American Wife

American Wife

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Debbie Weiss (08/16/12): I picked up American Wife at the book swap which was part of Dale Israel's last Novel Exchange event. I had heard that it was interesting and written well and now, having read the book, I would agree with both of these statements. I never was fond of George W., but I always did like Laura. The book portrayed her as a really nice person with a good heart. A horrible auto accident during high school changed her life forever. I understand that this was a true event in Laura Bush's life and I am sure that it haunts her to this day.

What bothered me about the "story" was the way that Laura always let George have his way, even when he was acting in a completely childish or selfish or stupid manner. (Frequently!) The premise that it is easier to give in to your husband's whims to save the peace in the household seemed to me to be thinking from our parents' generation and not from our generation and it really annoyed me. I was disappointed in this particular "American wife" due to this reason, but none-the-less enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
Rating: ****

Dale Israel: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is a novel loosely inspired by the life of Laura Bush. Quite frankly, I never felt one way or the other about Laura Bush and I was not a W. supporter. When two different people suggested this book, however, I had no choice but to take notice and I'm very glad that I did. American Wife is narrated by the fictional Laura and begins when she is a young girl. It describes her early life, her courtship with the fictional W. and their relationship during his presidency. The first two-thirds of the book was engrossing and I could not put the book down but the pace slowed a wee bit when she shares what their life was like while living in the White House. Although the characters were given fictional names, it was easy to visualize Laura and W. throughout the novel... most of the time this was a good thing but I honestly blushed during the steamy sex scenes...I felt like a voyeur!!! I really enjoyed this book a lot and would like to do more research on Laura Bush to see which parts of this novel were true and which were simply well written fiction. I also have to admit that even though this was a work of fiction, it left me feeling more benevolent toward the Bushes. This was a good read and I would highly recommend it.
Rating: ****

Hadriane Kalfus: American Wife follows the life of Alice of small town Wisconsin from a very young age through her formative years, college years, marriage and finally as First Lady. There is no doubt in your mind that this is based on Laura Bush and George W. An enjoyable story, chock full of familiar tidbits about Laura and George. Alice and Charlie Blackwell are easily recognizable as are their friends and family. Charlie Blackwell's family is a classic wealthy, preppy business family with a mother that is strong as steel. We follow him trying to please his father and competing with his brothers. Alice is sweet, understanding, a bit complex and the trial and tribulations in her life are also Laura's. I really enjoyed this book, predictable, but great fun!
Rating: ****

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