Saturday, October 24, 2009

American Wife

American Wife: Curtis Sittenfeld: I would not normally have picked up this book because I wasn't particularly interested in a novel based on the life of Laura Bush, but Samantha liked it, and we have similar taste in books. This book is not fast paced, so if you're looking for a quick read, American Wife is not for you. But if the life of a quiet woman who finds herself profoundly affected by a tragic accident in her teens and then is caught up in the swirling life of a big political family in her 30s, is of interest to you, then this is your book. Sometimes I found myself very frustrated by Alice -- it's as if, after the accident, she was a passive participant in her own life. She had excuses for everything, including the mistakes of her husband the president, rather than deal with any incident upfront. But, nevertheless, I liked her. I especially liked her the few times she showed some backbone and stood up to Charlie. American Wife is well-written and enjoyable; my only quibble is with the end, after Charlie is in the White House. The book seems to lose Alice's story here and just ends -- it's as if Sittenfeld didn't know how to end the novel. Despite the lackluster ending, American Wife is a good read and I would consider reading it again at some point.

5 comments:

Samantha said...

You've hit the nail on the head with your review Katya. It was like I liked Alice and the whole book a little against my will if you like! I am considering on reading her first novel Prep now.

[And on another note - thank you for your kind offer of a Shelby-Lynn compilation, I will be emailing you shortly!]

Katya said...

Are you feeling better? I saw where you had been sick.

I know what you mean about liking it against your will.

Newsmediaspan said...

Read this for my personal Orange Prize reading challenge. Was prepared not to like it due to my dislike for the "boy-who-would-be-king", but it was a well-written book. Alice/Laura is presented as a woman of integrity and tolerance. It would be interesting to read one of the biographies that the author used as inspiration.

Jess said...

I eyed this one for a while after I heard the author interviewed, but I've never actually started it. I might have to give it a try one of these days.

Katya said...

It took me awhile to get around to it too -- I picked it up and put it down a lot.