Early Reviewers ~ American Wife

My latest book received through Early Reviewers was American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.  Her previous books include the best-selling novel Prep and The Man of My Dreams. 

I went into this book with cautious excitement.  I loved Prep and did not care for The Man of My Dreams. I felt that American Wife could really fall into any category.  Based on the cover alone (which I know you’re not supposed to do), I had very high hopes for the book – it had less of the ‘chick-lit’ feel and more of the substantive novel feel. 

The book is divided into four parts, outlining the life of Alice (Lindgren) Blackwell.  Each part is determined by her address at that point in her life – starting with her childhood home and ending at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  It is no spoiler that Alice is the first lady. 

Parts 1 through 3 were delightful.  Well written and full of character development.  If the knowledge was not there that Alice would end up married to the President, I think that it would have been easy to keep the association away between Alice & Laura Bush and/or Charlie & George W. Bush.  Sittenfeld presented the first 3 parts as their own story and I was enthralled.

Part 4 jumps out of nowhere.  The reader is fully aware that suddenly Alice is the First Lady, however her husband’s presidency just ‘happens’.  There is no lead up to how they get from Point A to The White House.  From this point forward, it is very clear that this is the life of Laura & George Bush and the names have only been changed for the benefit of the reader.  It’s the story we all know; it’s the story we’re all living; and sadly, there is little hope given to the reader of a very positive outcome as it ends present day with no speculation of the future. 

My final rating of the book in terms of ‘stars’ is:  Parts 1-3 receive 4 out of 5 stars; Part 4 – 2 out of 5 stars with the recommendation to stop at the end of Part 3 if you choose to pick up this read.


~ by zuzu on September 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “Early Reviewers ~ American Wife”

  1. That’s an interesting idea–to just stop after the third section. I didn’t care for the book as much as you did, though I do think the writing was very good. Read my full review at The Book Lady’s Blog . I’m on LT as bnbooklady.

  2. His presidency “just happens”? Yeah, that sounds about right …

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