I have been reading Laura Bush's autobiography. It's over 400 pages, the majority of it covering the White House years of George H Bush and Laura's husband, George W. The title is Spoken From The Heart, and it's a most appropriate one as Laura Bush tells her story in a heartfelt manner.
The title, however, is lost on the cover. The first thing that catches your eye is Laura Bush in large letters at the top, and way down at the very bottom, you see the title. The importance of a celebrity name takes precedence over the title. That name is what will sell the book, not the title.
I admired Mrs. Bush during her eight years as First Lady and in these almost-two years afterward. For her, I think First Lady was an apt title, as she truly is a lady. Her external femininity didn't always show the strength she has inside. While reading her life story, I've seen how very sensible, yet compassionate, she is, and what a wonderful support she has been to her husband whose eight year term as our president was filled with tragedy and severe criticism by the press and public.
Even those who did not support Mr. Bush through his presidency can find something of interest and perhaps surprise in this book. I doubt, however, that many of George Bush's critics would choose to read the book. When it comes to politics, most of us have our minds made up and set in cement. Maybe we should all take a step back and try to assess things a bit more objectively. Easily said, but ever so difficult to put into practice.
Laura Bush writes in a conversational style, with insight and understanding. She details the tragic September 11th of 2001 and the extremely difficult months afterward. They were months of constantly watching the skies, of being ushered at top speed to the White House bunker, deep below ground, more times than any of us knew. Months of worry, of compassionate outreach to the families of the 9-11 victims and later tofamilies of those who were killed and to the severely wounded in the Iraq War. She lets us see the members of the Administration in a more personal light, bringing out the human side of those who make difficult decisions on a daily basis.
Personal tidbits about the early days of her teaching career, her marriage to the "most eligible bachelor in Midland, Texas" and the long wait to have children which culminated in having two at once. The reader sees Barbara Bush as a mother-in-law instead of the way most of us have known her--First Lady for four years. We learn of the many causes that Laura Bush promoted, as well as investing a great deal of time and love to them. One is The National Book Festival, which is still going on each year in Washington, DC. She worked hard to help the women of Afghanistan.
The pages of family photos and official White House photos are also of interest. Many familiar faces appear in them.
Reading Laura Bush's book is a perfectly painless way to delve back into our recent history and for an inside view of the White House from a First Lady's perspective.