Her heart belongs to Daddy.




The life of the former president viewed through the eyes of his admiring and devoted daughter.

In her literary debut, the former First Daughter finds precious little evil to see, hear or speak—certainly not concerning anyone in her family. Her parents (and grandparents and all other progenitors, clear back to prehistory when the Bushes were still in the trees) were the best. Her brothers are awesome. The author can’t understand why so many in the press hate Republicans. And Democrats are dirty campaigners. Daddy was an outstanding student, a brilliant athlete. Respected and admired and loved by everyone who ever met him. (Lots of people—even Secret Service agents—cried when he left the White House.) John Dean was “an arrogant little creep.” The booming economy during the Clinton years was due to Daddy. So was the fall of the Soviet Union. Iran-Contra was “blown out of proportion.” Newsweek had no business putting that Daddy-is-a-wimp stuff on its cover. Peggy Noonan takes too much credit for Daddy’s speeches. Lee Atwater had no idea that Willie Horton was black. She quotes her father: “All this Anita Hill stuff was transparently phony, in my view.” And Daddy did know how a supermarket checkout scanner worked. Daddy’s heart was broken when a storm damaged the Kennebunkport home. Jeb Bush cried when he thought Gore had won Florida in 2000. Daddy cried when his son won the White House. Daddy and Bill Clinton are now pals, though Clinton’s amity is probably just a ploy to woo some GOP voters. Arnold Scaasi designed a cool salmon chiffon dress for her second wedding. The author shuffles into her daffy deck of history some stories about her own vicissitudes (divorce, re-marriage, travel on the Trans-Siberian Railroad—whose sad amenities she compares with those experienced “in the Siberian gulags”). And with all the testimonials to Daddy she reproduces here, the entire volume becomes a Festschrift, her father’s visage a huge smiley-face.

Her heart belongs to Daddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2006

ISBN: 0-446-57990-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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