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May 2020: Other Books > "Rodham" by Curtis Sittenfeld, 4 Stars

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message 1: by Holly R W (new)

Holly R W | 1117 comments "Rodham" is a fictional account of Hillary and how her life might have gone in a different direction had she not married Bill. The author plays around with historical events and people in this smart, thought-provoking satire of our current day politics.

Sittenfeld took a calculated risk in writing fiction about real people. I was uncomfortable reading about the imagined sex life of Hillary and Bill and about his infidelities. And yet, I was uncomfortable too, knowing that in real life, Hillary chose to stay married to a man who was most assuredly cheating on her.

On the other hand, I liked how the book looked at topics so pertinent to today: male-female relationships, women's friendships, the media, the differing perceptions of feminism and the difficulties in being a female politician. As always, Sittenfeld's writing was fresh and absorbing.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments This one is on my list! I like Sittenfeld and I love Hillary.

I used to really judge people who stayed with spouses/significant others who cheated on them, but I judge less these days. I think there is so much that goes into making that decision and that it is such a personal choice of whether you can truly forgive that person or not.

And, it seemed to have worked out for Bill and Hillary! He definitely had infidelities, but I haven't heard of anything since his time in the WH, and they seem to be happy together.

But, even so, very interesting to reimagine her life if she would have made the other choice!


message 3: by Holly R W (last edited May 26, 2020 03:03PM) (new)

Holly R W | 1117 comments It will be interesting to see what you think of the book when you read it. I too have learned to not be judgemental about the choices people make. All of us are full of contradictions and surprises.

However, I see extramarital affairs as being so hurtful to the other spouse. That said, I'm sure that Hillary had her reasons for staying in the marriage.


message 4: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments Holly R W wrote: "However, I view extramarital affairs as a form of abuse. That said, I'm sure that Hillary had her reasons for staying in the marriage."

I think this can certainly be the case! Ugh, I know a woman who cheats repeatedly and does not tell her partner about it. That is totally wrong and is certainly a type of emotional abuse.

But, I don't think it is always true, and people cheat for any number of reasons that often times don't even have to do with the other person, but have to do with the internal thoughts and feelings of the cheater.

As I get older, I have friends who have cheated and friends who have been cheated on. Friends who have left the relationship and friends who have chosen to stay. The most I can ever do is support that person in the very personal choices they have to make.

And, if I ever thought it was a situation that amounted to chronic cheating and emotional abuse, I would be the first to tell them to run!

I'll keep you posted on when I read this one! I don't have it on the immediate TBR, but I bet I get to it this year.


message 5: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7128 comments My mother and I had very, very few conversations of substance, However I remember one where something she said stuck in my head and I think of when conversations like this come up. What it is she said was "No one, but the two people in the marriage, have a right to judge. No one besides them can possibly know what goes on in that marriage." Having been married 30 years, I feel the truth of that statement.

That being said, I was so very sure Hillary would leave him a few years after they left the White House. In my opinion, anything but infidelity is forgivable.


message 6: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5358 comments This one has caught my attention as well, so thanks to Holly for leading the charge and reading it.


message 7: by NancyJ (last edited May 26, 2020 05:20PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4898 comments Great review. This sounds really interesting. I have so much respect for her, I think I might feel uncomfortable too. I really like path- not-taken stories (Sliding Doors, Family Man), though it feels uncomfortable or judgmental when applied to a real person.

I can’t think of book examples right now of alt life or path not taken stories. Can anyone else?

Joanne, I agree with what your mother said. Every marriage is complicated, and we all have different needs. You can’t know how you will react to something until it happens. I can think of quite a few things I would find worse than cheating.


message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8189 comments I love Curtis Sittenfeld and this one jumped the secret phone list straight into the real TBR. So I was delighted to see such a positive review! Can’t wait. Maybe we get a tag at some point when we can all read it together


message 9: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3778 comments I had no idea that this was what this book was about. I don't normally read political reads- non fiction, but I'm super intrigued based on your review!

Also curious how much controversy came out of this book.


message 10: by Holly R W (new)

Holly R W | 1117 comments @Joi, The book is actually fiction, but rings true in so many ways. It's a new book, so I haven't heard yet of much controversy. But, I did see differing reviews about it here on GR. Hillary herself is such a controversial and polarizing figure - this too was looked at in the book.

Thanks, everyone for commenting here. At first, I was hesitant to post about a politically themed book, but I'm glad I did. If you decide to read it, I'll be interested in your opinions.


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