• New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, in New York on May 11, 2013. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times, via Redux, CHANG W LEE)

    Big Apple

    All Sensibility, Little Sense

    In Christine Quinn’s memoir, the New York mayoral candidate portrays herself as emotional and insecure, writes Michelle Goldberg.

    In With Patience and Fortitude, the new memoir by New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the days following the attacks on the Twin Towers are narrated almost entirely through the prism of her love life. “Reports show that, in the months that followed, people were inspired by September 11 to take a new look at their lives,” she writes. “Some people ended relationships. Others started them. It just so happened that my first date with Kim was the start of the most important relationship in my life.”

    At the time, Quinn was not yet the first female and first openly gay City Council speaker, the second-most-powerful elected official in New York City. She was, however, already a City Council member representing district three, which stretches from midtown to SoHo, less than two miles from Ground Zero. How did the attacks affect her district? After reading her book, I have not the slightest idea. I do know, though, that she met Kim Catullo on a blind date arranged by friends on September 14, that she found her terribly attractive, and that, as she writes, “the next night a whole group of us went out to dinner and then to Bowlmor Lanes for some bowling.” What’s weird is not that Quinn went out during those frightening, charged days—it’s entirely natural that she sought solace in sociability. The strange thing is her choice of emphasis. Ordinarily, political aspirants exaggerate their proximity to momentous events—in this case, the governing of a city in crisis. But With Patience and Fortitude is not an ordinary political book.