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American Wife: A Novel
American Wife A Novel
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband?s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House?and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, ?almost in opposition to itself.? A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politene...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780739323861
ISBN-10: 0739323865
Publication Date: 9/2/2008
Edition: Abridged
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 11

3.4 stars, based on 11 ratings
Publisher: Random House Audio
Book Type: Audio CD
Other Versions: Paperback, Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed American Wife: A Novel on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
When I started this book, I had no idea that the premise was roughly based on the life of Laura Bush. Which was probably a good thing, because if I HAD known that, this liberal-leaning reader probably would not have picked this book up.

However, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was hooked right from the beginning, and I was only 75 pages in when I started telling friends about this great book I was reading. The first half of the book was SO good, filled with twists and turns and little bits of foreshadowing.

The main character, Alice Lindgren, is a school librarian with a tragic past. We see her as a young teen before the tragedy occurs, when suddenly an accident happens and her world changes. Skip forward in time to a young adult on her own in the 70s, when she meets her husband, who seems wildly mismatched for Alice.

The story of their courtship and marriage moved quickly, and I was quite engrossed. More foreshadowing, more intimate descriptions of their privileged lives and not-so-perfect marriage. I couldn't stop reading.

But then, all of a sudden, we move forward nearly 20 years, and her husband has been governor and is now president. The story slowed down, became more introspective. I felt robbed. I wanted to know the details of how the couple ended up in the governor's mansion. I wanted to understand Alice's feelings about the road to the presidency. Ultimately, these elements were revealed, as flashbacks, but not as engagingly as the previous two-thirds of the novel.

When it finally dawned on me that this novel was a fictionalized account of George and Laura Bush, things finally started to make sense. But I felt jolted out of a fictionalized world, into an all-too-real world, and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I disliked the people this book is based upon.

If I could, I would give the first part of this novel 5 stars, and the last part closer to 3 stars.

I do recommend this novel. The author is extremely talented, with an extraordinary gift for prose. I look forward to her next novel.

Note: I read the Advance Reader's Edition for this book.
reviewed American Wife: A Novel on
Helpful Score: 12
What to say? It felt a little "wrong" to read this masterfully written "fictional" account of the First Lady's life and marriage, but I daresay I have much more respect for her as a woman, wife, mother and citizen than I did before. Some extremely personal scenarios and thinly veiled references to the Bush family and administration make for entertaining reading. Over 500 pages long, but I could not put it down. Loved it.
reviewed American Wife: A Novel on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I absolutely loved this novel. The book is not about politics. Campaigns and elections are glossed over. It really is a story of a marriage and a family. You see Alice Lindgren live with the choices and compromises she had made. Her marriage really required her to choose one world over another and the book is a story of how she lived with those choices. It is a fictionalized account of Laura Bush's life with illusions here and there although I didn't find that very important or specially convincing. What was captivating was the story of a couple who made each other happier than anyone else had ever mad them, but seemed wrong for each other in temperament and beliefs. I've always wondered how people make those relationships work and this is one authors version of how it could happen. There is an abortion subplot and Alice Lindgren is very clearly, and strongly prochoice.
reviewed American Wife: A Novel on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
In American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld, the heroine is Alice Blackwell, a mother, former librarian, and well-liked First Lady. She is married to Charlie Blackwell, a member of a wealthy, politically connected family. He is a born-again Christian, a teetotaler, and the controversial current president. Sound familiar?

I really enjoyed this book. As a character study, it probably raised more questions than it answered; and there's also a chance that readers will become too obsessed with drawing parallels and wondering where the line between fact and fiction has been drawn.

Even with its flaws, this is a great read and I would definitely recommend it.
reviewed American Wife: A Novel on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved the beginning of this book, the story slowed when it moved to current time. I wanted to learn more about the time leading up until then. Well written and moved fast. I have to say I found it interesting and it sparked me to do some checking on Laura Bush to see to what extent this paralleled her real life. I was amazed at what I found. Highly recommend no matter what you view is on the Bush family.
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