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American Wife ➥ [Ebook] ➠ American Wife By Curtis Sittenfeld ➯ – Thomashillier.co.uk On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House and the repercussions of On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, almost in opposition to itself A kind, bookish only child born in the s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck So than a decade later, when she meets boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gives him a second look She is serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight he is the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she is a school librarian and registered Democrat Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she feels inured to his charms And then, much to her surprise, Alice falls for CharlieAs Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility As Charlie s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.


About the Author: Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice due out April as well as the bestselling novels Sisterland, American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which have been translated into twenty five languages Curtis s writing has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Time, Slate, Glamour, and on public radio s This American Life A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers Workshop, she currently lives in St Louis, MO.



10 thoughts on “American Wife

  1. Lucy Lucy says:

    Rarely am I so repulsed by a book while still able to honestly say that it wasn t completely awful I can t ignore the fact that Curtis Sittenfeld a woman by the way I didn t look at the picture in the book jacket and had a male author writing this in my head for well over half the book creates one of the most interesting and well developed characters, Alice Blackwell, for a novel that I have read in a while The creepy part of that is she modeled Alice after Laura Bush, flagrantly so, and I Rarely am I so repulsed by a book while still able to honestly say that it wasn t completely awful I can t ignore the fact that Curtis Sittenfeld a woman by the way I didn t look at the picture in the book jacket and had a male author writing this in my head for well over half the book creates one of the most interesting and well developed characters, Alice Blackwell, for a novel that I have read in a while The creepy part of that is she modeled Alice after Laura Bush, flagrantly so, and I m left feeling it s all unfair somehow.I ve always enjoyed historical fiction I ve given high praise to authors who seem able to resurrect actual historical figures and infuse life into them by placing them in dynamic relationships and creating a voice with conversations Perhaps the historical figures need to be dead before writing about them, because when Sittenfeld takes the same liberties with Laura Bush, fictionalizing her actual history, I m left with is disgust at Sittenfeld s disregard for her privacy, her public position not to mention the actual truth and have a very strong urge to dismiss this book as gossipy garbage.Sittenfeld must have expected reactions such as mine From it s charged release during last year s Republican National Convention, the book has been criticized by many, mostly Republicans, as being salacious and untrue two charges Sittenfeld herself agrees with Wellmaybe not the salacious part, but she certainly included enough sex to keep even the fluffiest of beach readers happy Doing so didn t give the book an honest quality but it did manage to make it feel trashy She tried hard enough to portray Charlie Blackwell as close to the general media s version of George W Bush that the otherwise normal trash becomes a downright disturbing image I wish I could scrub my brain.But not all of it is tawdry and in poor taste Alice is soreal, in both her motivations and actions that if she were completely fictional my fingers would be tripping over themselves typing, just so real and complex So full of depth As a result, I feel like a hypocrite for being so turned off After all, are any characters truly made up It seems to me that most authors use real life subjects as inspiration for their characters, so if the author acknowledges this, and even leaves that inspiration exposed and traceable, should they get less orcredit for being authentic When I finished reading, all I wanted to know was, How much of this is true Enough of the events in Alice s fictional life are documented facts in Laura Bush s own that it seemstrue than it is In an interview Sittenfeld gave, she claims 85 % of it is fiction That only the major events in each of the book s four sections accidentally killing a classmate of hers in a car accident during high school, being a librarian and meeting her husband at a BBQ, having a husband who bought a major league baseball team, and being married to the President of the United States are true and everything else is speculation and what if s.I guess that s fair but it still doesn t seem like it For a book to be written about an actual First Lady, a human being entitled to the same dignity we all deserve and a woman who most of America holds in high regard even the author herself admits that she s fascinated by her , and to speculate about private things like her sexuality, her commitment to her husband, an abortion and drug use, and dress it up as fiction to avoid being charged with slander and libel seems cowardly.The author claims her intention was not to expose Laura Bush but to write what life might be like if you happened to marry a guy who went on to become President of the United States If she had managed to write that, and leave out her obvious bias for Laura Bush and against President Bush she might have succeeded in writing something thought provoking and brave While it may be thought provoking, it certainly isn t braveit s cheap and dangerous Sittenfeld may have opened my eyes to the price and path of fame, but she did so at the cost of my own respect for her


