Book Review: Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg

For the sake of transparency, I was a budding fan of Pete Buttigieg before reading his book, “Shortest Way Home, One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future,” published by Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, New York © 2019. I wanted to better know and understand this person who is running as a candidate for the position of President of the United States.

Shortest Way HOmePete Buttigieg is currently serving his second term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. As described from the book jacket, Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar and Navy veteran. He was educated at Harvard and Oxford. Before serving as mayor, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey, a management consulting firm specializing in “diverse talent, cutting-edge thinking, and accelerating business growth” per the firm’s website. Pete lives with his husband, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg in South Bend, Indiana with their rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.

Already this gentleman has an impressive background for this reader and for transparency purposes, Independent voter.

Even if you are a reader who is not politically motivated, but enjoy memoirs, this book is for you too. Mr. Buttigieg writes beautifully. He takes you into his world of coming into his own and a city coming out of the devastating loss of industry. The reader can see through his eyes new opportunities for hope in a divisive country. Pete humbly and honestly shares the story of himself and of America particularly the Midwest.

This book is under the literary category of city planning and urban development. But I read this book as a memoir and I am typically hesitant of the truthfulness and accuracy of memoirs. Yet, I must admit I cannot help believe Pete Buttigieg when shares the story of his interactions with then Governor, Michael Pence. He approaches everyone including Michael Pence with the honest and earnest attempt to understand and meet the other person where they have shared values.

As someone raised in Michigan near the automotive capital of the world, I read this book with the hope of a younger generation who appreciates and understands both the cultural and economic history of this country. After reading this book, I believe Pete gets it. He is a humble, intelligent, young man who has served not only the residents of South Bend, Indiana but the citizens of the United States.

Could his story be the blueprint for possibly healing our fractured country?

This book did hold a surprise for me. I won’t share it with you because I believe that everyone should read this book and continue to follow the rise of this young political star. However, I will give you a clue. This book brought me to literal tears in more than one way. Pete Buttigieg is not the only star in this book. My new hero is Sherri Glezman (I feel tears as I write these words even now.)

Lastly, how can you not like a guy who rescues dogs? I always say, I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like animals.

Hoot 1-5 Rating

This book receives a resounding 5 Hoot Rating from The Blogging Owl.

“Shortest Way Home, One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future,” by Pete Buttigieg.

5 Hoot Rating.jpg

Happy Reading!

Head shot 2019 - revised

The Blogging Owl

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(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

I like watching Jake Tapper as anchor of State of the Union on CNN. He is also CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the anchor of The Lead Jake Tapper. Not only is he a respected reporter, he is also the author of four books, including the New York Times bestseller The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.

The Hellfire ClubTo be honest, I have not read his previous four books, but I like Jake Tapper. I think he is an honest reporter and a capable anchor, so I was interested in reading his debut political thriller, The Hellfire Club published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., New York, New York.

The book, The Hellfire Club is set in the 1950’s about a secret society and a freshman Congressman by the name of Charlie Marder. Charlie Marder is a World War II veteran and academic that clearly seem in over his head or perhaps just naïve unlike his father’s connections who helped him attain his unlikely seat in Congress.

Charlie’s wife, Margaret pregnant with their first child. She is not your average 1950’s housewife, but a zoologist who is studying the wild ponies on Susquehannock (in reality, the island name is actually Assateague) Island in Maryland. Little does Charlie and Margaret know that both of their worlds will collide as this political secret society has their own ways of getting things done in Washington.

A Slow Start

Firstly, when I read a book, any book, I do not flip through it nor do I read any portion of the book before I begin reading the first page through to the last page. (I’ll explain in just a moment.)

Jake Tapper’s debut thriller starts out slow, so slow that in this reader’s opinion, the reader doesn’t begin to feel the tension mount until about two-thirds of the way into the book. But I must confess I took issue with Mr. Tapper’s liberties with history. In fact, I have a bone to pick beginning on page 124:

“They stopped at the crosswalk of Independence Avenue, where the driver of a red convertible Mustang honked at them.”

Do you see the transgression in that sentence?

The automobile, the Mustang did not make its’ debut until April 17, 1964. The story was set in the 1950s. Do you know why that bugs me so much?

I grew up in Michigan. I live right outside of Detroit, The Motor City. My father worked for a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company and we only had Ford cars and trucks in our driveway growing up on the farm. Another reason this faux pas annoys me is that I have always wanted a Mustang convertible, 1964 model painted Ford blue. (Are the readers in Maryland a little miffed about Assateague Island miscue?)

Another point I took issue with was the name of an industrial company that Charlie Marder did not want to receive federal funds because of the company’s rubber seal failed in the gas masks by soldiers in France particularly one young private named Rodriguez.

The name the author gave that company was Goodstone. Obviously, a name merged from two real tire companies named Goodyear and Firestone. A little cheesy in this reader’s opinion.

Okay, I know this all sounds silly but these examples annoyed me for a good portion of reading the book. It interrupted the pleasure of reading what could be a good story.

