My thoughts: American Wife, a fictionalization of Laura Bush's life, is my favorite novel, and I'm fascinated by the unlikely journeys we take in life. I think the journey to first lady (or first gentleman, one day) is one of those that is the biggest leap, and is the most fascinating. When I saw this one available at my library, I eagerly downloaded it. It wasn't quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it.
For such a short audiobook, I feel as though I learned a lot, but it was somewhat uneven. I wished for more first ladies to be featured, but because NPR was pulling from their archives, they're somewhat limited. The early first ladies were featured in interviews with their biographers, and I was eagerly adding to my TBR as I listened. As we move through history, I was glad I opted for audio, as some news stories featured historic recordings of the first ladies. It was fascinating to hear their voices. The more modern first ladies were all featured in interviews they gave, and I appreciated that.
Because I am a frequent NPR listener and have been for many years, I'd heard some of the stories before. Some, however, were from more than thirty years ago, and it was nice to see them get new life in this way. While I enjoyed the in-depth interviews with Barbara and Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama, I feel as though I already know them so well, and I found myself wishing for less of them and more of the first ladies I don't know as well. I could say the same about Roslyn Carter, the only first lady I've had the privilege to spend a day with, but her interview was so frank and thoughtful, I was glad it was included.
The verdict: First Ladies is a nice collection of stories about many first ladies. It inspired me to seek out more information about many of the women featured, as well as information on those who weren't.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 3 hours 35 minutes
Publication date: Feburary 3, 2015
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy American Chronicles: First Ladies from Amazon (no Kindle edition.)
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