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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  30,607 ratings  ·  4,486 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of stu
Hardcover, 417 pages
Published May 19th 2020 by Random House
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Zachary What makes this novel different from The Social Network, or The Crown, or the Obama/Biden mystery novels, or Vice, or W. or Southside With You or any …moreWhat makes this novel different from The Social Network, or The Crown, or the Obama/Biden mystery novels, or Vice, or W. or Southside With You or any of dozens of works of entertainment that use real life people as inspiration? Are those unethical? (less)

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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,607 ratings  ·  4,486 reviews

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Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Sittenfeld's work and loved her short story collection and American Wife so I looked forward to this alternate history of Hillary Clinton's life if she hadn't married Bill. A lot works in this retelling. I certainly believed her interpretation of an ambitious and self-possessed Hillary Rodham. The depth of the narrative impressed me. It is quite different from American Wife which surprised me. The only real barrier for me was how visible a public figure the actual Clinton is and as ...more
Justin Tate
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blew my saxophone! An inspired, stunningly poignant—yes, even a little dirty—creative re-imagining of what the Clintons are and what they could be in an alternate universe. Funny—and eerie—to think how choosing a different path (not marrying Bill) might have resulted in major surprises and similarities to reality.

Highlights include sexually charged political innuendo between Bill and Hill in their college days, a nude saxophone performance, and delicious characterization of Bill as a self-descri
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I feel like this book is going to piss a lot of people off and I want in on that controversial action.

Elyse  Walters
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
“When the Saints Go Marching On”......🎶

Did Hillary sacrifice her professional future, being with Bill?
Not in this fictional tale.

I love Curtis Sittenfeld’s books. HUGE FAN....
“American Wife”, was particularly outstanding.
Hm??? I read through the night - finished this morning.
I gobbled this novel in one sitting.
Its kinda of creepy...
kinda thought- provoking puzzling.

I don’t want to say too much....
....readers will either choose this book because of being a fan of Hill
Claire Reads Books
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read Rodham some weeks ago and am of a few different minds about it, because I think you can read this book three different ways: first, as a piece of mainstream fan fiction (because that's exactly what it is); second, as a character study of a woman whose public-facing self is, at this point, a warped amalgamation of various projections; and lastly, as an artifact of what I would call the period of national trauma following the 2016 election.

In the first aspect, as a piece of fan fiction, I a
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Okay, it was interesting, creative, extremely thought provoking and we have a skillful, talented author on the board but hmmm… I think this concept didn’t work for me!

I always loved “what if” based story-lines: opens to alternated realities and parallel universes. What if we choose the other path, what if we do the quite opposite thing and rethink our life choices, how will be the consequences? Will be happier, wealthier, healthier, more successful or will we live in regrets, suffer from resent
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-arcs
THIS is the reality, the actual story, all serious Hillary fans wanted, maybe still want. As Americans watch the news everyday and get that winsome look in their eyes, they still think – if only Hillary was at the helm.

Read this while you are in isolation and lose yourself for a few hours or days. You will not regret your mindful vacation.

Curtis takes us back to 1971 when Hillary was a top student at Wellesley and gave her renowned commencement speech. Then on to Yale Law, still involved in stud
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hall-read
Thank you, Random House, for the gifted early ecopy. I also purchased a physical copy for my shelf.

I’m so excited to finally share my thoughts with you on this book. It’s one I looked forward to all summer long, and I literally enjoyed every sentence. This was my first book from Curtis Sittenfeld, and I found her writing flawless. She pulled me right in to the heart of this story, and my interest never waned, even at over 400 pages.

If you aren’t aware, the premise is that Hillary Rodham does not
Ron Charles
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
In these Dark Ages of the Reign of Trump, Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Rodham” descends like an avenging angel. Here, in the pages of this alternate history about Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the story not of “What Happened” but of “What Could Have Happened.” This isn’t just fiction as fantasy; it’s fiction as therapy for that majority of Americans who voted for Clinton in 2016 and are now sick and unemployed under the current calamitous administration.

It takes a village to create a demon, and that tirele
Lily Herman
May 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Hear ye, hear ye: I've found what'll no doubt be one of the most polarizing books of the year and what I can only describe as a muuuuch darker and more political version of Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe In Another Life mixed with a little bit of the TV show Veep.

The second I heard of Rodham's impending publication, it sent me down a bit of an existential crisis: Do we really need (or even truly want) a fictionalized account of Hillary Clinton's life without Bill Clinton as her spouse? Does it even
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
[4.5] Rodham is not for everyone - but I loved it! If you dislike Hillary, I don't recommend spending 417 pages with her. Boldly and brilliantly, Sittenfeld reimagines Hillary's life so well, that going forward it will be hard for me to reconcile her actual life with the one in this novel. Especially in the beginning, it is jarring to be inside Hillary's head (and bed). And as she did in American Wife Sittenfeld pads the pages with mundane details. Yet I was never bored. I found this novel exhil ...more
Nov 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
★★★ /5

This was a really interesting book. I enjoyed the writing style, it was really easy to comprehend. The story at the beginning was engaging and quick, but around the halfway point, it really slowed down and dragged a little bit. The characters were well rounded and interesting to read about, but character development was a little bit inconsistent.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
You know, when I first heard of this book, I wanted nothing more than pure wish fulfillment, a Tarantino-style rewriting of history to close our eyes to the horror that is our actual reality. But as I read more and more of Rodham, especially given the massive unrest and movement around police brutality and racism in the U.S., none of it felt right. I wasn't satisfied, and I did not wish I could live in this fantasy world. Although I would certainly have preferred Hillary as a our president compa ...more
*NO spoilers in this review - and I suggest that if you already know you are very interested in reading this, you avoid reading other reviews beforehand and learning anything about what happens in the book. I’ve never issued such a “warning” before, but this strategy really allowed me a strong emotional payoff, especially in the end. I’ve been surprised lately by how much plot detail is revealed in so many reviews of so many books.*

Curtis Sittenfeld is maybe more of a performance artist than a w
Emily B
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The narrator was perfect for this book! Although I was sure if this book would interest me or hold my interest, I was absolutely engaged throughout and felt like no part or sentence was superfluous.
Yukari Watanabe
May 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
One day after finishing this book, my anger against it increased. My feeling was upgraded from "dislike" to "detest". Therefore, 1 star instead of 2.