A Fast Finish

I finally got over those two issues along with some other historical facts and timeline liberties about two-thirds of the way through the book when the story really began to build tension and suspense. Although as a mother and without giving anything away regarding the ending, I once again had to extend my belief of a pregnant woman sloshing through the deep water alongside galloping horses.


Jake Tapper comes clean at the end of the book in his epilogue of sorts in which he states, “To state the obvious, The Hellfire Club is a work of fiction.” While I knew that the book was a work of fiction, I was still miffed about the liberties he took in creating his novel. It is in this Sources section that he goes chapter by chapter outlining such liberties.

Okay, now I feel better, at least he is going to confess to the reader how he really does know the Mustang made its debut in 1964. Wrong!! But he does share with the reader the other historical liberties and sources he used in creating his political thriller including the ponies of Assateague Island.

I forgive you, Jake Tapper. I do think this is a good debut novel and perhaps it would not have seemed too slow of a beginning or too fast of an ending had I not been so incensed about the Mustang convertible.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Historical

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper earns a 3 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 3 one half hoots

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter@TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved


Type “Amen” and Share

The Blogging Owl Muses

January 20, 2017:  

deep valley
the shifting shadows

January 21, 2017:  

power of women
never underestimate
mother’s wooden spoon

January 22, 2017:  

an old wound
fingering the scab
a blind eye

January 23, 2017:

rise and shine
a tea kettle whistles
sparrow’s song

January 24, 2017:

shutting off
social media
alarm clock

January 25, 2017:

we all stand
at God’s judgment seat
the front row

January 26, 2017:

folding thoughts
this morning’s laundry
into words

January 27, 2017:

off Facebook
tired of scrolling
my last post

Cleansing my spirit

Over this past week, I could no longer stomach the endless parade of unoriginal thought on Facebook. The endless sharing of memes that either are supposed to inspire agreement or share in the hatred that is abounding in this nation all became too much for me.

January 28, 2017:

cleansing the spirit
facebook fast



The Facebook platform has allowed us (I’ve included myself in here as well) to voice our own definition of character.  This is’s Definition of Character.

And I wonder if we would have the same fierce fortitude to voice, and in some cases, vomit all our thoughts physically in front of the other person(s) rather than behind a faceless electronic device. There have been so many times I have erased a post or a retort to another’s post before hitting the post button. And there have been other times where my left hand physically grabbed my right wrist while saying out loud, “Take your hands off the keyboard!”

My insightful friend, Lyn says, “We can choose to be offended… or not.”

I love that insight if what is being said is directing to me personally.  But what if what is being said is being directed toward the vulnerable?  I’m only musing here.


Original thought is dead

But it isn’t what people type out so much, that is, if they were really trying to be thoughtful in explaining their position or points of view, but it’s all those damn memes!

Memes are NOT funny!

I don’t care if you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Star Wars fan, whatever…

Memes are NOT inspiring!

I don’t care if you have the most beautiful daughter or love you son, then SAY IT in your own words! I will not think you are conceited, or whatever…

Memes are NOT original!

And NO, I won’t type “YES,” or “AMEN,” and I certainly won’t share it. Furthermore, I won’t pass on to the next ten people to a prayer to cure cancer – not because I don’t want to cure cancer because 100% of people I know are already praying for a cure anyways.

Okay, memes may be okay to you but not to me. So I spent most of my time on Facebook just scrolling, scrolling, and scrolling.

Seeking first to understand and to be understood

And the non-stop news article posts!

OH! For the love of scotch! (Yes, I am guilty too.)  I posted an article within 2 hours of President Trump being sworn into office about the FHA withdrawing lowering their fees which would have given access to affordable housing to more people. My day time job is in mortgage operations where we had just received the FHA compliance bulletin in our office. Yet! Someone responded by saying it was probably fake news! And another posted that they were only withdrawing the fees that had not yet taken effect. Ah, excuse me? Compliance rules require disclosing new fees if the mortgage closing will occur after the fees become in effect. There are compliance timing rules.

Now, of course, the average consumer may or may not understand this element but rather than posting a comment why not post a question?  “Why does this article upset you?”  Why don’t we seek to understand first rather than vomiting ignorance through our keyboard? (Yes! I am including myself in this group too.)

It’s your Facebook Wall, post whatever you want.

Just keep scrolling. And in the words of my friend, Lyn, I again offer her advice again, “You can choose to be offended, or not” and risk being unfriended or blocked.

I have un-friended friends and family because they were incessant on telling me what I should post or told me I must delete a post where the content of my post had nothing to do with them personally, or even insinuated anything they personally (to my knowledge) may have been involved.  Some were unfriended simply because they were abusive to other Facebook friends who posted on my timeline.

My Facebook future

I am not sure when, or if, I will be posting to my personal Facebook wall again. The political climate is just too hateful, unoriginal thought is too mind numbing, and it is hurting my mind, body, and spirit to just keep scrolling. I’m choosing not to be offended by stopping and getting off the Facebook bus.

I will still be posting to my writing Facebook page, The Insomniac Writer – The Blogging Owl. Writing feeds my soul and God feeds my spirit.

You can continue to find me here on my blog and on my other blog,, on Twitter @thebloggingowl and @prayerprompts.

Peace out!