Wednesday, November 2, 2016


We have two Louisa’s here, and they are both writers.  The author, Louisa Thomas, brings to life the wife of John Quincy Adams.  Louisa Adams wrote several autobiographies, despite her early reticence in composing letters to John Quincy, for fear that she had nothing to say and lacked the eloquence with which to say it.  Her confidence and self-esteem rose as she became vital to John Quincy’s political ambitions.  She compensated for his lack of social skills by ingratiating herself with influential people around the world, thanks to her charm and beauty.  Louisa’s health was always fragile, but she soldiered on, enduring enumerable miscarriages, long and harrowing journeys, and the demise of her father’s fortune and good name.  I’m not a big fan of biographies, but I couldn’t help but admire this woman’s spunk and savvy assessment of personalities that enabled her to make crucial decisions affecting her family.  Her keen observations of the people in power and her commentary on the political and social climate make for a sometimes absorbing read.  Unfortunately, she does not come across as a particularly happy person, but I think she had some very satisfying moments.  Certainly, her contributions to her husband’s successes were immeasurable, and she deserved more credit than she received.  As a woman who married into a very powerful and esteemed family, she struggled for acceptance and respect.  Her husband became an early abolitionist, but he may have stifled her relationship with the Grimké sisters, who were outspoken abolitionists and women’s rights advocates.  Louisa inhabited a man’s world but cemented her own place in this country’s history.

No comments: