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White Houses
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Archive: Other Books > White Houses by Amy Bloom - 3 stars

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Ellen | 2052 comments In 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt was the governor of New York and running for his first presidential election, a renowned journalist, Lorena "Hick" Hickock, had been sent to cover the politician's campaign. Hick met Eleanor Roosevelt and while not at first much taken with the future first lady, she learned to admire and, in time, to love Eleanor. Once the Roosevelts moved into the White House, Hick resigned her journalism position to become the "First Friend" of Eleanor and took up residence in the room next to her love. Apparently Franklin and Eleanor had a fairly open marriage as their affairs were known to each and accepted. Hick's relationship with Eleanor helped overcome her horrendous childhood. Lorena grew up poor in South Dakota with an abusive father, a mother who died painfully when Lorena was only 13, and nowhere to turn for help. When she left home at 15 she joined a circus as a secretary/receptionist where she learned much of her writing skills she would use in her journalistic career. Her big break came when she covered the Lindbergh baby kidnapping so it was not surprising when her editor sent her to cover Roosevelt's rise to power. Although Hick and Eleanor eventually parted ways, Hick loved her always.

This is a fictionalized account of the romance between Hick and Eleanor. In all honesty, I found the story a bit uncomfortable and that is probably just me. I don't think I needed to know about Eleanor Roosevelt between the sheets. You love who you love and I have no problem with that. It's Eleanor Roosevelt and she just seems like such an icon that I felt like a peeper. It was just ok for me.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments When I first saw this before it was even released, I was excited to read it. But the reviews have all been lukewarm at best and I am for sure not reading it now.


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8164 comments I actually really liked it and gave it four stars! I know the reviews for the choir but I found it really interesting. And probably less from anything resembling a political point of you and more just about the story itself and the internal life experience of Hick.


message 4: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2711 comments Ellen wrote: "In 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt was the governor of New York and running for his first presidential election, a renowned journalist, Lorena "Hick" Hickock, had been sent to cover the politician's c..."

I agree with you, Ellen. And I'd already decided not to read this book.
It's a reasonable speculation that they had a sexual relationship, but that is not the most important aspect of either life. They were exceptional women with exceptional achievements. I believe that it is important to acknowledge the queer individuals in history who contributed great things, but I don't need to know about the intimate details of their private lives. Especially not in a fictional account of fairly recent history. (I'm also not interested in the intimate details of Franklin Roosevelt's affairs.)


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