Progressive Rep. Cori Bush tells readers at the beginning of her book that it won’t be a typical political memoir. She’s right: Her unflinching style, combined with the fact that most members of Congress have lived very different lives than Bush has, sets The Forerunner apart.
Bush sets the tone early, opening with a scene in which she is raped. She goes on to recount a string of abusive relationships and violence, her period of homelessness, miraculous healings on the streets of St. Louis, and coming to faith in God.
She describes her family, her upbringing, and how experiencing racism harmed her early as a student, and later in the workplace. She remembers the chaos of protesting in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. And she writes about campaigning unsuccessfully for the Senate and the House before winning her current seat, Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, in 2020. Bush, a Democrat, became the first black woman to represent the state in Congress.
“If telling my story helps others in positions of power better understand how their decision making affects regular, everyday people, people like me, then my own self-exposure is worth it,” Bush explains of her approach to the book.