Thursday, March 8, 2012

"My First Ladies" By: Nancy Clarke Review

My First Ladies
"My First Ladies: Twenty-Five Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer"
By: Nancy Clarke

Synopsis from Amazon:
In this book Nancy Clarke reveals the touching, funny, and illuminating story of what it was like to serve under six administrations and to help each first lady find her own personal style when it came to planning flower designs, state dinners, and holiday festivities in the White House. You'll learn how Nancy gave comfort to Nancy Reagan when she discovered she had cancer and how she helped Laura Bush to gain the confidence to select bright, bold flower arrangements over the more conservative palettes she had used in her first years as first lady. You'll see the deep bond that developed between Nancy Clarke and Barbara Bush and you'll feel what it was like to be standing in a bunker right next to President Bush in the days following 9/11. Only Nancy Clarke can reveal the inside story of what it was like to work for more than 30 years in the White House she called her second home.
My Thoughts:
     Nancy Clarke was the White House Chief Floral Designer for decades before retiring in 2009. She worked through the administrations of Carter, Reagan, both Bush's, Clinton, and the beginning of the Obama's time at the White House. "My First Ladies" tells the tale of her times in the White House and how the flowers, while seeming insignificant, play an important role in White House politics.
     If you are reading this book to get dirt on a First Lady, don't bother. Nancy says from the very beginning that what happens in the White House, stays in the White House. The most negative thing she has to say about any First Lady was about Nancy Reagan, who complained to her that the towels weren't clean enough in her bathroom. I was hoping for a little dirt, but you aren't going to find it in this book.
     The book is an interesting mix of personal relationships and flowers. While the arranging and placement of different flowers for different events was interesting, I found Nancy's personal relationships with White House Staff members and the President's the most entertaining. Each administration has their own quirks and some I found quite interesting. My favorite story was about Hillary Clinton...Nancy was once delivering flowers to her apartments and saw Hillary run naked from the bathroom to the bedroom. Now that's a story to tell the grand kids, I saw one of the most powerful women in the world naked! 
     A sweet, funny, and at times monumental read, Nancy Clarke's book opens the world of flowers. George Bush liked peach roses. Barack Obama said one of his favorite things about the White House is the flowers. Interesting and fun, "My First Ladies," is one of those reads that sticks with you and you love to quote back to friends.

Nancy Clarke is at the far right
Photo taken from:
Product Description
Publisher: Sellers Publishing
Date of Publication: September 21, 2011
# of Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1416206392

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