Wednesday, May 6, 2009

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

This had been on my to-read list for a while. I was drawn to the cover for some reason and intrigued that it was based on the life of First Lady Laura Bush. So when I found La Belle Vie Book Club and saw their next pick was American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld I thought "Perfect!".

This was a big book (over 500 pages). It is broken up into four parts that take place at four different addresses of Alice, the main character, with the last being 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It starts with her in her childhood home and is mainly about Alice as a teenager.

Part One was by far my favorite part. A major tradegy befalls Alice as a teenager that I could somewhat relate to (although hers was much worse). There were so many shocking moments and it made me think about how all these bright, successful women I look up to were once teenagers and have gone through a lot in their lives.

Part Two is about Alice as a twenty-something working girl. She is a librarian at an Elementary school and like many young career girls, her life is mainly about work. Until she meets Charlie. This section was also pretty shocking and it was a little disturbing to read some of the more intamite scenes and imagine Charlie as George W. The plot lines were good and again I could relate to Alice throughout this section.

Part Three is Alice as a mother and wife of a man from a famous, prestigious family. Even though Alice has faced many challenges up until this point, this is perhaps the most challenging time for her. The plot lines slow down some, but you can see her internal struggles in this section.

Part Four is about Alice as the First Lady. This section was the most disappointing for me. The book had started out so well, but this section fell flat I thought. It didn't ruin the book, but it didn't end with a bang either.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and not a biography of Laura Bush. And it did make me want to learn more about her, but even if it wasn't based on her, it would still be a great story!

I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

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