White House Wild Child

White House Wild Child by Shelley Fraser Mickle

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for White House Wild Child:

Whoa, oh, sweet child o’Teddy.

Quick synopsis:

A look at the life of Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter (and renowned hellion) Alice Roosevelt.

Fact for Non-History People:

Teddy bears are named after Teddy Roosevelt because of his love of hunting.

Fact for History Nerds:

How “in demand” was Alice? In a 15-month period, she attended 407 dinners, 350 balls, 300 parties, 680 teas, and made 1,706 social calls.

My Take on White House Wild Child:

It’s amazing how the definition of “wild” back in the days of Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow today. However, Teddy’s daughter, Alice, certainly lived up the title of this book, White House Wild Child by Shelley Fraser Mickle.

The book is ostensibly focused on Alice, but a fair amount of the page count does cover the lives of Teddy, his wife Edith, and his sister nicknamed Bamie. Mickle points out that she is normally a novel writer which gave me pause. Often, someone used to writing novels will try to “spice up” history books and it comes off very forced. Luckily, Mickle’s prose is easy to read without feeling like she is desperately trying to keep me entertained. She has an eye for detail and the highlights she needs to hit are here.

I will say the book falters in two places. Mickle tries to interject both a bit of psychology and today’s norms into the story. What is on the page does not really support the paths Mickle tries to go down. This leads to the second problem which is when Mickle tries to get into the head of one of the characters. There are a few times where I wholeheartedly disagreed with her projections, and it could be distracting. That said, this is still a fun read and Alice certainly deserves the spotlight she so desperately craved.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Charlesbridge Books.)


A fun read! Buy it here!

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