  2. Chicklit Chicklit says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I m a recent fan of Curtis Sittenfeld I hadn t read any of her work until I read Prep, but once I finished it, I wanted to read everything she wrote I was doubly intrigued when I found out that the protagonist of American Wife is a very thinly veiled Laura Bush.For the most part, I enjoyed American Wife The first three sections were so engaging that I never wanted to put the book down Alice Blackwell is the kind of character you wish were real I found myself feeling like I were in her kitch I m a recent fan of Curtis Sittenfeld I hadn t read any of her work until I read Prep, but once I finished it, I wanted to read everything she wrote I was doubly intrigued when I found out that the protagonist of American Wife is a very thinly veiled Laura Bush.For the most part, I enjoyed American Wife The first three sections were so engaging that I never wanted to put the book down Alice Blackwell is the kind of character you wish were real I found myself feeling like I were in her kitchen, listening to her stories over a cup of coffee The Alice Blackwell in these sections is a woman that is wonderfully complex and interesting The real magic is that all the hype about the character being modeled after Laura Bush completely disappeared However, that complexity gets lost in the last section If there was any doubt that Alice is Laura and that Charlie is George W, it gets thrown out the window immediately as Sittenfeld presents the Blackwells with the same history as the Bushes the controversial 2000 election, the terrorist attacks, the failed war, even a grieving father that protests the war by camping outside the White House At that point, I feel the book lost some of its magic for me The prose got muchexpository and the story turned heavy handed I wish the story and its characters had maintained the same complexities it did in its earlier sections


  3. Liz Liz says:

    Boy did my opinions about this book change as I went along At first I found itof a pulpy beach read As it went along, it got into some deeper issues and I found myself thinking about a lot of the issues that Sittenfeld raised I can appreciate the fate of a woman who would prefer her husband not running for a political office being forced to go along The thoughts and discussions about how much to do, what to support, etc rang very true As did Charlie s comments about having to be cons Boy did my opinions about this book change as I went along At first I found itof a pulpy beach read As it went along, it got into some deeper issues and I found myself thinking about a lot of the issues that Sittenfeld raised I can appreciate the fate of a woman who would prefer her husband not running for a political office being forced to go along The thoughts and discussions about how much to do, what to support, etc rang very true As did Charlie s comments about having to be constantly on guard, even with friends, about ulterior motives It s not giving away any secrets to say that Sittenfeld s inspiration for Alice and Charlie were Laura and George W Bush But the problem with that is that I could only picture their faces, despite her numerous comments about how good looking Charlie was I was never a fan of GWB, but I always felt Laura was a true lady So, reading the sex scenes with Laura s face for Alice was akin to learning as a child that your parents have sex I did not want to picture Laura Bush having an orgasm I also found it unfair, if that s the right word, to base your characters on real people but then say 95% of the book is fiction Initially, I didn t really find Alice an engaging character I m pretty opinionated, so I had a struggle in accepting someone so willing to sublimate her own beliefs for love Yet as time went on, and Charlie rose up the political ladder, I appreciatedwhat she was dealing with It also reminded me what a dynamo Barbara Bush was to be so outspoken Final answer This is really two books The first half disappointed me The second half made me think I didn t love it, I didn t really like it all that much But it raises some intriguing ideas


