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So Here’s the Thing…: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? comes a fun, frank book of reflections, essays, and interviews on topics important to young women, ranging from politics and career to motherhood, sisterhood, and making and sustaining relationships of all kinds in the age of social media. Alyssa Mastromonaco is back with a bold, no-nonsense, a From the New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? comes a fun, frank book of reflections, essays, and interviews on topics important to young women, ranging from politics and career to motherhood, sisterhood, and making and sustaining relationships of all kinds in the age of social media. Alyssa Mastromonaco is back with a bold, no-nonsense, and no-holds-barred twenty-first-century girl's guide to life, tackling the highs and lows of bodies, politics, relationships, moms, education, life on the internet, and pop culture. Whether discussing Barbra Streisand or The Bachelor, working in the West Wing or working on finding a wing woman, Alyssa leaves no stone unturned...and no awkward situation unexamined. Like her bestseller Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, SO HERE'S THE THING... brings a sharp eye and outsize sense of humor to the myriad issues facing women the world over, both in and out of the workplace. Along with Alyssa's personal experiences and hard-won life lessons, interviews with women like Monica Lewinsky, Susan Rice, and Chelsea Handler round out this modern woman's guide to, well, just about everything you can think of.


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? comes a fun, frank book of reflections, essays, and interviews on topics important to young women, ranging from politics and career to motherhood, sisterhood, and making and sustaining relationships of all kinds in the age of social media. Alyssa Mastromonaco is back with a bold, no-nonsense, a From the New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? comes a fun, frank book of reflections, essays, and interviews on topics important to young women, ranging from politics and career to motherhood, sisterhood, and making and sustaining relationships of all kinds in the age of social media. Alyssa Mastromonaco is back with a bold, no-nonsense, and no-holds-barred twenty-first-century girl's guide to life, tackling the highs and lows of bodies, politics, relationships, moms, education, life on the internet, and pop culture. Whether discussing Barbra Streisand or The Bachelor, working in the West Wing or working on finding a wing woman, Alyssa leaves no stone unturned...and no awkward situation unexamined. Like her bestseller Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, SO HERE'S THE THING... brings a sharp eye and outsize sense of humor to the myriad issues facing women the world over, both in and out of the workplace. Along with Alyssa's personal experiences and hard-won life lessons, interviews with women like Monica Lewinsky, Susan Rice, and Chelsea Handler round out this modern woman's guide to, well, just about everything you can think of.

30 review for So Here’s the Thing…: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    This seems to have been written over a weekend and lacks the depth or insight I was hoping for. Alyssa had more to share in person on her book tour last week (in a denim jumper and clogs!!) than this book imparts with its reader. The first book was fascinating and so focused on the Obamas and WH time, I was excited to read the essays/life lessons she could share about her post-Obama life. Sadly this is not it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A disappointing second book from Alyssa Mastromonaco. It reads the way a book published in a hurry to capitalize off the successful first book often does, but to an extreme. The chapters are meandering, there seems to be no through line in this memoir, and often even her anecdotes trail off for no apparent reason, and (spoiler alert) it happens to end in just such a manner.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

    I loved this SO MUCH. I went to see Alyssa's book talk in NYC this week and then (comparatively) powered through this - it usually takes me a long time to finish nonfiction, but this was such a fast and enjoyable read. I really enjoy her voice, I think she's super funny and the format of this - short essays, none more than 10 pages - worked super well. Alyssa is a great and engaging storyteller, and that really comes across in this book. Would recommend! I loved this SO MUCH. I went to see Alyssa's book talk in NYC this week and then (comparatively) powered through this - it usually takes me a long time to finish nonfiction, but this was such a fast and enjoyable read. I really enjoy her voice, I think she's super funny and the format of this - short essays, none more than 10 pages - worked super well. Alyssa is a great and engaging storyteller, and that really comes across in this book. Would recommend!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melora

