Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Laura Bush

An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady

I read the magazine profiles; I was familiar with the biographical outline. Only child, Texas native, ordinary upbringing, tragic car accident, school teacher & librarian, met George at a barbecue, married in her thirties. And I had a sense that Laura Bush was pleasant, reserved, and good, and that her husband adored her. But what was missing? What is the real deal?

Surprise. She is what I thought she was. Oh, the picture is fleshed out a little. But Ronald Kessler writes no rabid expose or tabloid speculation piece. He is friendly, completely uncritical. That would bother me if there weren't already Stepford-Wife biographies out there; many people are happy to dismiss Laura Bush as subservient and--shudder!--traditional. Kessler does not quote the family, but he quotes many of Laura's close friends, apparently from lenghthy interviews. The Laura Bush portrayed is warm and spiritual, who has grown from her White House experience, and who is a devoted mother. And I get the sense that in her marriage, there are two strong people who love, respect, and tease each other with warm delight.

So, if Laura Bush is a mystery to you, read on. But if you're looking for the inside scoop, you already have it. Laura is what she appears to be: that forgotten icon, a lady.


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