Book Review: American Wife

American Wife
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld (who is a woman)
Genre: Fiction but apparently based on some real events
Number of Pages: 555
Where I Got It: Own it.

First line: "Have I made terrible mistakes?"

Alice Lindgren is a normal girl who grows up in normal suburbia Wisconsin when a terrible tragedy turns her life upside down.  As she moves past it and begins to establish her adult life, she meets Charlie.  They fall in love, marry and Alice finds herself the doting wife of a man who eventually becomes President of the United States. She discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with - and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona.  As her husband's presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.

So it's been said that this book mirrors the life of Laura Bush and it's pretty apparent, especially when "Charlie" finally does become President and Alice is talking about life in the White House.  September 11th, the decision to go to war, and the ensuing criticisms are all discussed in detail so it becomes pretty easy to figure out who the author is really painting a picture of.

This book did make me want to learn more about the life of Laura Bush because if the events in the book really are that similar to her real life, she lived a pretty interesting pre-First Lady life. Will we ever get the real answers for how she felt about the decisions her husband made as President? Probably not.  But if the parallels this book draws between Alice and the real Laura Bush are that similar, then I'm really fascinated by Mrs. Bush's story.

Otherwise, the book was up and down for me.  Some parts were great and really emotional and I got really drawn in to the characters and what Alice went through.  Then some parts made me feel like I was reading straight chick lit and I didn't like that at all. Then I'd be back in Alice's head following right along as she watched Charlie make decisions that affected the whole country that she didn't necessarily agree with and I was sucked in again.

Don't rush out to pick this one up but it's decently interesting and a quick read for a plane ride or something like that.

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Coming Up Next: Under the Dome by Stephen King
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.

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