Everyone who knows me knows how much I adore reading about, and crying about, the Bush family. The first Republican I ever voted for was George W Bush in the 2004 mock election at my elementary school. I remember, vividly, covering the death of HW as a journalist who couldn’t stop crying every time they showed that picture of Sully laying in front of his casket. I’ve also always had a sweet spot for First Lady Laura Bush and wanted to embody her. Therefore, I’ve read a LOT, if not most, of the books by the Bush family. I’ve read the major memoirs, the biographies, the picture books, and I’ve really loved reading the books by the younger members of the family—especially Jenna Bush Hager.
Now, she’s got a new book out called Everything Beautiful In Its Time, and it’s all about her own memories around the death of her two world famous, beloved grandparents and how that shaped her own feelings on motherhood and aging, and trust me: it’s a treat. Bring a Kleenex though.
As someone whose read a lot about the Bush family, there was a lot of familiarity in this book—lessons from “The Enforcer” and backstory on certain love stories, but this book is not just a regurgitation of old stories with a new, sad ending. Instead,Jenna approaches the death of three of her grandparents within a year through the lens of how it affected her as a mother and how it changed how she viewed her own parents, the aging process, and her role as a public-facing person. This is chock full of sweet, sometimes laugh out loud funny stories about Barbara, George, her daughters, and many others we readers feel like we know ourselves. There’s so much heart in this book, and I think it comes across on every page.
As someone who has followed the Bush twins for years, I especially enjoyed reading about Jenna’s transition from teacher to talk show anchor and how that role was affected by the very public passing of two of her grandparents and a surprise third pregnancy. I was so moved to read about the support she received from coworkers and fans during those times, and her chapter on her third pregnancy and Hoda’s adoption of her second daughter—“everyone gets her baby at the right time.”
Even if you’ve read other memoirs by the Bush family—watched the documentaries, all that jazz—you will still walk away with something from this new book. It’s not just about George and Barbara’s love story, it’s about the lasting impact that love story has had on multiple generations and how those later generations are coping with that stunning loss in moving ways. I don’t even have children myself and was so moved by some of the conversations Jenna had with her oldest daughter, Mila, about the funerals, about losing Gampy and Ganny, and just about the way children view the world with such unique eyes.
Whether you’re a fan of Bush’s politics or not there’s something beautiful about this book. It’s about family, loss, love, and going forward in the face of sadness because of the beauty that reigned before it. Jenna Bush Hager is a remarkably talented memoirist who knows how to make you feel like one of the family, and I cannot wait to hear her press tour for this book, because I know it’s going to be so full of sweet memories.
Everything Beautiful In Its Time is on sale everywhere beginning September 15, 2020.
Future Female Leaders is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.