Book Club: Promise Me, Dad

Regardless of your politics, I think we can all agree that Vice President Joe Biden has been through a LOT. Imagine outliving not one but two of your children? It's so heartbreaking and tragic. I had heard a lot of good things about his book and I almost cried when I saw his interview with Meghan McCain on The View so I picked up this book as soon as I could from my local bookstore (yay for brick and mortar bookstores!). I went through such an emotional journey while reading this book and I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys today. 

Related post: Book Club: Pachinko

Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In November 2014, thirteen members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past forty years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed respite, a time to connect, a time to reflect on what the year had brought, and what the future might hold. But this year felt different from all those that had come before. Joe and Jill Biden's eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor fifteen months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. "Promise me, Dad," Beau had told his father. "Give me your word that no matter what happens, you're going to be all right." Joe Biden gave him his word.

Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden's extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. When a call came from New York, or Capitol Hill, or Kyiv, or Baghdad -- Joe, I need your help -- he responded. For twelve months, while Beau fought for and then lost his life, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family. And never far away was the insistent and urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016.

The year brought real triumph and accomplishment, and wrenching pain. But even in the worst times, Biden was able to lean on the strength of his long, deep bonds with his family, on his faith, and on his deepening friendship with the man in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.
Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Joe Biden allows readers to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop.

This is a book written not just by the vice president, but by a father, grandfather, friend, and husband. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.

My Review: 

This book was so moving, to say the least. 

You can really see how important not just his family is to Biden, but how important his service to the country is. Again, even if you don't agree with Biden's politics, I'm sure there's no doubt that the man truly cares about his country. Biden's commitment to his public service was further cemented by his promise to his dying son that he would be "all right." What does "all right" mean to the Bidens? He tries to answer that through his book and from what I gather, it seems to mean that Joe will continue serving the country without the jadedness that a man who has lost so much would absolutely feel. 

That said, his son and family life was not the only thing Biden talked about in the book. 

Biden talked about a few details of his time as Vice President of the United States. For a political nerd living in DC like me, these stories are endlessly fascinating! If you're not, though, I think you could still learn a bit as it's written in a way that's easy to understand. There's a story of Biden's first meeting with Vladmir Putin and it's probably the most badass thing I've ever read in my life (spoiler: Biden tells Putin that he doesn't believe Putin has a sole to his face and Putin smiles and vaguely agrees!) 

I also think that this book could potentially serve as a stepping stone for his bid for President in 2020. I've heard a lot of debate on this but I'd like to open the question to you guys as well. Either way, I really hope you guys all read this book! It will help you understand that not all politicians are alike. 


  1. He really has been through a lot! Thanks for sharing your review of the book!


  2. Wow- I had no idea of this tragedy that had happened in Vice President Biden's life. That is so sad. I'm really intrigued by this now! I love your point too about how whatever your political views are, this could still be a good read. :)

    xoxo A

  3. Sounds like a beautiful book! I have to get this for my mom, I am sure she would love it :)
    xx, Theresa

  4. ahh i've been wanting to read this! I'm so happy it moved you! I've heard such great things from others about it!

  5. That sounds like such a great book. I'd like to read it but feel like I'd be crying the whole way through!

  6. i'm saving this book to read in the future, i definitely feel like i would start crying xD thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  7. I need to add this to my reading list. I've been eyeing a kindle too!
    Xo Mindy

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  9. Don't you just LOVE your Kindle? I'm obsessed with mine. I haven't heard of this book, so I'll have to check it out!

    Molly //

  10. This sounds like a fantastic book. I love getting the chance to see the other side of public figures- I think it makes them more 'real' to me.

  11. Ok I'm definitely putting this on my list of books to read now.

  12. I don't even know if I can handle reading this right now. Someday.
    xx The Critical Babe

  13. I really need to read more books! I'm putting all your suggestions on a list to refer to later! xo Rach |

  14. this was such a thoughtful, info-filled book review! your book club series is something I'll definitely keep up with gf. thanks for sharing! x, nicole //

  15. autobiographies are always so interesting!


Thank you for your comments! I read every single one :]