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Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life Hardcover – October 24, 2017
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"Deeply personal, emotional and often funny...―People
"In this funny and heartfelt memoir, the twin daughters of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush offer their perspective on growing up in the public eye...Readers will be entertained by this charming, wild, and wonderful pair of life stories."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This illuminating work from the daughters of one of America's most well-known families offers a satisfying behind-the-scenes look into the personal side of politics."―Library Journal
"An enjoyably nostalgic scrapbook stocked full of memories from twins born into a political dynasty."―Kirkus
"The two first daughters emerge as surprisingly well-adjusted, intelligent young women with strong family bonds in this insightful look at life inside the White House."―Booklist
About the Author
Jenna Bush Hager is a correspondent on NBC's Today Show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, written after she served as an intern with UNICEF in Latin America. She also co-authored the children's books Our Great Big Backyard and Read All About It! with her mother. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New York.
Barbara Pierce Bush is the CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, an organization that mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC has mobilized almost one thousand young leaders who believe health is a human right and who take an innovative approach to solving some of the world's biggest global health challenges. Previously, Barbara worked at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and Red Cross Children's Hospital in South Africa, and interned with UNICEF in Botswana.
Top customer reviews
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Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager are the twin daughters of former president George W. Bush and granddaughters of former president George H.W. Bush. They grew up in West Texas and both currently live in New York City, where they lead lives that are both separate yet entwined at the same time.
Sisters First is written from both of their perspectives. Some chapters are written by one sister while others are written by both. They share stories of them growing up that show how different they are yet how much they love each other and depend on each other because there are some things that only sisters can understand. I enjoyed their stories about growing up under the hot West Texas sun and the wonderful memories they have of their family trips. They also talk about what it was like to have a father run for president and then to live in the White House. I loved how the entire Bush family seems so real and they all have such wonderful bonds.
I LOVED this book! It's hilarious, heartwarming, and emotional and the beautiful combination made this a quick and very enjoyable read. I enjoyed the pictures in the middle and Barbara and Jenna just seem like such real, down-to-earth people, ones you could meet anywhere. Since I have a sister, I was able to relate to some of their stories and it also opened my eyes to the unbreakable bond between my twins (they are only four but I can see some of what was written in this book in them). If you are looking for a good book about sisterhood, I highly recommend this one! I loved it so much I'm considering purchasing my own copy!
I will also say that I got this book via a Kindle book sale, so I didn't pay full price... if I had paid the full retail price, my review might have been a bit less generous.
Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, with foreword by Laura Bush
Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life
Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover, 978-1-5387-1141-5 (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 256 pgs., $28.00
October 24, 2017
Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life is the new memoir from twin sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, daughters of former United States president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, who penned the foreword, and of whom Barbara writes, “beneath her flats and cardigans, my mom is in fact our closet hippie and Rastafarian.” Written in the thirtysomething siblings’ alternating voices, the first-person narrations are sometimes gregarious, sometimes introspective, often deeply personal — gently but firmly casting aside stereotypes, and drawing back the curtain on what have already been extraordinary lives.
A very pretty book, the memoir includes many cute, candid photos of the sisters and their parents, as well as the extended Bush clan. In a nice touch, it also includes reproductions of letters (grandmother and former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush’s nickname is the “Enforcer”), texts, emails (grandfather and former U.S. president George H. W. Bush signs himself “Grampster”), and even wedding toasts. The title is borrowed from the concluding line in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day.”
The memoir is arranged loosely in chronological order, but more importantly by subject, the text reading like essays, almost like diary entries. Subjects include the sisters’ experiences of Secret Service protection; the election night of 2000; campaigning in 2004; the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; and thoughts on the Iraq War. They don’t shy away from their father’s former alcohol problems or their own youthful transgressions.
Jenna and Barbara are fraternal twins who arrived a few weeks early and were named for their grandmothers, and whose earliest memories are from Midland, Texas, and Kennebunkport, Maine. The sisters’ different personalities come through clearly.
Barbara, the “little girl [with a] big name” (pizza places would hang up on her when she called to order), writes lyrical descriptions of Maine childhood summers, movingly of a teenage friend’s suicide, hilariously of living with Secret Service protection (“Who better to ask for male relationship advice than the two guys sitting in the front seat of the car with you?”). She debunks assumptions that policies and opinions are passed down genetically (“political DNA”).
Jenna tells of the sisters’ first separation when they were six years old and went to Camp Longhorn during the summer, her confusion at seeing the Grampster on the cover of Newsweek branded with “Wimp,” and that time her date (now her husband) ran out of gas on an incline and rolled backwards into the Secret Service’s armored Suburban. Jenna endears with self-deprecating asides.
Now Jenna is married with two small daughters of her own, reporting for NBC; Barbara is the CEO and cofounder of Global Health Corps, which works for health equity around the world because “health is a human right”; the sisters live four blocks from each other in New York City.
And, y’all, the White House is haunted.
Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.