Brown talks about book and his run at ‘People’s Library’

Says whole crazy ride beyond his wildest dreams

Senator Scott Brown discussed his memoir with NECN’s Alison King at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Senator Scott Brown discussed his memoir with NECN’s Alison King at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Lisa Kocian
Globe Staff / April 3, 2011

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Republican US Senator Scott Brown ventured onto what some might consider sacred Democratic turf yesterday, during a talk about his bestselling book and his meteoric political career at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Douglas Fish of Southbridge, who was waiting in line with his wife to get Brown’s autograph after the talk, said he definitely took note of the location, the repository for all things Camelot.

“We talked about that on the way in,’’ said Fish. “We were kind of laughing, not that he would come but that they would let him come.’’

Although the venue chose him and not the other way around, Brown and others got some mileage out of the obvious irony.

In his introduction of Brown, Thomas Putnam, director of the library, mentioned Brown’s now-famous line during the campaign, that he was not running for Ted Kennedy’s seat, he was running for “the people’s seat.’’

Putnam got laughter and applause when he quoted Brown’s more recent poke at the political majority in his home state. At the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston, Brown quipped that he would be holding a book signing soon at “the People’s Library.’’

“No matter what you call us, senator, we’re happy to have you here,’’ said Putnam. “The ‘People’s Library’ will always reserve a special place for him and his truck.’’

Brown acknowledged the crazy political ride that vaulted him from little known state senator to nationally recognized political figure. While waiting to start yesterday’s talk, part of the Kennedy Library Forum Series, Brown said, he reflected about how the whole scenario was beyond his wildest dreams.

“I said to myself, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I’m here,’ ’’ Brown told the audience.

Most of the conversation — moderated by Alison King, political reporter for NECN — focused on Brown’s best-selling memoir “Against All Odds,’’ which disclosed sexual abuse by a camp counselor and a home filled with violence and neglect.

One of Brown’s stepfathers has disputed his account, while the senator’s sister and mother have defended him.

The wide-ranging talk also delved into questions about his family and current politics. He declined to criticize President Obama, saying he was more interested in finding common ground and doing anything to promote jobs.

American Idol fans will be interested to know that daughter Ayla Brown has mentioned joining the Marines, after a recent trip to Afghanistan when she sang for the troops there, according to her father. He said he cautioned her to take some time to think it over.

And he even showed his local roots in talking about his time spent at Studio 54 in New York in the 1980s, when he was modeling to make money for law school. Going to the famous club with friends from Wakefield, where he spent part of his childhood, was like going “down to Saugus or the Kowloon . . . or Lansdowne,’’ said Brown.

It was not Brown’s first trip to the library. He said he had been there as a tourist with one of his daughters years ago.

“I was honored,’’ he said of the invitation to speak at the library. “The beauty of this library is they’ve opened it up to all parties.’’

Lisa Kocian can be reached at