Kecia's Reviews > American Wife

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
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's review
Oct 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

This book got four stars from me because I agree with most of the reviews (not here; "out there"): The first three sections (about 3/4 of the book) were good and interesting but the fourth section just didn't work as well. It was like being brought up short: "Oh yeah...she's the First Lady. Damn."

Of course it's the parallel to that other First Lady that has people reading this book but it's in the first three sections that Sittenfeld creates this interesting and complex character (yeah, she's also pretty passive, but I understood why she was) that you can almost detach from that other First Lady.

On reading some of the bad reviews ("here" as well as "there") I wonder whether people are allowing their antipathy for the Bush administration to color their opinions. I understand this (to an extent) but I also understand how Sittenfeld can take a premise (see 2004 Salon article) and turn it into something that's not a memoir or a biography but a mostly unique work of fiction that is loosely inspired by real people and events.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 26, 2008 – Finished Reading
October 2, 2008 – Shelved
October 2, 2008 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie Four stars? Tell me more! This is on my mental queue. Did you read/like Prep?

Kecia I read about 2/3rds of Prep before I got bored...which isn't necessarily a comment on the book; it was probably that time of the month when I have the attention span of a mayfly. The parts I did read were sharp and funny and at some point I'll probably pick it up again. Having spent some formative time at a school similar to Ault (the school in the book), I recognized a lot of the snark.

Re American Wife: I'll put my comments in the actual review section since they were getting kind of long.

message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie Interesting... it will remain on the queue, then.

Yeah, I finished Prep probably only because I was home for Christmas break--all that free time let me develop an addiction.

Jana I agree with you. In reading some of the goodreads responses, I do think people are letting their opinions of the Bush administration color their opinions of the book. But it is a work of fiction, and should be taken that way. While I have been seriously disturbed by Bush and his cronies, I really liked this book and the inspiration behind it.

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