To a fascinated outside world, Huma Abedin has always been the elegant woman standing at the back of the room, not speaking.
An assistant still loyal to her 25-year-old boss, Hillary Clinton for whom she would “walk to the end of the earth”. (Spoiler alert: She always would.) And a still ailing wife of Anthony Weiner who brought him endless public shame in a cascade of scandals. (Spoiler alert: It was as bad as we thought.) Still there and still quiet.
“I’m ready for this,” she told The Associated Press in an interview last week, almost literally rolling up her sleeves in anticipation of the release of her new memoir, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds”, which will be released on Tuesday. . “Actually, I’m not nervous!” Abedin, 46, says she’s finally telling her own story after years of reading other versions, and it’s a relief: “I feel really good.”
In a crammed volume of just under 500 pages, Abedin, born in Michigan to Muslim scholars from India and Pakistan and raised largely in Saudi Arabia, dissects and illustrates three relationships that framed her life.
First: Her family, especially her beloved late father, who died before she entered college and whose advice for being true to herself, scribbled in a handwritten note, begins the book.
The second is Clinton, whom Abedin has served his entire professional life, through the years as first lady in the Senate, from the State Department to that turbulent presidential campaign in 2016, and still today. And third, the section all readers will quickly turn to: her husband. In the book, she doesn’t hold back. She didn’t do it in the interview either.
“You know, he broke my heart,” she said. “He ripped it off and stomped on it, over and over again. And I lived in so much shame for so long, so confused, so alone, not really knowing the way out, just trying to do what was best for me. my child.
The couple are not yet divorced, although lawyers are in the final stages, Abedin said – 10 years after Weiner’s sexting scandal turned his life upside down. Abedin had married the New York congressman, a rising political star, a year earlier and was in the happy early stages of her pregnancy when, she writes, her world came crashing down with an obscene photo Weiner had intended for a woman but sent by mistake. his Twitter feed.
He resigned from Congress, but launched a mayoral bid two years later – an indulgent Abedin at his side – and appeared to be heading for victory when the scandal resurfaced, with more revelations of sexting under the nickname of can’t-make-this-up. Carlos Danger.
And then scandal erupted a third time, when a grim photo surfaced of Weiner lying next to the couple’s son. Abedin announced a separation. But the couple continued to live in the same house, on different floors. Why, asked the tabloids, and others more politely, did she stay?
People will make their own judgement, she told the AP. “But when you’re there, you don’t think in terms of a grand plan. You’re just trying to get through the day. Weiner, she said, was a hands-on dad who picked up and met. And their son needed him.
Of course, that same question – why did she stay? — was thrown at Hillary Clinton during the impeachment scandal involving her husband and Monica Lewinsky. Abedin thinks the world missed the obvious explanation: “She did it because she believed it was the right thing to do for her and her family – and for her country.”
Throughout, Abedin’s unwavering allegiance to Hillary Clinton is paramount. “You left me confused,” she said when asked if the two had ever had a real argument.
Unless you include some mode choices. Like a puffy, unflattering black coat that Clinton seemed to prefer, and Abedin hated it so much she even tried to hide it from him. But Clinton picked him up and carried him to the inauguration of George W. Bush.
There are other humorous moments in the book – like the time the first lady overslept, and an over-eager Abedin, tasked with getting her started on her day, walked into the dark presidential bedroom and woke up her boss. , surprising the sleeping president as well.
There’s also the time Abedin, in the midst of a bad public moment with Weiner, was approached by a woman in a store, pointing to a newspaper photo. She braced herself as always for a hateful remark and was thrilled to realize that the woman simply thought she was Amal Clooney.
Abedin got so used to preparing for bad news that she first thought of calling her book “Bracing.” But nothing could have prepared her for the moment, at the end of the 2016 campaign, when FBI Director James Comey (briefly) reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails because of the emails from ‘Abedin found on Weiner’s laptop during his sexting investigation.
“‘If she loses this election, it will be because of you and me,'” a livid Abedin told Weiner.
When Clinton lost, it was “a big trauma that took me a long time to process,” she says now. “I felt responsible” Eventually, however, she came to believe that the onus should be on Comey. She says Clinton herself never blamed her.
The shame Abedin felt over Weiner’s behavior makes for the most honest and visceral writing in the book. She was investigated by child services. Social invitations have been removed. A neighbor complained when the couple used their building’s swimming pool for their son’s birthday.
And yet, in the acknowledgments of the book, Abedin includes an acknowledgment. To Weiner.
When asked why, she explains that she came to believe through joint therapy that her husband was suffering from an illness, that his behavior was compulsive.
And, she says, he gave her a son – “my reason for living now”.
Finally, and most surprisingly: it is about love. “I know what it’s like to be loved,” she says. “I got it. It was short, it was very fleeting, but it’s quite an extraordinary experience… And he’s the only man who ever gave it to me.
The Independent Gt