Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spoken from the Heart

I've just finished Laura Bush's memoir Spoken from the Heart. This is the first autobiography of a first lady that I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, so much so that I purchased two other first lady autobiographies while we were traveling and will be reading those soon.

The book follows Laura Bush's life from birth through the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency with a short chapter at the end about her thoughts on their first year of life after the White House. The book is very well written, and as she discusses her life, she also includes historical information about the areas and events that occur. She discusses numerous individuals that she worked with, visited, and often became friends with throughout her lifetime. She is compassionate and easily finds the good in everyone. From the little that I knew about her, I already liked and respected Laura Bush, and after reading this book, I admire and respect her even more. My only disappointment was that she really did not talk about a relationship with the Lord. She does mention attending church and that she eventually regained her faith after the devasting car crash in which she was driving and the driver in the other car (a high school friend) was killed, as well as often stating something like "we did what we could, we prayed." She does mention numerous times about George W. Bush's commitment to prayer and her comments led me to believe that his relationship with the Lord was more of a personal one. [Of course, these are just my speculations based on the book. There may be reasons, personal or political, that her faith and beliefs were not addressed in the book. I don't truly know their hearts as the Lord does, and I continue to pray that our leaders will follow the Lord.]

Since Texas is home, I especially enjoyed reading about her life growing up in Texas and the initiatives she worked on as first lady of Texas. As a teacher, I also appreciated her tales about being a young teacher and then a school librarian. And her whirlwind romance with George W. Bush, meeting and then marrying within three months, resonated with me since Robbie and I also had a rather short engagement. She has a deep passion for books and literacy, themes which began early in her life and continue today.

I was fascinated by all that she accomplished and participated in during her years as the first lady of the United States. I also learned an immense amount of information about life in the White House. The book includes quite a bit of historical information about past president's lives as she discussed renovations and preservation of items in the White House. She did a wonderful job of portraying the every day life of a first lady.

She candidly discusses the events surrounding the September 11th attacks and portrays what life was like during the days and months following, many times being rushed to the below ground shelter because of the threat of another attack. I learned new information from her descriptions of the many countries she traveled to and the many dignitaries, royalty, and ordinary people that she met along the way.

My favorite passages are the ones about her relationship with her husband. She repeatedly said, "We are anchored to each other." I think that is a beautiful way to describe a strong marriage. I have a tendency to say that Robbie and I are joined at the hip and do not like to be apart, but I think I just might have to adopt this phrase!

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