Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush
Published May 2010 by Scribner
Once again, my mom's come through with a great review - and just in the nick of time; I haven't been finishing many books lately!
With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few members of Congress. She writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, her public triumphs, and her personal tribulations. Laura Bush's compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady's memoir ever written.
Mama K's Thoughts:
I very much like to read biographies and autobiographies of women that have had an impact on the development of our country. It is not often one reads a biography or autobiography that shares history that matches your own life span and that you well remember and can identify with the characters and actions involved. Thus is the case of Laura Bush’s autobiography, SPOKEN FROM THE HEART.
Laura includes her entire life in this book. I found the first part of it not extremely interesting. In my opinion, there were too many details of things that were not relevant to her life and what she would become. I didn’t care who her parents ate Christmas dinner with, etc. Perhaps if I had been one of those characters, I might have changed my opinion and felt highly regarded to have been included.
The book (at least for me) became far more interesting when she met George Bush and her life became entwined with that family. Here she seemed to have omitted details that would have added more clarity (and perhaps truth) to the book. This is not to say her book was not truthful–just not full and complete with all of the facts. She seemed to gloss over these years, and in many ways, they were the formative years in what would become George W.’s life in the presidency.
As anyone would expect, Laura tended to put a shine on anything that George did, starting with his definite win of the election versus Al Gore. Most of us remember that as not being so shining or squeaky clean. But George is her husband–and I often felt she had written the book to glorify him.
There were several sections of the book that I enjoyed very much starting with the 9-11 attack and the events around that time frame. Details were made available that the general public did not know and I found extremely interesting. There are few people today who will not relate to this section and find it highly informative.
I also was amazed at how much Mrs. Bush did to elevate her husband’s presidency. I think this gives a very good first-hand look at the life of probably almost any of the current first ladies. She was passionate in her likes and worked extremely hard to make things happen that would enhance education and later the life of women in the disadvantaged countries. She had an open door to many of the world leaders and she used this wisely and correctly in order to be able to gain benefits both in education and in health. The First Lady was full of charm, wit, intelligence and abilities and she used them all very well.
Another section of the book that I very much enjoyed was the stories about Camp David. We hear of this all the time but few of us are privy to knowing what life is like there. She did a good job of making this a real place.
Even though I thought the book was a bit too long and perhaps a bit too detailed, I enjoyed reading it. I did not always agree with her assessment of the President, but that was not necessary to find the book entertaining and educational. Laura writes well; perhaps she just needed a better editor with a bit sharper pencil to cut out minor parts.
Thanks, Mom, for an honest and thoughtful review!