Jenna's Story: A New Author Steps Forth
On Book Tour, Bush Faces the Press, Public
Saturday, September 29, 2007; Page A01
Jenna Bush wants to clear up this pregnancy nonsense right now.
The president's daughter is installed in a meeting room at the Hay-Adams Hotel, a stone's throw from the White House ("I don't think of that place as home!"). She's agreed to sit for her first-ever extended newspaper interview to talk about "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," her new book for young adults.
The book is a nonfiction account of the struggles and triumphs of a Latin American teenager born HIV-positive. Bush says she's hoping to "start a dialogue" with young Americans about HIV/AIDS and other hurdles -- poverty, abuse, lack of education -- that confront millions of children worldwide.
Her name, she knows, gives her an enormous platform from which to do so.
Having stepped onto that platform, however, she also knows that other subjects will come up.
During a conversation lasting almost an hour and a half, she will field queries about topics as varied as her wedding plans ("We're thinking about a Las Vegas wedding! I'm just kidding!") and her thoughts on the war in Iraq, which has been dominating the September headlines.
Right now, she's discussing the image that has clung to her ever since her first year in college. That's when a couple of citations for underage drinking gave her and her twin sister, Barbara, who was cited once, reputations as out-of-control party girls.
She didn't like being defined that way, she says, but she wasn't willing to give up her privacy to try to reshape public perception.
She's 25 now. Does all this still bother her?
"I guess I'm over it," she says. "But we also -- we don't read anything. Because if you read all of these things, you would just feel terrible."
She doesn't Google herself?
"No way ."