‘Citizen Jean’—The Grande Dame of Seattle journalism's new book is funny, insightful and illuminating
By Larry Coffman
The title of her book is Citizen Jean, but to me, Jean Godden clearly is the grande dame of Seattle journalism. Former Mayor Greg Nickels called her a “Seattle treasure” and says the stories she’s sharing in the book are “not to be missed.”
The dust cover of the book discloses that Jean “had lived in more than 100 cities and towns before she moved to Seattle,” which she describes as “simply the most spectacular place I had ever seen.” There, she married, raised two children and spent two decades as a reporter, editor and columnist with both the Seattle P-I and the Seattle Times.
It also was where she served as an activist and Seattle City Council member and watched Seattle evolved into a national leader and became a local celebrity herself. In the book, she recounts—as only she can—the World’s Fair that first got Seattle noticed, the fight to save the Pike Place Market and dozens more personal insights on subjects ranging from newspaper strikes and rivalry to a revealing look at regional politicians.
Jean also is keeping her hand in the business by writing a weekly column for Westside Seattle, where she continues to amaze readers with her encyclopedic knowledge of Seattle history.