New from Simon & Schuster

The Perfect Wife

The Perfect Wife

The Life and Choices of Laura Bush

  • reading group guide
  • customer reviews
The intimate and critically acclaimed biography of the much-admired First Lady -- now in paperback with a new post-election Afterword by the author -- The Perfect Wife tells the complete story of Laura Welch Bush. From Mrs. Bush's upbringing in West Texas to her whirlwind romance with George W. Bush to the Governor's mansion to her roles as mother, Bush family member, First Lady, and savvy political campaigner, Gerhart reveals her as never before.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743276993 | 
  • April 2005
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Midland

We feel really fortunate to have grown up in West Texas where I think values are really rock solid. It's not very easy to be pretentious....West Texans will call you down immediately. I think that gave us a really solid base.

-- Laura Bush, in the Midland Star-Telegram, September 5, 2002

She was seventeen, a few days past her birthday in her senior year, a girl with her daddy's car keys. There was a party, on a weeknight. That wasn't much the sort of thing Jenna and Harold Welch let their girl do, go to a party in the middle of the week. But really, Laura was such a good girl, this only... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide for The Perfect Wife
1. What did the title of this book, The Perfect Wife, lead you to think about this biography? Before reading the book did you presume that the author had a particular opinion of Laura Bush? What do you think of the author's opinion now? What kind of woman would you consider a "perfect wife"? Which of Laura's characteristics do you believe the author wanted to call attention to with that description?
2. The biography begins with the tragic death of Laura's classmate. Why do you think the author chose to start at that point in Laura's life? How might the accident have affected the demeanor Laura adopted in later years and the choices she made in her life?
3. The town Laura grew up in, Midland, Texas, of the 1960s, was a deeply segregated community. There were limited opportunities for minorities and for women. How do you think that environment affected Laura Bush? Think about the schools she chose to teach in as well as her choice of career. Also, how do you think her childhood impressions of marriage and the roles of women affect her relationship with George as her husband and as President? To what extent do you believe she adopted the attitudes modeled for her in her childhood, and to what extent has she charted a new course for herself?
4. The author notes that Laura gave up her teaching career when she married George. She also quotes Margaret LaMontagne Spellings, Bush's domestic policy adviser, who offere see more

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