    I'm giving this three stars as a generous indication of my enjoyment, but with the provision that I recognized pretty quickly that I'm not the target demographic. I didn't know anything about the author, going in, but I'd heard it mentioned on a podcast I like, "Pod Save the World" (which is also directed at a younger audience, but with politics it doesn't matter much), and I think that in my twenties I'd have have liked it better. The "insider scoop" about working in the Obama White House, fore I'm giving this three stars as a generous indication of my enjoyment, but with the provision that I recognized pretty quickly that I'm not the target demographic. I didn't know anything about the author, going in, but I'd heard it mentioned on a podcast I like, "Pod Save the World" (which is also directed at a younger audience, but with politics it doesn't matter much), and I think that in my twenties I'd have have liked it better. The "insider scoop" about working in the Obama White House, foreign travel, diplomatic gaffes, dance parties, etc. was fun, but the seemingly endless stories about feminine hygiene related disasters, IBS sagas, and angsting over whether to have children were not. Long stretches of meandering dullness. Fortunately, as well as amusing political stories, Mastromonaco tells endearing stories about her cats, and the books concludes with a really sweet picture of her with her Persian, Bunny. I'm a sucker for cats, thus the third star.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I enjoyed Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? (seriously! I gave it four stars on Goodreads, which is a big deal for me). I was excited to read her sophomore effort, but wound up finding it pretty disappointing. So Here's the Thing... felt like a bungled attempt to distill Mastromonaco's candid, quirky charm ("She talks about bowel movements! And periods! She keeps it real!") and rush to expand it to fill another book. So Here's the Thing... felt derivative, but o I enjoyed Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? (seriously! I gave it four stars on Goodreads, which is a big deal for me). I was excited to read her sophomore effort, but wound up finding it pretty disappointing. So Here's the Thing... felt like a bungled attempt to distill Mastromonaco's candid, quirky charm ("She talks about bowel movements! And periods! She keeps it real!") and rush to expand it to fill another book. So Here's the Thing... felt derivative, but of Mastromonaco's own work (I don't know if that's possible, but I'm running with it). It was more poop and period stories, but without much substance. It felt rushed and incomplete and, as a result, I found the whole book annoying and myself less inclined to be forgiving of its errors (including the two times in "The Meow Cat Has Claws" where Mastromonaco refers to Forever 21 (the fashion retailer) as Century 21 (the real estate franchise). Ugh). YOU CAN'T BUY AFFORDABLE CLOTHING OF QUESTIONABLE QUALITY AT CENTURY 21, ALYSSA! THEY DON'T SELL CLOTHES!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allie Larkin

    I loved Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book and I love this one even more. It's fantastic in audiobook form because her conversational, approachable style makes listening feel like spending time with a dear, big-hearted friend. She's open and honest about things we don't often discuss -- from bodily functions to hurt feelings -- and shares empowering perspective and solid advice. I loved Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book and I love this one even more. It's fantastic in audiobook form because her conversational, approachable style makes listening feel like spending time with a dear, big-hearted friend. She's open and honest about things we don't often discuss -- from bodily functions to hurt feelings -- and shares empowering perspective and solid advice.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I can't really tell who the audience for this book is. Some of the life advice Alyssa offers (always carry tampons with you, only gossip with people you trust) seems fundamental enough to be aimed at girls in their teenage years, but then the references to 80s/90s pop culture and jam bands and hard rock make me feel like it's for an older crowd. I don't know if the book really works for either audience. A lot of things felt like filler, like lists of Alyssa's favorite songs and what she keeps in I can't really tell who the audience for this book is. Some of the life advice Alyssa offers (always carry tampons with you, only gossip with people you trust) seems fundamental enough to be aimed at girls in their teenage years, but then the references to 80s/90s pop culture and jam bands and hard rock make me feel like it's for an older crowd. I don't know if the book really works for either audience. A lot of things felt like filler, like lists of Alyssa's favorite songs and what she keeps in her medicine cabinet. The inclusion of a list written by someone who used to work for her about the passive-aggressive things Alyssa used to say ("it's fine", "whatever") and their translations ("It's not fine", "I'll do it myself") seemed completely out of place and didn't seem to serve a larger narrative purpose or theme. A lot of the pieces didn't have a real structure, and kind of meandered to a conclusion. The book also ends really abruptly. There were a couple essays I liked, and I especially appreciated her frank discussion on living with IBS, because we still have such a taboo around talking about these kinds of bodily functions. And as a fellow cat person, I enjoyed hearing about all her cats and how they had entered and changed her life. Her reflections on why she doesn't plan on having kids, and the bittersweetness of seeing her friends have children, felt real and insightful and like a perspective we don't hear from all that often. Overall, this was fine, with some special standout moments. But there's no central message or theme running throughout the essays, and a lot of content fell flat for me. I do appreciate her humor and voice, but I think I prefer it in the context of podcasts and interviews.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elysse

