Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter and granddaughter of presidents, is host of NBC’s Today Show’s fourth hour. She’s married with three kids, and in the span of about 18 months, lost her three remaining grandparents. Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is her story of those grandparents, and how their lives and lessons help navigate her own today.

From the publisher:

“To the world, George and Barbara Bush were America’s powerful president and influ­ential first lady. To Jenna Bush Hager, they were her beloved Gampy and Ganny, who taught her about respect, humility, kindness, and living a life of passion and meaning—timeless lessons that continue to guide her.

In Midland, Texas, Jenna’s maternal grandparents, Harold and Jenna Welch—Pa and Grammee—a home builder and homemaker, lived a quieter life outside the national spotlight. Yet their influence was no less indelible to their granddaughter. Throughout Jenna’s childhood and adolescence, the Welches taught her the name of every star in the sky, the way a dove uses her voice—teaching her to appreciate the beauty in the smallest things.

Now the mother of three young children, Jenna pays homage to her grandparents in this collection of heartwarming, intimate personal essays. Filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable stories, Everything Beautiful in Its Time captures the joyous and bittersweet nature of life itself. Jenna reflects on the single year in which she and her family lost Barbara and George H. W. Bush, and Jenna Welch. With the light, self-deprecating charm of the bestselling Sisters First—cowritten with her twin sister, Barbara—Jenna reveals how they navigated this difficult period with grace, faith, and nostalgic humor, uplifted by their grandparents’ sage advice and incomparable spirits.”

A few weeks ago I reviewed Sisters First: Stories From Our Wild and Wonderful Life written by Jenna Bush Hager and her fraternal twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush (you can read my review of that book here). I’m completely non-partisan when it comes to my book reading. Just because Bush Hager comes from a political family doesn’t mean she doesn’t haven’t anything important to say.

There were a couple of stories in that stood out to me. “I have bigger fears now. One is that people will judge me either positively or negatively because of my family. I worry that people who take issue with my father’s policies will believe he and I agree on everything politically or that I have to answer for his decisions. I worry, too, that people who love the Bush family will be extra nice to me or provide me with opportunities only because of my bloodline.” You tell ’em, Jenna! You are your own person, not your father’s, not your grandfather’s, not anyone’s but your own. She then goes on to tell of a discussion with her NBC colleague Maria Shriver, who is an Emmy-award winning journalist for 40 years, is often reduced to simply being called a “Kennedy”. Apparently presidential families can’t carve their own path to some.

Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is a love letter to her grandparents, two of whom the public knows well, and two we don’t. Each of them had strong personalities imprinted on their children and grandchildren. The bulk of the book is spent reliving memories of her grandparents, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, but also her maternal grandmother and namesake, Jenna Welch. Welch spent the past decade fighting dementia, so those stories are extra-poignant.

I thought some stories from Sisters First might be repeated in this book, but that’s not the case. There are many more memories of her family’s time together in Maine and Texas and at the White House, as well as a look at Jenna’s life now. It’s clear that the Bush family is a close one, and letting us peak inside the life of presidential families is appreciated.

For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com

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