One of the more mysterious characters from President Obama's 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father is the so-called 'New York girlfriend.' Obama never referred to her by name, or even by psuedonym [sic], but he describes her appearance, her voice, and her mannerisms in specific detail.But Byers overlooks the introduction to Dreams from My Father (see p. xvii of the 2004 paperback edition):
But Obama has now told biographer David Maraniss that the 'New York girlfriend' was actually a composite character, based off of multiple girlfriends he had both in New York City and in Chicago.
"During an interview in the Oval Office, Obama acknowledged that, while Genevieve was his New York girlfriend, the description in his memoir was a “compression” of girlfriends, including one who followed Genevieve [Cook] when he lived in Chicago," Maraniss writes in his new biography, an excerpt of which was published online today by Vanity Fair.
Though Dreams From My Father is an autobiography, and hence non-fiction, Obama makes no mention of this "compression," nor is their [sic] any note by the publisher, Broadway Books. In fact, Obama only acknowledged the "compression" after Maraniss learned that Cook had no recollection of some of the events at which Obama said she was present.
For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I've known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.