    I was so lucky to have won this giveaway and read from the brilliant mind of Alyssa Mastromonaco. I absolutely loved her wit and charm which shone through on these pages. Alyssa, who has worked for several politicians, is a breath of fresh air. Her humorous stories remind us that to err is human, and that even Obama dances like nobody's watching. She shares her vulnerabilities, both hysterical and dark, in a way that is relatable and highly entertaining. I felt as though I really got to know her I was so lucky to have won this giveaway and read from the brilliant mind of Alyssa Mastromonaco. I absolutely loved her wit and charm which shone through on these pages. Alyssa, who has worked for several politicians, is a breath of fresh air. Her humorous stories remind us that to err is human, and that even Obama dances like nobody's watching. She shares her vulnerabilities, both hysterical and dark, in a way that is relatable and highly entertaining. I felt as though I really got to know her, and wished we were sitting around, having a glass of wine and chatting. I have not have the privilege of reading her other book, another work that I look forward to reading as soon as I am able. I can't get enough of the wit!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    So Here’s the Thing... I really wanted to like this book as I’ve been a long-term AM fan club member but I am unsure about what I’ve just read. The first book offered some great insights into what it takes to work in politics, maintain #joblove and ensure you’re not taking yourself too seriously. 5*! But I don’t know who the audience is for this book - a collection of random essays, interviews with celebrities, lists of items (?). It is written in AM’s easy-to-digest (Do you see what I did there So Here’s the Thing... I really wanted to like this book as I’ve been a long-term AM fan club member but I am unsure about what I’ve just read. The first book offered some great insights into what it takes to work in politics, maintain #joblove and ensure you’re not taking yourself too seriously. 5*! But I don’t know who the audience is for this book - a collection of random essays, interviews with celebrities, lists of items (?). It is written in AM’s easy-to-digest (Do you see what I did there?) style but lacks depth. I will most likely still buy AM’s next book and keep on liking the heck out of her social media posts but this book just didn’t do it for me. 2.5* ♥️

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peg Harrington

    I normally wouldn’t finish a book that I thought was a 3-star...but....I did finish it. So here are my takeaways. 1. This book might’ve been life-changing for me had I read it in my mid-20s. (That was a loooooong time ago.). It is definitely written for a younger audience. And that’s why I gave it 3-stars. It really didn’t grab me—I’m not the intended audience. 2. Alyssa is a great cat/pet owner....I can tell from the footnotes. 3. When you’re starting out in a career, good mentors are invaluable— I normally wouldn’t finish a book that I thought was a 3-star...but....I did finish it. So here are my takeaways. 1. This book might’ve been life-changing for me had I read it in my mid-20s. (That was a loooooong time ago.). It is definitely written for a younger audience. And that’s why I gave it 3-stars. It really didn’t grab me—I’m not the intended audience. 2. Alyssa is a great cat/pet owner....I can tell from the footnotes. 3. When you’re starting out in a career, good mentors are invaluable—and probably, in many cases, largely a matter of dumb luck.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I had this out of the library, renewed it twice, and just couldn't make myself finish it. My criticisms of it are similar to those of the first, which I did finish and give three stars. I was there for the Obama era stories, was impressed by the important role she played in the White House, and felt there was too much self-deprecation and details about her IBS and partying. I wish she had written one book entirely about her WH career and one with everything else. I had this out of the library, renewed it twice, and just couldn't make myself finish it. My criticisms of it are similar to those of the first, which I did finish and give three stars. I was there for the Obama era stories, was impressed by the important role she played in the White House, and felt there was too much self-deprecation and details about her IBS and partying. I wish she had written one book entirely about her WH career and one with everything else.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Alyssa spends a lot of this book saying you can't mold your life after wanting to be someone else when you grow up. But I kind of want to be her. Alyssa spends a lot of this book saying you can't mold your life after wanting to be someone else when you grow up. But I kind of want to be her.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alisa

    Enjoyed. Eagerly awaiting a future book exclusively about the Persian rescue cats!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Brewington

    I loved loved loved this book. Alyssa and Lauren are amazing. Would recommend to anyone

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Yes, good. Once again, I just so deeply appreciate women with a background in public service sharing about their lives.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    An enjoyable, relatable, and quick read. I enjoyed her humor and honesty. The essay about not having kids was what I needed

