Just days after the release of her memoir, Spoken from the Heart, former First Lady Laura Bush seems determined to speak from her heart as she was unable—or unwilling—to do during her husband’s presidency.
On “Larry King” on Tuesday night, she spoke openly about the differences she has with her husband on gay marriage and abortion, something many had long suspected.
As Sady Doyle says in a comprehensive Atlantic essay, these differences of opinion were “eerily predicted” by Curtis Sittenfeld in the 2008 novel American Wife. (Read our interview with Sittenfeld about the book.)
It’s a somewhat shocking statement for a First Lady who, like most First Ladies, stuck to supporting uncontroversial issues like heart disease and literacy while her husband was in office. These opinions are not included in her memoir, which despite a few revelations about her youth, mostly sticks to the conventional persona we saw during the Bush years.
How much of this silence was due to the constraints of being the First Lady, and how much to her personal code of loyalty or manners—one topic she does express strong opinions about in her memoir, as Elaine Showalter points out—is unclear. I doubt we’ll ever really know. Sittenfeld couldn’t even convincingly imagine the answer to that question, which was my one disappointment with the otherwise excellent American Wife.
Have you read either book? Will you? Does this news change your opinion of Laura Bush?