Circle Book Group: Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank

We all love a spirited, interesting discussion – and what could be a better source than a funny, visual, story about Barney Frank? Our most recent read was Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank by Eric Orner. For those of you who don’t know, Barney was a loud, progressive, wisecracking presence in Massachusetts and national politics for decades; he was a gay man before one could be “out”, and suffered through a very public scandal; and he was Jewish and working-class – What could be boring?

As always, we began with a one minute “go-round” to get lots of opinions and voices out on the table. Many said they weren’t usually big on graphic stories – but really enjoyed this one!  There were lots of reminders of past times in our Boston lives and politics, and intrigue in recent apparent changes to Barney’s relationships to banking and regulations. The Dodd-Frank bill had been a major, progressive step forward in regulating banks, and now, we had just found out, Barney is sitting on the Board of a failed one – Whew!

And our discussion took off from there!

One of us is a great student, it turns out, of all things “graphic books”, and gave us a tour of the author’s use of color, while others enjoyed the little “side comments” in many panels. We talked about the author’s relationship with Barney – He had worked in his office for many years, and it was intriguing to get an “inside” view.  We looked at his long history as a raconteur and thorn in the side of Republicans, and talked about how he was often rude but always funny. 

And while we like to “stick to the book”, we couldn’t leave without talking about the recent revelations and controversy – wondering how he ended up apparently undermining one of his own, best achievements, alas!

As always, we found plenty to talk about.

All are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! For more information, please go to the Circle Book Group page where we also have a list of the many books we’ve read, in case you don’t already have a big enough pile beside your bed! If you would like to get our monthly announcements, please contact the Circle Book Group co-chairs at bookgroup@circleboston.org

Stay Up To Date!

Sign up to receive our newsletter and our
updates will be delivered straight to your inbox.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Connect With Us

Follow Boston Workers Circle on social media!

Scroll to Top