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Some good insights and passion shared here but overall not as good as first book. Would have liked more insight into changing careers than advice about updating your resume.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    This is a really fun book of essays. It's focused a lot more on pop culture than politics, so if the fact that it's written by President Obama's former deputy chief of staff is a stumbling block, don't let that keep you from enjoying it. But as much as I love talking about pop culture, it's the political essays that I liked the most. Alyssa is a little bit older than I am, and the chapter on Monica Lewinsky is probably my favorite in the book. When that scandal was happening, I was a teenager and This is a really fun book of essays. It's focused a lot more on pop culture than politics, so if the fact that it's written by President Obama's former deputy chief of staff is a stumbling block, don't let that keep you from enjoying it. But as much as I love talking about pop culture, it's the political essays that I liked the most. Alyssa is a little bit older than I am, and the chapter on Monica Lewinsky is probably my favorite in the book. When that scandal was happening, I was a teenager and I didn't pay that much attention. I'm pretty sure my attitude was roughly the same as everyone else's (somewhat anti-Monica, making fun of her looks and that dress; very little feeling about Bill Clinton's responsibility/culpability in the whole thing) which I'm ashamed of now. We didn't really think about power differentials in the 1990s and we certainly didn't do things like hold men accountable for their actions. (We barely do that now!). But I'm better now. I also loved her brief list chapters (things in her bag and things on her nightstand, etc.). I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love lists. I love making them but I also love reading other people's. I guess it's just interesting seeing what other people care enough to write down? (Or type, I guess; lists on paper can be rare now.) This is a fast read, and I hope to read her first book soon. I have it; I just haven't read it yet. (That would be the first sentence on my list of things I say most often, btw.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I love Alyssa Mastromonaco on Crooked Media podcasts, so I grabbed both her books for my latest vacation. The first book is mostly a light tale of her career highlighting her time on campaigns and in the White House. It was fine. Not terribly newsy, but a good, light read with some great Obama-team-related stories. This one sort of felt like an unnecessary prologue. I REALLY wanted to like it, and parts of it were definitely amusing. That said, I think it was written for a younger demographic (I' I love Alyssa Mastromonaco on Crooked Media podcasts, so I grabbed both her books for my latest vacation. The first book is mostly a light tale of her career highlighting her time on campaigns and in the White House. It was fine. Not terribly newsy, but a good, light read with some great Obama-team-related stories. This one sort of felt like an unnecessary prologue. I REALLY wanted to like it, and parts of it were definitely amusing. That said, I think it was written for a younger demographic (I'm about 40) than I was hoping. I wanted it to be more stories about aging into the 40s, and it was more geared towards young women just embarking upon careers. Still, some useful information, and I appreciate her candor on her health issues - I think more people need to be real about that kind of stuff. My take on these two books is if you are a total Obama-era-fangirl and want to learn everything you can about that administration, these books will have some fun nuggets. If you're looking for actual substance, you probably won't find a ton here. She's charming and likeable, though, for sure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Wise

    I did not read Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book. Not because I didn't want to, but because I just haven't gotten yet. This book is a collection of essays and stories that are informative and entertaining. Ms. Mastromonaco worked in the Obama White House. She went on to work at Vice and A&E TV. Her stories are funny and sweet. I particularly liked her essay about not having children and being a cat lady. She is honest and refreshingly funny. If you are interested in politics and women and funny s I did not read Alyssa Mastromonaco's first book. Not because I didn't want to, but because I just haven't gotten yet. This book is a collection of essays and stories that are informative and entertaining. Ms. Mastromonaco worked in the Obama White House. She went on to work at Vice and A&E TV. Her stories are funny and sweet. I particularly liked her essay about not having children and being a cat lady. She is honest and refreshingly funny. If you are interested in politics and women and funny stories, this is the book for you. Word of caution, if you are a Trump person, you may want to skip this book. And if you follow my reviews, I highly doubt you are a Trump person. But just so you're warned. I won this book from goodreads and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bazzett-Griffith

