BN.com Gift Guide

When the White House Was Ours [NOOK Book]

Overview

Loosely based on Porter Shreve’s own childhood, When the White House Was Ours is the atmospheric and captivating story of a family’s struggle to stay together against great odds.

It’s 1976, and while the country prepares to celebrate the bicentennial, Daniel Truitt’s family is falling apart. His father, Pete, has been fired from yet another teaching job, and his mother, Valerie, is one step away from leaving for good. But when Pete lucks into ...
See more details below
When the White House Was Ours

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$12.95 List Price

Overview

Loosely based on Porter Shreve’s own childhood, When the White House Was Ours is the atmospheric and captivating story of a family’s struggle to stay together against great odds.

It’s 1976, and while the country prepares to celebrate the bicentennial, Daniel Truitt’s family is falling apart. His father, Pete, has been fired from yet another teaching job, and his mother, Valerie, is one step away from leaving for good. But when Pete lucks into a crumbling mansion in the nation’s capital, he makes a bold plan to start a school under his own roof where students and teachers will be equals.
Replete with the wry humor, human insight, and cultural resonance that characterizes Shreve’s critically acclaimed fiction, When the White House Was Ours will be a joy to anyone whose family has lived through an idealistic time and ended up in an era of compromise.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Caroline Preston
Coming-of-age tales that hark back to lovable, quaint times all too often cover the landscape and the characters with a thick dusting of powdered sugar. But Shreve avoids sentimental sludge with the masterly voice of Daniel, the anxious boy historian who tries to keep order in his fractured life by soberly documenting it, zany detail by zany detail. As we recover from our own sugar high of the 2008 election, When the White House Was Ours offers a perfect antidote. Turn off the TV pundits, turn down the thermostat, and slip on a comfy cardigan.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

A loosely autobiographical story of free love and family set against the hopeful but disappointing Carter presidency, Shreve's third novel skillfully interweaves the story of teenager Daniel Truitt with that of the United States at a crossroads. On the eve of the nation's bicentennial, the Truitts relocate to a deteriorating Washington, D.C., mansion after Daniel's father, Pete, loses yet another teaching job. Pete plans to launch an experimental school where students and teachers are equal, but Daniel's mother, Valerie, weary of their peripatetic life and her husband's failures, sees the school as their last chance. Soon, Valerie's hippie brother shows up, bringing trouble with him in the form of his wife and her lover. When the ragtag group manages to attract a few students for Our House, as the school is named, the family's hope for success grows in proportion to its members' enthusiasm for a Democratic president. The political backdrop is perfectly played, as is the bittersweet nostalgia that makes the book and its freewheeling gang irresistible. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A year in the life of an experimental school, nostalgically evoking both politics and the sunset of hippiedom, in the '70s. Shreve (Drives Like a Dream, 2005, etc.) uses narrator Daniel Truitt, whose father Pete has recently been fired from his administrative job at a public school in the Midwest. Pete develops the cockamamie idea that he is just the person to establish an alternative school in the heart of Washington, D.C. A former college friend has a house to spare, so the Truitt family moves in, chases away spiders and cockroaches, spruces it up with paint and gets ready for a new chapter of academia. They name the school-located in an old mansion-Our House, after the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. Trouble is, there's little demand for a school like Summerhill, based on radical democratic principles and populated with an undereducated faculty. In addition to Daniel's father, the teaching faculty includes Daniel's uncle Linc, a refugee from a commune in the Pacific Northwest who arrives in a VW bus emblazoned with advertisements for Kool cigarettes. Linc is married to Cindy (aka Cinnamon), a 30-ish flower child who's carrying on an affair (with Linc's understanding) with Tino, the most unrepentant counterculturist of all. Tino is the Complete Anarchist, a great admirer of Chairman Mao and cynic-in-residence at the school. (He even steals UNICEF contributions on Halloween, claiming that all charities are rip-offs.) Needless to say, none of these putative faculty members have sterling academic credentials, but in conjunction with Pete they develop a curriculum that plays to their strengths. Each month features a different course of study-religion class is particularly popular becauseboth Moonies and Mormons are invited in for a debate about marriage. Eventually the school implodes, primarily because of Tino's indiscretions. The narrative nicely counterpoints Daniel's coming-of-age story with the bewildering, and even endearing, goofiness of this memorable time in his-and the country's-growing up. Agent: Timothy Seldes/Russell & Volkening
From the Publisher
In this absorbing and sharply observed novel, Porter Shreve offers rare insight into the anxiety that goes hand in hand with idealism. His thirteen-year-old narrator is a worried yet wonderful guide through this story of an imperfect family and an imperfect nation struggling to become their better selves.

—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Madeline is Sleeping and Ms. Hempel Chronicles

Porter Shreve does what few writers can—he casts a spell, bringing you immediately and completely into a world you won't soon want to leave. This is a humane, tender and intimate story about what it means to be a family, to be idealistic in an all too pragmatic world.

—Joe McGinnis Jr., author of The Delivery Man

WHEN THE WHITE HOUSE WAS OURS is as good as it gets. Porter Shreve tells the story of the Truitts, a most unusual displaced family who come to Washington, DC from the Midwest to start an alternative school in a white house. They arrive about the same time Jimmy Carter, the man from Plains, comes to another White House with a credo about trust. The end result is a tale of sheer delight—beautifully told in perfect pitch.

—Jim Lehrer, Host of “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and author of Eureka and The Last Debate

Porter Shreve has always had a keen feel for a story and an instinct for what is interesting in the world. He is a wonderful and accomplished young writer.—Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America

[Porter Shreve's] narrative nicely counterpoints Daniel’s coming-of-age story with the bewildering, and even endearing, goofiness of this memorable time in his—and the country’s—growing up.
Kirkus Reviews

[Shreve] tells smart, inventive, sociologically intriguing stories, and his latest is a fun-to-read novel with great relevance and charm . . . The coming-of-age element is irresistible, as is the impossible dream of an anything-goes school, and what a wild and crazy extended family Shreve has created in the age of free love and Watergate.
Booklist, ALA

The political backdrop is perfectly played, as is the bittersweet nostalgia that makes the book and its freewheeling gang irresistible.
Publishers Weekly

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547996141
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 331 KB

Meet the Author

Porter Shreve was born during the Lyndon Johnson administration, grew up in Washington, D.C., and has attended three presidential inaugurations: Carter ’77, Clinton ’93, and Clinton ’97. In the 1970s his family started an alternative school called Our House Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House, and some of When the White House Was Ours is loosely based on that experience. Shreve’s first novel, The Obituary Writer, was a New York Times Notable Book, and his second, Drives Like a Dream, was a Chicago Tribune Book of the Year. He lives with his wife, the writer Bich Minh Nguyen, in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, where he directs the creative writing program at Purdue University.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)