Laura Bush's Memoir: Potboiler or Pablum? | NBC New York

Laura Bush's Memoir: Potboiler or Pablum?

First Lady's book will probably be as polite and unrevealing as its author

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    Mrs. Bush is a classy lassie, which makes for a good First Lady and a boring memoirist.

    Poor Laura Bush has spent eight grueling years in the White House, far from her beloved Texas margaritas and cigarettes, waiting patiently to leave while her husband started all those wars.

    She seemed like such a likable person, with her affection for mysterious rectangular objects known as "books" (they are like the Internet, but boring) and her championing of women's rights in many non-American locations. Since she just announced she sold her memoirs, maybe we'll finally hear straight from the woman herself what it was like to be married to the guy who ruined America forever.

    Mrs. Bush met with a number of editors and publishers recently to give her pitch, and Simon & Schuster ultimately prevailed in a two-day auction for her yet-to-be-written book.

    The selling price was "undisclosed," which is fancy publishing parlance for "one billion dollars." Hillary Clinton made $8 million when she sold her First Lady book, and even Bush-era has-beens like George Tenet got multi-million-dollar advances. Combine the attraction of a former First Lady with the walking disaster that was the Bush Administration and you're sure to have a page-turning potboiler that flies off the shelves. Right?

    Well, maybe not. Some publishing insiders fear that the First Lady's memoir won't contain anything even mildly controversial or revealing. Sheelah Kolhatkarwrote recently in The New Yorker that:

    Another publishing executive said that some of the editors who met Mrs. Bush were hoping to find “that she’s a closet Democrat, like in the Curtis Sittenfeld novel.” (Sittenfeld’s novel “American Wife,” which was purported to be inspired by Mrs. Bush’s life, portrayed the First Lady as passionately pro-choice and periodically agonizing over her husband’s hawkishness.) When the publisher who went to the White House was asked what impression of Mrs. Bush’s politics he came away with, he sighed and said, “You got the sense she’s just like him.”
    Oh right, Curtis Sittenfeld's novel! The one with all the dirty sex and the lesbian grandma and suchlike! Yeah, that's setting the bar a little high for the actual Laura Bush, who is far too discreet and dignified to talk about anything that yucky in the definitive book on her life.

    And that is precisely the problem: memoirs are only good if their writers completely debase themselves and confess to drug addiction, sex addiction, war crimes, or lesbian grandmothers. Obviously Laura Bush won’t be going down that road. Therefore, everyone should just save the $30 they planned to spend on Mrs. Bush’s memoir and read American Wife instead.

    Sara K. Smith also writes for Wonkette, when she isn't working on her memoirs.