    I genuinely like Mastromonaco's voice and her cowriter makes her stories absolutely come alive. Reading her essays in this book is not similar to her first memoir that focused more on her work in the Obama administration, in that she seems much less stressed, even in her writing, and much more approachable (probably the weed). Was there much in here that anyone needs to read? Probably not. But I'd love to share a drink or a meal with this rescue-supporting powerhouse of a woman and pick her brai I genuinely like Mastromonaco's voice and her cowriter makes her stories absolutely come alive. Reading her essays in this book is not similar to her first memoir that focused more on her work in the Obama administration, in that she seems much less stressed, even in her writing, and much more approachable (probably the weed). Was there much in here that anyone needs to read? Probably not. But I'd love to share a drink or a meal with this rescue-supporting powerhouse of a woman and pick her brain on various topics both political and musical. Four stars- exactly the kind of book I needed this week.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I don't know how I heard about this book or what prompted me to put it on my hold list at the library, so I was surprised when I went to pick up my holds and it was there for me. I enjoyed it. I'm glad I didn't read the reviews on it before I started it or I probably wouldn't have read it at all. Given that most of the other reviewers said that they really liked her first book and not so much this one, I've downloaded that one to see what I think in comparison. I found this to be an easy, enjoya I don't know how I heard about this book or what prompted me to put it on my hold list at the library, so I was surprised when I went to pick up my holds and it was there for me. I enjoyed it. I'm glad I didn't read the reviews on it before I started it or I probably wouldn't have read it at all. Given that most of the other reviewers said that they really liked her first book and not so much this one, I've downloaded that one to see what I think in comparison. I found this to be an easy, enjoyable memoir, and I'm glad I picked it up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I really enjoyed Mastromonaco’s sophomore effort. Listening to the audiobook felt like talking to an older sister or a good friend, and personally I enjoy that style of memoir. I’m also definitely in the target audience for this book, so it might have resonated with me more than some others. I especially enjoyed the chapter on having kids, because I don’t think I want kids, but also still often feel the societal pressure that I should want kids and to hear her explain her own struggles with that I really enjoyed Mastromonaco’s sophomore effort. Listening to the audiobook felt like talking to an older sister or a good friend, and personally I enjoy that style of memoir. I’m also definitely in the target audience for this book, so it might have resonated with me more than some others. I especially enjoyed the chapter on having kids, because I don’t think I want kids, but also still often feel the societal pressure that I should want kids and to hear her explain her own struggles with that really stuck with me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    Alyssa is the type of person I strive to be. She’s a smart, no nonsense person with a life experience that has taught her how to sort of “master” life. Anyone who reads this book is lucky to walk away with some big perspectives and small life tips that could change everything. I felt like I was sitting in a room speaking with a friend whom I consider a mentor the whole time I was reading. Highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    This was such a fun, fast read. Alyssa is hilarious and i think maybe my spirit animal. I loved her first book so was so excited that she was putting out a second. I probably liked the first one a bit better just because it was a bit more detailed about her life and work (probably my fav Obama staff “memoir”). This one had some great stories. I especially appreciated the chapter on her thoughts about motherhood.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This was a quick, fun read. No really, I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this book, so be warned if you are in public while reading. I read Mastromonaco's first book, and while that was more focused on her time working in the White House, this was a lot more personal, and had advice and tips without seeming too preachy. I love hearing her on podcasts - she's so sharp - and that definitely carries over into her writing as well. Would recommend! This was a quick, fun read. No really, I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this book, so be warned if you are in public while reading. I read Mastromonaco's first book, and while that was more focused on her time working in the White House, this was a lot more personal, and had advice and tips without seeming too preachy. I love hearing her on podcasts - she's so sharp - and that definitely carries over into her writing as well. Would recommend!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Not quite as compelling as her first book, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. She has a great voice, and some fun stories where she tries to share some advice. I think this is written for an audience younger than myself. I've learned most of these lessons; sometimes the hard way. But, I still enjoyed reading her musings. Not quite as compelling as her first book, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. She has a great voice, and some fun stories where she tries to share some advice. I think this is written for an audience younger than myself. I've learned most of these lessons; sometimes the hard way. But, I still enjoyed reading her musings.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cooper

    So here's the thing....I really enjoyed Alyssa's first book. This book....not so much. Instead of hearing the challenges she faced during her time in the public sector we get to hear about her IBS, how sad she was when Brad and Jen announced their divorce, and her shitty taste in music. Not sure what this book was supposed to be about, but it's just a long rambling mess of nothing. So here's the thing....I really enjoyed Alyssa's first book. This book....not so much. Instead of hearing the challenges she faced during her time in the public sector we get to hear about her IBS, how sad she was when Brad and Jen announced their divorce, and her shitty taste in music. Not sure what this book was supposed to be about, but it's just a long rambling mess of nothing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    D Dyer

    This was a fun collection of essays but honestly there wasn’t anything here that I haven’t seen before in other places. Neither the insights offered nor the writing style were particularly distinctive. I appreciated the authors willingness to expose herself in many different ways but she somehow managed to do that without ever seeming to offer any vulnerability.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Honiball

    This was a fun, easy read. It's more of what I expected than Mastromonaco's first book - it's some advice sprinkled with anecdotes tossed with personal tidbits. It's not a life-changing read, but if you want to learn more about how to succeed, put yourself out there, and own your shit, it's a good one to pick up. This was a fun, easy read. It's more of what I expected than Mastromonaco's first book - it's some advice sprinkled with anecdotes tossed with personal tidbits. It's not a life-changing read, but if you want to learn more about how to succeed, put yourself out there, and own your shit, it's a good one to pick up.

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