Current Literary Fiction discussion

I finished!

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message 1: by Erica (new)

Erica DuBois | 11 comments Mod
ok, i finished the book. darlisha shamed me into an all-night reading fest, since she had already finished it. to be honest, i didn't think the book was worth my time. i am a snobbish reader, and i would have to classify this book as 'popular fiction' rather than 'literary fiction.' is this inaccurate? give me your thoughts.

plus, i had very bad dreams last night. i have to admit i am no closer to understanding laura bush than i was before the book. as a matter of fact, i don't think i had many questions about her until i read this book.

the accident is a true event from laura bush's life, which surprised me. it's about the most horrible thing i can think of happening.

i am going to wait to say more until i find out if darlisha will have the stamina to post on here...

message 2: by Erica (new)

Erica DuBois | 11 comments Mod
oh, i just read that laura bush got an 8-million dollar book deal...perhaps all of our questions will get answered...

message 3: by Darlisha (new)

Darlisha | 5 comments I will agree that the first half of the book is much better than the second half. The book pretty much lost steam as soon as Alice meets Charlie. I also think that the author does a much better job in her depiction of Charlie than than Alice, but that's probably because she had more source material to work with. The sections about fame seemed to be a separate discussion and the way in which the abortion scandal was handled seemed fake. However, with all of these flaws, I do think that the premise of trying to create a picture of a woman that would willingly marry a man like Charlie/Bush is a fascinating idea. I feel like Sittenfeld did an adequate job trying to explain Alice/Laura. It may not be satisfying to some readers, but I she did put her hypothesis out there.

message 4: by Erica (new)

Erica DuBois | 11 comments Mod
i listened to the slate audio book club, and it was very interesting. i could have listened to them talk about the book for hours! they also made the point that sittenfeld says way too much when she writes. i've already discussed with you the overuse of the terms 'urinate' and 'erection.' throwing in the edgar character at the end was just stupid.

i think that's the main flaw of the book - the whole time you're reading it, you're thinking, 'she's trying to write what laura bush might think, or who she might be,' and it never seems real.

another one of the criticism's the book club had was that alice was just not interesting as a character - and not 500-plus pages of interesting. i think this is true, but i also think that laura bush seems uninteresting. doesn't she seem like one of the most boring people of all time? yes, we all wonder how she can be married to george bush, but take that away and you've got a real bore on your hands.

i do think her meeting charlie and their romance was very plausible. i could definitely see why she married him. i still have a hard time believing that there is aristocracy in wisconsin.

message 5: by Darlisha (new)

Darlisha | 5 comments I agree with you about the slate audio book club, when you've read the book, you want the discussion to go on forever.

I think that Alice's boringness was purposeful and self imposed. Alice herself considered her lack of opinions and general blankness a personality characteristic. The author documents this well in many passages. The problem with that premise is why would you then write a 500 page book about this dull person. Sittenfeld is using Alice's blankness as an explanation of why she would marry Charlie.

I do agree that without the George Bush comparison, the story would really have no appeal, but I don't feel like a novel has to necessarily stand alone to be considered worthwhile.

By the way, I too hated the military dad plotline...totally not necessary.

message 6: by Erica (new)

Erica DuBois | 11 comments Mod
and it was pointed out that the structuring of the novel is rather odd. she goes into great detail in many places, and then his election as governor and president takes place in one paragraph. i can only assume this was because the author is unfamiliar with those things and cannot write about them, but it leads even more to the feeling of falseness that surrounds the novel.

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