Today I’m sharing my thoughts on a recent nonfiction release, Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager.
Jenna Bush Hager, the former first daughter and granddaughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author, and coanchor of the Today show, shares moving, funny stories about her beloved grandparents and the wisdom they passed on that has shaped her life.
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.
In this moving book, Jenna remembers the past, cherishes the present, and prepares for the future—providing a wealth of anecdotes and lessons for her own children and all of us. Poignant and humorous, intimate and sincere, Everything Beautiful in Its Time is a warm and wonderful celebration of the enduring power of family and an exploration of the things that truly matter most.
“As long as I’m alive, my grandparents will not be forgotten. . . . I hear their voices in the letters they sent me and in my memories. They offer comfort, support, and guidance, and I will listen to them always.”
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This is a poignant piece of nonfiction for every person who has loved and lost a grandparent. Jenna Bush Hager candidly shares her beautiful relationships with her grandparents with the reader through stories from her life, lessons and “rules”, witty and hilarious escapades of her childhood and, in turn, her children’s antics. Her perspective and experiences lend humanity and stir empathy for the persons behind the public persona of the Bushes and shed light on the less-publicly known members of her family. Threads of both her personal and her family’s faith are prominent and natural for Jenna to share, as were her relatable moments of grief and hope.
Reading this book was a special experience for me, as I spent time with my own mother while reading it aloud (mostly on short car rides!). I admit to reading through tears at times, rereading funny moments, and treasuring the time spent with my own mother as Jenna shared her stories of motherhood and laughter.