I am unsure of why I waited so long to read (listen to) this memoir by the Bush twins, but wow, it has saved me from an audiobook slump and crops are growing. This book is so in my wheelhouse it isn’t even funny. A memoir by celebrity/political figures? Narrated by the authors? With heart-warming and funny stories that are going to make me super nostalgic? Sign me up.
Told in 32 chapters that usually alternate between Jenna and Barbara, though they often both contribute to a chapter, They cover their lives pretty chronologically, from their birth to around 2016. As of the publication of the book, their grandmother Barbara Bush was still alive, so it was a sweet to hear how they talked about her. I really loved the story they told about when Jenna was pregnant and HW Bush was in the hospital and she worried he would die and never get to meet her baby and Barbara kept going “Why are you crying? He’s going to meet the baby!” That is where the audiobook soared: in their vocal narration of scenes like that. Text on the page can’t do it justice. They talk about growing up as twins and their bond as sisters as well as attempts to differentiate themselves. They also, importantly, don’t shy away from the hard topics like they’re partying years and their relationship with the media and their parents during their teen years.
They also talk about 9/11 and their own experiences following it. I was really moved by Barbara’s discussion of finding out over the radio in her dorm room at Yale (my alma mater) and being taken to a motel off the highway to be kept safe. Similarly, the discussion of going to the World Series Game where George W Bush threw out the first pitch but was concerned it wouldn’t be as good of a throw because he was wearing a bulletproof vest really broke my heart. Even a single mention of 9/11 makes me cry, but I thought this was well-done and tied to to their own experiences and not just the loss for our country.
I also loved hearing about Jenna dating at the White House and her courtship with Henry Hager, especially when Marine One almost landed on his car. She also talks about her pregnancies very candidly and tells the most HILARIOUS story about her water breaking. I won’t spoil it here, but I laughed out loud. It was amazing and I love when people who can seem really prim and proper reveal stories like that. Barbara also talks about why she *wasn’t* married at the time and how she has such high expectations for love because of her family’s great love stories which makes her recent marriage to Craig Coyne so exciting. Also, I’m soo soo glad HW lived long enough to come to her wedding. Pics below because I’m obsessed.
Overall, this was an amazing book and I’m so glad I paid $4.95 for it during the Audible sale last week. The chapter lengths are perfect (less than 20 minutes, mostly) and I loved loved loved it. I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you don’t love GOP politics, this book is more than that. It’s about young women coming into their own in a spectacular family of love and wow, I really want George W to text me motivational emojis every morning. I’ll just go cry now.