Picks and Pans Review: Barbara Bush
Surprise! There are some juicy tidbits in this biography of the First Lady—in the form of recipes for "Bar's" favorite tea party cheese puffs and pecan tartlets.
There are also plenty of dog stories, a slew of anecdotes about the White House White Hair and many quotes attributed to admiring friends and family members. Author Kilian (What Was Watergate?) writes that while she was not able to interview the First Lady herself, Mrs. Bush's White House Press Office was of great help. Hmmmm. The upshot is, if you thought Barbara Bush was a nice, down-to-earth, spunky woman, this book won't change your mind. By all accounts, Mrs. Bush is also intelligent and generous, a loyal wife, a good mother, a tireless campaigner and genuinely dedicated to her work on literacy.
Kilian covers the tragic loss of the Bushes' 3-year-old daughter, Robin, to leukemia, in 1953, and mentions that it was during this time that Barbara's hair turned white. The book touches ever so lightly on Mrs. Bush's depression in 1976 after her husband became CIA director. It hints that Mrs. Bush may hold some different opinions from Mr. Bush, but what they are you won't learn here.
Pure frosting, Barbara Bush is a determinedly shallow glance at a woman who, the reader suspects, has a lot more to her. (St. Martin's, $19.95)
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