This I Remember Essay - Critical Essays

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt


This I Remember was written for the general reading public. A number of aspects of the book, however, will appeal to teenage readers. Although it cannot stand as a systematic history of either the Great Depression or the New Deal, the book does provide a picture of that era’s human suffering and the presidential administration that responded to it. Roosevelt describes life for the family of a public figure and the situation of an upper-class woman in the first half of the twentieth century.

In many ways, This I Remember is a very personal book. Roosevelt had to cope with raising four children while her husband, though not by choice distant, faced the enormous demands that public office makes on time and energy. She devotes much attention in her book to the problems of parenthood and makes it quite clear that the president never put political matters before the freedom and happiness of his children, even when their marriage failures resulted in divorce.

Roosevelt also offers an interesting portrayal of her role as hostess at the White House. Although she came from an upper-class background, she had no experience in formal entertaining on the scale expected of the First Lady. She gives enormous credit to the staff of the White House for making the social aspects of her role go smoothly. What comes through very clearly in her amusing tales of problems and disasters averted is that her unassuming, gracious manner helped guest...

(The entire section is 488 words.)