Thursday, May 7, 2009
TITLE: AMERICAN WIFE
AUTHOR: CURTIS SITTENFELD
This book tells the story of the life of Alice Lindgren Blackwell, a small town girl who ends up being America's First Lady. What makes this a remarkable book is the fact that the character of Alice has been modeled on Laura Bush, with Sittenfeld trying to get into her mind and her heart in order to find out what motivated her and what kept her going.
It's a shame that I know so very little about the real woman, Laura Bush (although if she's anything like the character of Alice she would prefer it that way), and therefore have no idea how biographical this story actually is.
Did Laura Bush kill a young man she was in love with in a car accident? Did she have an abortion? And did she take a stand against her husband's war in Iraq? I just don't know, and I don't think I'm going to try and find out, because it wouldn't affect the way I think about this book.
It doesn't really matter how much of this story is based on fact since this is a beautiful story, examining what makes a marriage, why people stay together despite differences and how having different opinions doesn't have to mean you can't love each other or make a life together.
The only reason I marked the book a minus with the five is because there were times when Alice's tolerance, passivity and "anything for peace in my life" attitude made me dislike her and want to give her a good shake. But then, I suppose it's a mark of a good writer when her work evokes such strong emotions in me.