Friday, January 15, 2021

Book Review: Everything Beautiful in Its Time by Jenna Bush Hager

Pages: 288
Genre: Adult Non-Fiction/Memoir
Pub. Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."


Everyone knows the Bush family, but few really know what it's like to grow up with such famous family members.  Jenna Bush Hager provides us a glimpse into what life was like with her grandparents and shares some adorable anecdotes as well as stories of heartbreak that her grandparents endured.  Whether she is sharing her stories of growing up in the White House or spending time with her former president grandfather at their house in Maine, it was all very endearing.  That's what Jenna does well in this memoir; she shares her stories of her grandparents and tugs on your heartstrings in the process.  Readers who are fans of Hager herself or the Bush family should definitely check out  Everything Beautiful in Its Time. It's a nice reminder of a time when politics wasn't so divisive.

I am right around the same age as Hager, so I could especially connect to her memories of her grandparents, her pregnancies, and her struggles as a mother. Reading her stories was like sitting down at a restaurant and catching up with an old friend. During the time of COVID, this was a nice escape, especially since we are all missing that connection with friends that we used to have. Hager is so heartwarming that at times I even felt an affinity towards her father, whom I have never been the biggest fan of. Sure, I respect him, but he wasn't my favorite president; however, after reading this memoir, it put him in a different light for me.

Hager shares stories about her grandparents in Everything Beautiful in Its Time, which I found very interesting and I was hoping there would be more about them in this memoir. While Hager is adorably sweet, I sort of wasn't as interested in her personal stories as much as I was hoping. When compared to her grandparents' stories, they felt rather ordinary, which I guess is why she is so relatable despite growing up in such a prominent family. Her grandparents were truly remarkable, especially when learning about how much her grandfather (former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush) really went through in their lives. George and Barbara's relationship was beautiful and I loved that Hager included family letters.  Some of the letters brought a tear to my eye. Lastly, the advice from her grandparents, like "nobody likes an overbearing big shot" really hit home, especially in today's political climate.  It made me appreciate the Bush family more than ever.

There wasn't any "new" information in Everything Beautiful in Its Time, but that's not why I read it. I was looking for stories about enduring love, the connection between grandparents and grandchildren, and the importance of family. That is exactly what I got when I read  Everything Beautiful in Its Time and it ended up being one of my favorite non-fiction books of the year.

Did you read  Everything Beautiful in Its Time? Are you a fan of the Bush family or Jenna Bush Hager? Let me know in the comments below. 



  1. I love her books! I'm not really a political person, so I didn't really know too much about the Bush family before I read her stories. I love the way she makes her famous relatives seem so normal and relatable. In the end, they're a family just like anyone else (almost!).

    1. Exactly! Very relatable stories....I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well. Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. I love Jenna, I have always loved the Bushes, and I cannot wait to dig in to this one (the wait list at the Library is finalllllly down). When I read "Sisters First" it totally felt like I was hanging out talking to friends, and also that if we had the chance to meet, we could *actually* be friends. The Bush girls are real - and I think that's so fascinating considering the incredible world they grew up in. I've long been fascinated by/a fan of the family - because they ARE such a family, in spite of everything. Mrs Barbara was such a matriarch, and Laura is a librarian, and they're just such a family unit - a loving unit, that draws strength from each other. I love that, especially in a world where that feels hard to find sometimes. So yeah. Def a fan, and definitely excited to get this one read soon!

    1. Right? I agree. She is very relatable. I loved the stories of her grandparents. So heartwarming! I think you'll love this book--I hope you get to read it soon! Thanks for visiting!

  3. I really loved Sisters First and am excited to read this one!

    1. I think you'll like it--it was so heartwarming! Thanks for visiting, Michele.

  4. I just finished reading this book and also read "Sisters First". It was just nice to read something positive. I do found myself crying, especially in the very short chapter about Jenna Bush Hager's husband and his upbringing.


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