Laura Bush Opens Up in New Book on Teenaged Fatal Car Crash

"But having friends now who have lost their own children, as well as knowing the parents of Barbara's and Jenna's friends who have died. . .I know from these parents that they like being with Barbara and Jenna."

Though Bush had previously never spoken publicly about the accident, she reveals that she has written numerous letters to young people responsible for fatal accidents seeking her advice.

"Since I became a public person, I've gotten many letters – letters from strangers, from mothers, aunts, cousins, teachers and friends – asking if I could write a note of encouragement to a young driver who had been in a terrible accident," she writes.

"Each time, I've answered. I've told them that, although you will never get over what happened, there will come a time in your life when you can move on… Sometimes the letters are to kids who were drinking, but a lot of them are just like I was, an inexperienced, 17-year-old driver who didn't have a good concept of where I was in town, who didn't know how far I'd gone in the dark or how close I was to the intersection."

Laura Bush's Book Criticizes Nancy Pelosi

Bush, 63, was no less forthcoming about her eight years as the nation's first lady. The demure and reserved first lady lashed out at her husband's critics, chastising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for calling President Bush an "incompetent leader" and also Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for calling her husband a "loser and a liar."

"The comments," she wrote, "were uncalled for and graceless. These particular words revealed the petty and parochial nature of some who serve in Congress."

Bush also devoted space in her book to sticking up for some of her husband's most-criticized moves, including the decision to fly over the neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2004.

President Bush was ridiculed by his political opponents and the media for opting to tour the obliteration of New Orleans from the cushy comfort of Air Force One, rather than meeting with the victims.

But Laura Bush praised her husband for thinking of what was in the best interests of those victims and the aid workers on the ground.

"He did not want one single life to be lost because someone was catering to the logistical requirements of a president," she wrote. "He did not want his convoy of vehicles to block trucks delivering water or food or medical supplies, or to impede National Guardsmen from around the nation who were arriving to help."

The 464-page book, published by Simon & Schuster's Scribner, is slated for release May 4.

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