  4. TK TK says:

    As I said in my comments when I posted this book to my Currently Reading list, I ve never read Curtis before but an semi obsessed with novels about First Ladies and First Daughters Plus, I love wedding gowns That s right, I was suckered in by the wedding gown But come on it s a luscious dress, like a mound of whipped cream sprinkled with sugar And truly, when I had a chance to read the ARE, I couldn t say no, since I have heard only good things about Curtis s stuff.There must be someth As I said in my comments when I posted this book to my Currently Reading list, I ve never read Curtis before but an semi obsessed with novels about First Ladies and First Daughters Plus, I love wedding gowns That s right, I was suckered in by the wedding gown But come on it s a luscious dress, like a mound of whipped cream sprinkled with sugar And truly, when I had a chance to read the ARE, I couldn t say no, since I have heard only good things about Curtis s stuff.There must be something wrong with me, because I did not enjoy this book, and theI think about it, the less I like it I started reading and I was excited, this Alice Cole character was promising, she seemed sincere and real Even Charlie Blackwell was a likable enough meat eater, despite his privledged background and carefree arrogance, because we got to know him through Alice s eyes., who loved him despite herself.I think I began to feel jipped when I realized there wasn t going to be an elaborate wedding scene in the novel, that Alice was never going to wear the wedding gown or anything nearly like it pictured on the book jacket That isn t to say she doesn t get married.Ultimately, two things turned me off of this novel First, I realized I was reading a highly fictionalized account of Laura and George W Bush s relationship, and frankly, I don t care about them or their relationship I would have liked this bookhad it been about some completely faux, wholly invented presidential marriage I read this book through to the end, because I had faith that Alice would do something dramatic, she d do something to win back my respect, that would remind me why I liked her in the first place But, ultimately, even her grandest gestures, and her most private, at a potentially pivotal point in her life, brought her right back to the status quo, to towing the line for her husband s administration and leadership Her self relfection and explanations were thin, and to me soundedlike justifications Ultimately, I didn t like Alice Blackwell, the American Wife, and resented Curtis for having talked me into spending so much time with her 550 pages worth.I m sorry Clearly, I m not the right reader for this book


  5. Caroline Caroline says:

    NO SPOILERS As she did with Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld tackled privilege in general and, to a lesser extent, white privilege, in this sweeping novel American Wife is based loosely on the life of Laura Bush loosely being the operative word Sittenfeld took the most notable events in Bush s life and embellished to create a compelling literary fiction with drama, tension, and, most of all, feeling Her embellishment also drew a little from Laura Bush s mother in law, Barbara Bush The combi NO SPOILERS As she did with Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld tackled privilege in general and, to a lesser extent, white privilege, in this sweeping novel American Wife is based loosely on the life of Laura Bush loosely being the operative word Sittenfeld took the most notable events in Bush s life and embellished to create a compelling literary fiction with drama, tension, and, most of all, feeling Her embellishment also drew a little from Laura Bush s mother in law, Barbara Bush The combination works perfectly The Laura Bush of Sittenfeld s imagining a character she named Alice Blackwell has Laura Bush s politeness and kindness and, at times, blandness and Barbara Bush s Democratic views alongside her husband s Republican ones I always wondered how Barbara Bush could reconcile being married to someone with views so different from her own, and Sittenfeld offered a window into that, showing how it s hardly a straightforward reconciling Alice Blackwell comes from a humble WASP background, an only child who lives with her loving parents and cool, with it grandma She marries Charlie Blackwell, also from a WASP background but vastlyprivileged Sittenfeld depicted well the culture shock of marrying into such a family, and one of the best scenes involves a family gathering with the Blackwell clan, ebullient to an almost aggressive degree, and shallow These are people living in a bubble with a black maid whom they consider family but who sees the reality and regards their wealth with quiet disdain Sittenfeld fashions characters in her stories with startling vividness Everyone who plays any kind of significant role in American Wife leaps off the page so I could hear them and see them in all the unique ways that make them them I could see their particular gait, the slightest expressions on their face, all body language I could hear the amused twang in Charlie Blackwell s voice without Sittenfeld actually saying he has a twang I could feel Alice Blackwell s generosity and warmth Sittenfeld doesn t just write stories She writes with intention She writes to entertain but to force contemplation and she does it without being heavy handed She has a message, but she communicates that in a way that feels totally organic to her plot it always makes sense American Wife isthan 500 pages, and every page was needed to establish a solid foundation for the story s main takeaway As is true of Prep, what Sittenfeld was trying to say with American Wife is undeniable This is the strongest fiction story about privilege that I ve read and, with a major plot point that s tear jerking, one of the best meditations on tragedy and bereavement On that point, Sittenfeld presented shockingly good insight into the stickiness of grief Many authors compartmentalize it A tragic something happens the character mourns and the story moves on with no reference to the tragedy, as if human beings are automatons who mourn for a set period and then are just fine Sittenfeld understands that major grief cannot be encapsulated in an instant, it leaves an indelible mark, informing future decisions and way of looking at the world American Wife isthan meets the eye Despite its story line of a woman who goes on to become First Lady of the U.S., it s not overwhelmingly political It s merely a story about the complexity of being human Anyone who s lived, with all of life s ups and downs, will relate


