Tuesday, December 21, 2010

American Wife

Well, still sick, and growing increasingly bored... Maybe that means I am getting better? I hope so... but for now a book review.

Have you read this book? If you haven't I highly recommend that you run to the Library and borrow it now!

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is probably one of my best reads of this year. It is thoughtful, well written and more than thorough. The book loosely and some may say boldly follows Laura Bush's life.

I read a few books reviews about this book as I was reading it, including this one from Newsweek and this one from USA Today. I think like many, I was curious to how the main character Alice's life parallels Laura Bush's. And, I was not surprised that the parallels are limited to major life events. I am also not surprised that Laura Bush has not and does not intend to read the book. Can you imagine someone writing about your life based on common knowledge? I guess it would be easy to write a novel based on a blogger's life. But think how much of your life you don't publish on your blog daily. All the holes someone else could fill in.

I tried to keep this bit of knowledge in mind as I read. Another important piece to remember is Curtis Sittenfeld's political leanings as a liberal Democrat. In my opinion, this made the book even more interesting. Her character's Alice and Charlie Blackwell are very likable.

The premise of the book has Alice Blackwell reflecting on her life, particularly her terrible mistakes. While the novel does not dwell on this thought, it is the opening thought that bridges the reader from present day through Alice's life. A life, that is by no means perfect and neither is her marriage. What I believe is important to remember is that no one's life is perfect and that Sittenfeld does not glorify their life. At times, the couple seems more than normal.

Overall, the book was very very good and very hard to put down. I have a new respect for George and Laura Bush, even though I have to remind myself that the book only loosely follows Laura Bush's life. I only hope that George and Laura Bush are as in love as they are in the book.

Have you read American Wife? What did you think?

If not, which book have you read recently that really moved you?