I had been fascinated by Bill Clinton since he was elected to be US president in 1992. I read many books about him and wished I would meet him one day to see if his charm was real. It finally happened in 2016 at a Hillary event. Hillary was with Bill and Chelsea and I met all of them. Hillary took a selfie with me. What surprised me the most was th
Larry H
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Rodham is a fascinating and thought-provoking look at what could have been, at least filtered through Curtis Sittenfeld's mind.

Nearly everyone has an opinion of Hillary Clinton. Some love her, some admire her, some think she’s truly evil and corrupt. But no matter how polarizing a figure she is, there’s no denying the world’s interest in the Clinton family.

In 1971, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham met at Yale Law School. She’s a highly intellectual activist; he’s already planning a
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
My best friend Curtis Sittenfeld (swipe for photographic proof) wrote a book just for me. And if the saxophone scene doesn’t make you squeal with delight and discomfort then we are not the same. A triumph.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's "summer" and it's 2020 and it's a pandemic, so nothing feels quite right. Aren't we all looking for an alternate reality right now?
The characterizations here felt right, making this a great escape. I think the less said about this one, the better for future readers.
My favorite line came a little more than halfway through: "It's weird you almost married Bill Clinton, because he seems so unworthy of you."

Ya think?! 4.5 stars
Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
What can I say about Rodham that hasn’t already been said? What if Hillary hadn’t married Bill? Sittenfeld imagines an alternate life for Hillary, something most of us have at least occasionally considered for ourselves. In this narrative, she is still the same person we’ve come to know over several decades — not perfect, which I appreciated — but makes different choices, forging her own path.

I was in kindergarten when Bill Clinton was elected President and Googled a handful of names while read
Canadian Reader
Not quite a 2.
Read to the 2/3 point.

Pedestrian, adolescent, and beyond dull. If this hadn’t been written by a well-known author about a well-known political figure, it would never have been published. Yet another waste of good trees.
Curtis Sittenfeld's engaging novel looks at Hillary Rodham's life through this prism: what if she hadn't married Bill Clinton? In 1971, as Hillary Rodham graduates from Wellesley, she delivers a commencement speech that gains national prominence. She heads to Yale Law school--an intelligent woman, filled with the desire to help those in need. It is there she meets Bill Clinton, a fellow law student. The connection between the two is instant--for the first time, Hillary feels she has found someon ...more
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it

Hillary Clinton would probably like this book. Bill Clinton would definitely hate it. And Donald Trump would be enraged by it. As for me, discounting its hyper-focus on romance, I loved it. Curtis Sittenfeld writes some of the best realistic--emphasis on "real”--fiction I’ve ever read. With Rodham, Sittenfeld re-envisioned the story of Hillary Clinton, the person and political figure. Here, she's Hillary Rodham, having never married Bill, though passionately involved with hi
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
What if Hillary didn’t marry Bill? Spoiler alert Trump would never become president, and I’m just saying makes the book worth it! OK let me preface this review by stating I am not a big Hillary Clinton fan. I am liberal and I would love to see a woman be president, she just rubs me the wrong way. Probably for many reasons brought up in this book. This book did really make me think about how we unconsciously judge women differently than men. A woman is a nag or being bossy while a man is being as ...more
Lisa Schultz
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Two disclaimers: 1) I am a Hillary fangirl. I have been since 1992. 2) I love fanfiction.

Turns out, putting the two things together doesn't work for me. I saw this book and I couldn't wait to read it. And then I started reading it and I wanted to put it down and walk away almost as quickly. I've always found fanfic about real people to be really cringe-worthy, so I guess I should have known better.

It's not that the book is bad. If you're comfortable reading a fictional personal account of a li
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is well researched wish fulfillment, and it’s fun. The early relationship between Hillary & Bill is sexy, and the portrayals of both Bill & Trump are so pitch-perfect, they had me laughing out loud, a lot. Plus, I found the ending very moving.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first response upon finishing this book was, "No words." Followed by, "Wow wow wow."

I have no idea how Curtis Sittenfeld did this.

Using real-life speeches and public moments to build a story around is hard enough, but it feels like she got access to Bill and Hillary Clinton that of course she didn't. And yet as I was reading this I felt like I was a voyeur into Hillary's life.

The first section of the book plays out how you imagine real life must have played, and Sittenfeld does an INCREDIBLE
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this, because Curtis Sittenfeld, you know?

But I was icked out from the earliest pages. Fan fiction about real people, particularly a person that has dominated and continues to dominates headlines, crosses a line that I didn't even know I had drawn. It's also important to emphasize the "fan" in fan fiction. Rodham isn't simply drawing inspiration from Hillary Clinton's life; it's unapologetically rooting for her, making the novel not much more than a wish fulfillment narra
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
I often find her work rather cynical and this was no exception, but I also found it quite funny and entertaining in an ironic way by the end. At the beginning I was frustrated, because it seemed the book more about Bill than Hillary. Then it got a little slow, but finally raced through a lot of hilarity to get to the ending. Hard to describe without giving too much away. 3.5⭐️
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Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (due out April 2016) 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, ...more

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