“Cokie: A life well lived” by Steven V. Roberts (Harper 2021)
Like millions, I was a big fan of accomplished journalist, news correspondent and non-fiction author, Cokie Roberts. I was anxious to learn more about what made her tick. After reading the book “Cokie,” I didn’t feel very enlightened.
The important thing to keep in mind when reading this book is that her husband wrote it in the wake of her death. Many have called this book a tribute to his wife. But I thought it read much more like a love letter.
He wanted us to use her life as a blueprint for being a good person, so he shared wonderful stories about her loyalty, generosity and thoughtfulness with friends, family and colleagues. It’s a sweet book.
But I was looking forward to a much more objective book about her emotional and intellectual development over time. I wanted to know how she happened to transition from a stereotypical, baby boomer homemaker to a bonafide feminist. I wanted to know what motivated her beyond practicing her Catholic religion, marriage and child-rearing. How did she strategize to work through obstacles in the male dominated workplace?
Steve Roberts focused on stories about their prolonged courtship and then sang her praises as wife, mother, and ever-reliable friend. Yes, he touched on her professionalism and achievements, (how could he not?) but he mostly shared stories one would hear at a class reunion…or at a wake over coffee and pastries from around the block.
There were many examples of Ms. Roberts’ characteristics worthy of respect and emulation. I trust those stories are a balm for her surviving children, extended family and personal friends. A gift to them to be sure. I’m glad Cokie Roberts was well loved.
But I know much more about Cokie, the accomplished, smart and shrewd person, by reading her own non-fiction books. Bless Steve Robert’s grieving heart for trying.
Following are my favorite non-fiction books written by Cokie Boggs Roberts.
“Founding Mother’s: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. (Easton Press 2004)
“Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
(William Morrow 2008)
“We are our Mother’s Daughters” (Harper Perennial revised and expanded edition 2010.)