ€™s hardly been a paradigm of reform. Her justification for continuing premarital sex, which she had sworn off (â€śSince Levi and I were going to get married, I rationalized that our premarital sex wasnâ€™t that big of a dealâ€ť), her catty asides, and the trail of trash talk, make â€śNot Afraid of Lifeâ€ť seem more of a vent-session and plea for attention than a sincere effort to be a role model for other teens.
Writes the Washington Post, â€śIf Palin truly counts herself among the most famous of women who have been wronged, and she really does want to help young adults avoid making similar mistakes, then itâ€™s sad she couldnâ€™t put her celebrity to more positive use.â€ť
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.