Saturday, October 17, 2009

American Wife

My rating: 4/5
Pages: 555  -  Speed: Regular
Subject: Political Biography, Marriage, Women's Studies

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, People, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and Times.

Inspired by the life of Laura Bush, this liberal author creates a gripping novel about a woman balancing her high-profile marriage and her personal conscience. "Did I jeopardize my husband's presidency today?  Did I do something I should have done years ago?  Or perhaps I did both, and that's the problem-that I lead a life in opposition to itself" (pg. 4).  Alice- a shy only child falls into unimaginable tragedy, that begets more disheartening, and the course of her existence is changed.  When she falls for an attractive quasi-famous extrovert, her intentionally unnoticed life turns upside down as he changes jobs- leading to the White House.  There, she finds herself living a quiet contradiction to her position as the First Lady. The relationships are inventive, the story line the same, and characters are so real you feel you know them (OK- some are loosely based on real politicians, but that's not who I'm talking about)!  I give this less than a perfect score because of its unnecessary profanities, and sometimes over-detailed scenery.  Omit pages 74-84, & 164-166, and the story will still make sense; a few phrases are tainted too- not for minors or ultra sensitives.  The clever circumstances of this small town librarian joining the elite clubs and lifestyle are very fish-out-of-water.  Her struggles are inventively realistic.   Still- Alice Blackwell sets her place in life with dignity, intellect, and a quiet strength that are great to oversee.  Her father said, "Whatever you are, be a good one."  And she was- even in a role she never sought.  I hated the ending (last 20 pages) and try to understand her decision after tragedy two (you'll see) as a torn victim, not as a co conspirator of bad judgement.  But that's the conservative side in me talking. Enjoy! I hope her other bestseller Prep is great too!

Get it here.