  6. Jeanne Jeanne says:

    The first 439 pages of this novel merit 5 stars Alas When our American wife makes it to the White House, the story falls flat on its face.Anyway, this is the engrossing and somewhat trashy tale of Alice Lindgren Blackwell, future first lady Growing up in a small Wisconsin town, Alice has a good life She is an only child who lives with her mother, father, and grandmother Her father has a job at the bank, her mother is the perfect housewife, and her grandmother is an eccentric intellectual The first 439 pages of this novel merit 5 stars Alas When our American wife makes it to the White House, the story falls flat on its face.Anyway, this is the engrossing and somewhat trashy tale of Alice Lindgren Blackwell, future first lady Growing up in a small Wisconsin town, Alice has a good life She is an only child who lives with her mother, father, and grandmother Her father has a job at the bank, her mother is the perfect housewife, and her grandmother is an eccentric intellectual Alice is beautiful and bookish, and as sweet as can be.But things change when Alice is in a car accident, an accident in which she is responsible for the death of a classmate This is where her life takes a sordid turn I won t give away the rest of the plot Everyone knows that this story was loosely based on that of Laura Bush It s fun to keep that in mind while reading, particularly when she meets her future husband, Charlie Blackwell.Alice is very likable, and you cannot help but to become involved in her story The plot is quite engaging and only becomes stale when she actually moves into the White House


  7. Lisa Lisa says:

    Even a couple hundred pages into this Laura Bush inspired novel, I wouldn t have rated it 5 stars It felt like a bland pudding of a book, soothing, but over stuffed with stultifying detail of Alice s daily life And Alice Passive, timid, meek, blank, diffident, weak.infuriatingly undecided Yet As I read listened , my understanding of her deepened and expanded I never warmed to her callow husband Charlie, but I began to get to know and care about Alice And soon, I couldn t wait to get b Even a couple hundred pages into this Laura Bush inspired novel, I wouldn t have rated it 5 stars It felt like a bland pudding of a book, soothing, but over stuffed with stultifying detail of Alice s daily life And Alice Passive, timid, meek, blank, diffident, weak.infuriatingly undecided Yet As I read listened , my understanding of her deepened and expanded I never warmed to her callow husband Charlie, but I began to get to know and care about Alice And soon, I couldn t wait to get back to my audiobook finding household chores or going on extra walks so I could listen I wanted Alice s voice in my head What had felt banal began to feel nuanced and subtle Sittenfeld has accomplished something brilliant here She has taken the scaffolding of a public figure s life and imagined it in such a way that it feels profound It could be Laura Bush Or not It doesn t matter The title American Wife is perfect I won t forget this book


