12 Nov Book Review: Sisters First
*I was sent Sisters First in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
When I was asked to read and review Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, I was so excited. One of my continuing reading goals is to read books about or by each individual United States of America President. Inevitably, over the last year, I enlarged my goal to include first ladies as well. But after reading Sisters First, I realized I was missing out by not also expanding my original goal to the children of presidents as well.
I like reading about our country’s presidents – where they come from, what they were passionate about during their presidency and what drove them to running for president in the first place. When I read books about First Ladies, I’m struck by how they act with such grace and refinement. But it is the children I’m probably the most intrigued by.
Growing up, I remember watching President Clinton’s presidency (at the tender age of 8 years old) and wondering about Chelsea. What was it like to be a kid, while your dad was the president of a country? What was it like to be in the limelight that came with your dad’s job? When George W. Bush became president, I wondered again about Jenna and Barbara. I just wanted to know WHAT WAS IT LIKE? Of course, it should come to no surprise that the questions remained the same for Malia and Sasha when President Barack Obama became president. Even now, glimpses of President Trump’s son, Baron, make me wonder, what is it like?
So, I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to read Sisters First. I feel like I finally got some answers to my questions. My curious nature can be somewhat satisfied. Not too mention, I have two sisters and while we aren’t twins, we are very close. I am thankful for our inside jokes, our disagreements, our accountability and our fun memories. So, I was also excited to read a book about the relationship dynamics between two sisters. Especially between two famous sisters.
Here is what I can tell you: Sisters First is an extraordinary memoir type of book about growing up in a famous family. Instead of focusing on their dad and grandfather both holding the title of President of the United States of America (don’t get me wrong – this is discussed), Jenna and Barbara write candidly about their lives growing up. They talk about the differences in being twins, the bond in sisterhood, and their strong family connections and memories. They share struggles they’ve faced, adventures they’ve taken and how family and family values shaped them to be the women they are today.
You can tell Jenna and Barbara are incredibly close; Sisters First is so well written that as the narrative switches from Jenna to Barbara or from Barbara to Jenna, you don’t really notice. They each praise their sister’s accomplishments. Their memories are uniquely their own, shared by individual as well. They celebrate both their twinness (I think I just made up a word, but go with me) and their individuality. And most importantly, they bring incredible rich humanity to such a well known family. Instead of thinking of Former President George H. W. Bush as President Bush, you think of him as “Gampy”. Speaking of grandfathers, the chapter devoted to Jenna and Barbara’s Pa (their mother’s dad) is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. You feel how Jenna and Barbara loved him dearly and miss him terribly.
Yes, Sisters First is clearly a book about sisters. But it is also about so much more. Somehow, Jenna and Barbara weave family stories and sister bonds and they take readers past the political aspect of their family, and they just share life stories of twin girls. It’s so beautiful and it’s really fun (There were several parts that made me laugh.)! I hope you will grab a copy of Sisters First, it’s a great read!
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