The world mourned the loss of Barbara Bush, former First Lady of the United States, mother of a president, and literacy advocate, when she passed away in April of 2018. The world watched as her husband of more than 70 years, President George H W Bush, adjusted to life without her. Now though, we can look back on their happiest times together with the new book: George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story.
George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story is a must-read not only for lovers of politics but lovers of love. It tells the story of their 70+ years together, from separation during World War II to raising their children together, and even losing a child together, through the world of politics and back to the real world once more. It’s the kind of memoir that you’d want your family to write for you, because this is written by family. The author, Ellie LeBlond Sosa is George and Barbara’s granddaughter. She got to view their legendary love up close. This isn’t the typical memoir full of anecdotes, it also features letters between the two, interviews with Bush family members who knew them best, and even a forward by George W. Bush, their son. This book came out in early June of 2018. It is the perfect memorial for George and Barbara’s love story, one that has inspired and will continue to inspire for years to come.
As someone who knows a bit about the love story of George and Barbara Bush, what I enjoyed most about this book in particular was how intimate it felt, being written by someone who got to see their love story first hand. This isn’t their love story told by people who watched them on TV or while in the White House. This is their love story told by people who got to see them eating breakfast at their summer home in Maine and reminiscing on the early days of their marriage over dinner or at the wedding of their granddaughter.
I particularly loved the little asides in the chronological prose that would show the author, Ellie, reflecting on that moment in real time. In writing about the early days of their courtship, Ellie asks her grandmother if it was love at first sight in which she says “Yes, it was for me.” When she asks if her grandfather felt the same way, Barbara told her “You’ll have to ask him.” It’s little moments like that that allow us to see into the true nature of their family and their marriage. It makes us appreciate it so wholeheartedly as the nation rallies around George H. W. Bush and prays for his continued health and happiness even though he’s no doubt missing Barbara something fierce.