I seriously took too long to finish this book... Anyway, here it is!
Lorena “Hick” Hickok didn’t have it easy from the start. She was abused, separated from her sisters, lost her mother at a young age, and lived in poverty. Now, she has worked hard, and as a journalist, she was tasked to report on Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential campaign. Hick grows closer to his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, and is asked to move in the White Houses where she is labeled as the “first friend.” As the years go by, they, as individuals and as a couple, undergo different experiences and encounter challenges that just makes them stronger. It isn’t until the death of dear Franklin that really ignites them and proves their love to be true.
Amy Bloom’s portayal of Hick’s life and realationship seems close to reality, even though it is just a fictional account. I like how she wrote the backstories of Lorena’s life, especially during her time with a traveling circus. Gosh, I love that part. For me, that was the best part of the book because it was where she knew more about herself.
The way Amy wrote the words was precise. I admire the way she plays with them and is able to insert some witty remarks in her sentences, here and there. The writing was one of the reasons why I liked the book because it made me feel like I was actually there, years ago even though I’m living in the present. Each character was beautifully written and had their own distinct characteristics.
I was just slightly confused with the lack of quotation marks in the flashbacks because sometimes I can’t distinguished which ones are supposed to be said by a person. Another thing that confused me was that the parts weren’t divided “approriately” (I guess). Sometimes, I just think that there were chapters that could’ve been cut short and made into a new chapter so it doesn’t add to the confusion, that’s all.
The amazing parts were really the flash backs where there are a lot of, in the book. But being honest, I had some parts where I was reading and felt bored. It’s probably because it slightly involves politics and a few topics wherein you need deeper understanding.
The idea of re-imagining a previous first lady and her “first friend” really fascinated me so I read it. I came for the idea, I stayed for the story. If you like a good gay re-imagine of historical ladies with a hint of drama and politics, I could say you should pick this up.
My deepest thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Amy Bloom for introducing me to the fictional world of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (and for the book)!
Bonus Content: 24 Letter Excerpts From Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok That Screams Gay! (I just saw this while researching and wanted to share it.)