Book signings can be a major production filled with a slew of moving people and parts. But then there’s a Hillary Rodham Clinton book signing at Harvard Book Store.
There were at least 15 secret service agents at HBS Monday evening. Probably more. The security pat down and scanning was airport quality. Hundreds of people of all ages waited outside in a line that went from Mass. Ave. down Plympton Street, across Bow Street, and then up Linden Street. A “Ready for Hillary” truck was parked out front. People who didn’t have tickets to enter the event lined up across the street to get a peek. There were Hillary 2016 signs, people selling buttons, and of course a few protesters. But in Massachusetts, a state that is seen as one of the most liberal in the nation, supporters clearly outweighed opponents.
While the crowd had a pretty even male-to-female ratio, that was not the case inside. While it seemed like all of the secret service agents were men, most of Clinton’s aides were female. Even Huma Abedin was there. It must be exhausting for her team to secure each and every stop on Clinton’s book tour (future locations include Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin), but the presence of all her attendants signified that Clinton has a strong support group of dedicated aides and colleagues.
Mrs. Clinton was 30 minutes late to her book signing in Cambridge, which she graciously blamed on traffic on the Pike, as well as her two previous signings that day in Toronto. Her latest political memoir, Hard Choices, describes the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, her four years as Secretary of State, and the hard choices that she and her team had to make each and every day.
Professional critic reviews of her nearly 700-page tome are mixed, but as Politico pointed out, when it comes to the everyday layperson, the Amazon reviews have become more of a battleground for people to express their political views, rather than actually reviewing the book. And by the way, Hillary loyalists, you’re losing that battle.
While Mrs. Clinton did not speak to the press (besides her apology for being late), we did chat with some people who were anxiously awaiting her arrival.
Tara Metal, a 26-year-old writer from Somerville, was impressed that Clinton chose Harvard Book Store. “I think it’s fantastic that she’s doing this event at an independent bookstore,” she said. “There are plenty of larger corporate options in the Boston area, and she chose a historic store that’s very important to the Cambridge and Boston communities.”
Carrie Howland, 50, of Shrewsbury, was carrying a “Ready for Hillary” sign under her arm. “I have a child with Down’s syndrome who has some complex health care needs, and I first testified for the Lifespan Respite Care Act that then-Senator Clinton introduced in 2005,” she said. “I testified in Washington D.C., volunteered for her campaign in 2008, and everything she stands for hits home. Some people think it was recent for her, but back in the ’70s she was one of the first people going door to door to fight for the right for my son to go to school. So it’s very personal.”
Some people in line had worked on her campaign six years ago, like Jaclyn Corriveau, a 23-year-old from Peabody. “I was too young to vote, but I would have voted for Hillary,” she said. “I hope that she runs. I think it’s really important that we show young girls that it’s possible, and not just for old white men.”
Others went to the event to give the book to someone else. Kevin Gin, 31, of Somerville was one of the first people in line and he waited more than an hour. “I’m getting this book signed for my dad for Father’s Day,” he said. “He’s a Clinton fan and I got Bill Clinton’s book for him for Father’s Day a few years ago, so this is his belated Father’s Day gift from me now, to give him the set. [The wait in line] was totally worth it.”
The ticketed event was sold out and some people waited for hours just trying to get in, like Greg Packer, 50, of Huntington, N.Y., who was holding a sign that said, “Anyone have one extra ticket for today’s book signing with Mrs. Clinton, please? Thanks so much.” He did not get any offers. “She has to know that the people are still behind her. She’s brought the crowds out in the past, and she’s bringing them out again. She can win. Seeing this crowd here, she knows she can win. And it’s not just in Boston, it’s all across the country.”
In the end, most people were there to see a former First Lady, a former Secretary of State, a pantsuit enthusiast, and a darn good Tweeter.
“Her career is remarkable, and certainly as a women, she’s a really important person to see in those roles,” said Janicanne Shane, 31, of Quincy. “And just knowing how important she is on the world stage, it’s a really incredible opportunity just to see her in person.”
—Additional reporting by Victoria Baena
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2014/06/17/hillary-clinton-harvard-book-store-signing-hard-choices/
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