For nearly 25 years, Huma Abedin has had a front seat to history and unforgettable and notorious events.
Sometimes it was in her role as a staffer and trusted adviser for former First Lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton or her role as vice chair of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Other times it was because of the tribulations caused by her ex-husband and former congressman Anthony Weiner that relentlessly thrust her in the public eye.
Last Friday evening, Abedin once again returned to Chappaqua to sign copies of her memoir released last month, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds,” at Scattered Books on King Street. A long line of admirers snaked through the crowded store waiting for a chance to get a brief message and autograph written by Abedin in their copy of the book, a selfie and even ask a question or two.
After a quarter-century of working for Clinton and being the subject of speculation and derision and the butt of jokes by late-night television comics, it was time for her to tell her story, she said.
“I’ve been in public service for 25 years, I’ve worked for somebody who’s been in the public eye and I really felt for a long time that other people were telling my story, saying what I thought or believed and I thought it was time to write my own history, and I really enjoyed the process,” Abedin said.
It took her about two years to write the book, which she said was done in various bursts. Despite facing all the slings and arrows, Abedin seems to be remarkably comfortable in her own skin.
She said it was her ability to ignore the noise and focus on doing her job and what mattered most to her.
“For most of my adult life I tune out the negative,” Abedin said. “I wouldn’t read any of the negative stories. After a while, I realized I had a lot of things to say.”
At 554 pages long, Abedin did have a lot of things to say and felt that this was the right time to get them out.
“I did have a lot of thoughts and opinions and I did have a great, rich history, my family, my parents’ life and my grandparents, I really wanted to talk about that, I really wanted to talk about and enjoy writing about,” she said.
Abedin, 45, was born in Kalamazoo, Mich. but spent most of her childhood in Saudi Arabia where her parents, both natives of India, were offered positions at the university in Jeddah. She returned to the United States to go to college.
This was the second time within the past month that Abedin made an appearance in in town. On Nov. 17, she was interviewed as part of a program at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. Two visits to Chappaqua in a short timespan is fitting since she has traveled to the community many times in her various capacities working for Clinton.
“This is a town, an environment, an area that I felt so connected to because for 20 years this is where I started my up-at-4 a.m., get coffee at Lange’s or Starbucks, walking around town and feeling a real sense of community,” Abedin said. “I share in the book growing up having a community was so important to me and I really feel here, I feel really loved and supported in this environment.”
Scattered Books owner Laura Schaefer said she just resumed in-store book signings for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Last week was Schaefer’s first major book signing.
“I’m hoping that that starts to come back again,” she said. “It’s different just reading a book but when it’s more of an immersive experience, my goal is always to have this store be a destination somehow.”
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/