Top critical review
An ego trip, plain and simple
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2020
Believe me when I say that I have been a fan of the Bush family for decades. That began to wane over the past several years when it became obvious that Jenna Bush Hager was in over her head as the co-host of the fourth hour of the Today Show. While many others let it be known on social media that they thought Jenna had landed the job simply because of her name, I defended her, certain that over time, she would improve. Finally, though, I could stand it no longer as she continued to make (and be excused for) on-air misstep after misstep. Her butchering of the English language, including simple grammar, mispronunciation of common words, and complete unfamiliarity with guests' names (most recently, "Eena Garden"--the Barefoot Contessa) brought my admiration to a screeching halt. To think that she was supposedly a teacher borders on horrifying.
Ad nauseam, this book was promoted by ALL hours of the Today Show and elsewhere, as an ode to Jenna's grandparents, supposedly highlighting for would-be readers the elder Bushes' "lessons in life", so to speak. Unfortunately, there are precious few direct, meaningful references to those lessons--or even to George and Barbara Bush themselves. Instead, the focus is on Jenna and Barbara--their childhood, marriages, children--with no relevance whatsoever to their grandparents. 99.9% of this book is comprised of stories Bush followers have heard or read many times before.
George H. W. Bush was brought up by a mother who taught him not to use the word "I" so often and to make others the central part of his story. He learned that lesson well and remembered his mother's advice throughout his entire life. How sad that his granddaughter isn't following suit.
In addition, Jenna's narration is dreadful. As viewers of her show witness every weekday, she is overly dramatic, craves attention, and with a voice that purposely becomes gravelly at times she deems appropriate, is often the verge of self-induced tears. She exaggerates ridiculously, something even her mother, Laura Bush, has admitted more than once when she has appeared with Jenna. No wonder Mrs. Bush stated on live TV that she is not a regular viewer of her daughter's show.
Jenna's writing ability is no better than her studio demeanor. I've never been so disappointed in a book and/or audio--and yes, I purchased both, just as I did "Sisters First". I am sorry to say that there is simply no way I can recommend this title.