This was a Book Club Selection for April at my local library. I put off reading it until the last minute mainly because I thought it would be dry. It was not.
The first thing I’d say is that it is a very readable book. Very easy to read and I love that Ms. Brower didn’t offer her own opinions or try to speak for the men and women she interviewed.
Even after having been to the White House and been on the tour, I had no idea what goes into running such a huge house, and I also had no idea exactly how big it is. Way over the three stories I had thought!
We hear what working at the house means through the memories of the maids, butlers, chefs, florists, doormen, plumbers, secretaries who have worked there through multiple administrations. They are the house. The first families are really just renters for however long they are there.
I’m not sure I could work in such a place where every four to eight years, on a day’s notice, you had a new family living with you and you had no idea what they were like and you couldn’t really grieve the loss of the outgoing family.
If you want to know what some of our first families are really like in private you must read this book. However I found the memories of all those who have served generation after generation to be much more compelling. The pride in what they do. The professionalism they maintain day after day. It is definitely a juggling act!
The poignant moments when Mrs. Kennedy returned from Dallas with her blood stained pink suit, that was a truly tender moment that spoke volumes about the characters of the staff and of Mrs. Kennedy.
It was not shocking to me that some of the First Ladies weren’t as nice as they appeared.
I think you should all read this book! I actually read it out loud to my friend as I kept saying, ” Oh, my, listen to this!” He finally said, just read it to me.
Great job Ms.Brower! And great job to those men and women who keep out White House running so flawlessly!