  8. Alison MacAdam Alison MacAdam says:

    This book is a fabulous read and as far as I can gather, inspired by a sentiment I can understand well Fascination with Laura Bush I certainly don t share enough fascination to have written a novel about her, but even from my own experience of meeting her VERY briefly, she is incredibly NICE So the premise grabbed my attention.In the novel, this Laura esque character is a bit of a contradiction a true free thinker and yet an obedient wife and first lady At times it is hard to square, b This book is a fabulous read and as far as I can gather, inspired by a sentiment I can understand well Fascination with Laura Bush I certainly don t share enough fascination to have written a novel about her, but even from my own experience of meeting her VERY briefly, she is incredibly NICE So the premise grabbed my attention.In the novel, this Laura esque character is a bit of a contradiction a true free thinker and yet an obedient wife and first lady At times it is hard to square, but I ll give Curtis Sittenfeld a break on this one, because I really love the character nonetheless And she even does a quite generous job with the George esque character, finding a narrative that makes him both a dufus and intensely charming to the point that we can almost understand how he might manage to win the presidency


  9. Lisa Lisa says:

    Wow One of the best books I ve read this year.Just forget what you might have heard about this book being a mirror of the life of Laura Bush it is, but , it s really about the life of one woman, and purely on its own merits as a novel, it s moving, thoughtful and wonderfully wrought The author gives Alice and Charlie complexity, hopes and fears and lives, even if their lives in the White House and before and after aren t like ours She empathetically details the burdens and isolatio Wow One of the best books I ve read this year.Just forget what you might have heard about this book being a mirror of the life of Laura Bush it is, but , it s really about the life of one woman, and purely on its own merits as a novel, it s moving, thoughtful and wonderfully wrought The author gives Alice and Charlie complexity, hopes and fears and lives, even if their lives in the White House and before and after aren t like ours She empathetically details the burdens and isolation of being famous, the doubts and regrets people carry with them through their lives, and the challenges that married couples face over the years Sweeping and at the same time intensely personal, American Wife explores the most intimate parts of Alice s life and marriage with a piercing realism that captures the height and depth of emotions without ever straying into melodrama.It s one of those rare books that when you have to put it down for a while, you wonder what the characters are doing while you re gone And when you put it down for good, it s like saying farewell to a dear friend


  10. Margitte Margitte says:

    I will have to go for two stars on this one This biographical fictional tale of Laura Bush started out five stars, but finally fell flat in the last third of the book I struggled to finish.I also feel uncomfortable with the repulsive, salacious details provided, although the author claimed that 95% of the book is fiction Huh W.w.w.w.what C.c.c.c.come again Building a story around a president of the USA and his wife, surely demands some respect for privacy, truth, facts, if it is I will have to go for two stars on this one This biographical fictional tale of Laura Bush started out five stars, but finally fell flat in the last third of the book I struggled to finish.I also feel uncomfortable with the repulsive, salacious details provided, although the author claimed that 95% of the book is fiction Huh W.w.w.w.what C.c.c.c.come again Building a story around a president of the USA and his wife, surely demands some respect for privacy, truth, facts, if it is so blatantly based on real people, right Was this exploitation for sales I think so For this reason it deserves the lowest rating possible Aren t we all a bit tired of media exploitation The past election coverage in America is a text book example of it One of millions Why should facts interfere with a good story, yes I am not even American, but even I felt terrorized and traumatized in the aftermath This book is no exception.However, the first three hundred or so pages of the book, the detailed descriptions of Milwaukee and surroundings the lives of Alice as a young teenager and young adult, the colorful social set up, and the historical background was really well done The information dumping to fill up too many pages, losing the tension, was not There s moments of tragedy and brighter moments of happiness, good and less good people making up the adjectives The realism so well used I felt present, part of the families, a good, loyal friend of Alice s Entrenched Involved Despite an effort to vilify Charles George Bush as a hard drinking, lazy misfit truth or fiction never mind, I still liked the character, the people lover, the social animal I don t know George Bush from Adam, but Charles was a gentle, tough, good man Alice Laura Bush started out as a strong protagonist, but ended up a pathetic whiner claiming noble victim status, trying very hard to be a heroine, but alas, did not make it my opinion Remarkable, maybe.I should have stopped reading before they arrived in the White House, and just ignored the gory details of the fiction surrounding them How do we distinguish between facts and fiction The ending where is it Two forced stars Sorry One of us in this experience was lying, and it s not going to be me It is about principles


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