Eleanor and Hick
By, Susan Quinn
I actually finished this book a while back, but it still sits vividly in my mind. I still don’t quite know what to think about it. I found it a fascinating read and about a woman I didn’t previously know really anything about. And shamefacedly the only thing I thought, was that she looked a bit frumpy for a first lady. What a judgement to make when I didn’t know her and hadn’t read a thing about her. Purely a judgement based on a few photographs I’d seen.
My sister-in-law mentioned this book to me and thought I would like it. I really did enjoy it. I felt like I learned so much more about American history. Things I didn’t know and wasn’t taught in grade school. Or if I was taught them I completely forgot!
One big thing that stood out to me was the fact that the US government was pushing President Roosevelt to get involved in WWII. Eleanor too thought it was an atrocity that we needed to help with. However, the American people were still recovering from WWI and were VERY ANTI-war. The President and First Lady delayed because they were trying to walk the fine line of leading a nation and also doing what needed to be done.
However, World War II, is not the focus of this book. The author is making painting a picture of what it was like for Mrs. Roosevelt to be first lady and the challenges that came with it and how she rose to the occasion. A large focus of the book is presenting the seeing facts that Eleanor Roosevelt had a female romantic relationship with the campaign reporter Lorena Hickok, AKA Hick. She references letters they wrote back and forth, the fact that they were often inseparable, enjoyed spending a lot of time together, traveled together, and bought a house together.
I’m not sure what I think. I do think that female relationships were very different then than they are now. Women were much closer and would hold hands walking about town, and lived life together and in community more than the current times. I also know that Eleanor had a failing marriage and she took comfort in a close female relationship.
The case that Susan Quinn presents is thought provoking, but not water tight. She does state that they had a romantic relationship, but there is no proof that there was anything physical. I found the book very interesting and I enjoyed feeling like I was getting to know this woman a bit better. She really was extraordinary as leader and caring for humanity.
Read the book and see what you think. If you do, please let me know what you think! I’d love to know!