"American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld

by MediaPhile@evpl on Wednesday, September 17 2008, 3:24pm. Viewed 1,022 times.

american wifeLoosely based on the lives of George and Laura Bush, this novel is causing a sensation in both political and literary circles.

Thirty-three year old author Curtis Sittenfeld hit the bestseller lists with her first novel, "Prep," in 2005, utilizing her Seven Sisters background in a fictional probe of elite prep schools.  Now she tackles one of American's premier political dynasties.

I'm only halfway done but find it interesting that the cover featues a formal wedding gown, since Laura actually wore a simple white two-piece outfit in a small ceremony within months of meeting George.  She was a sweet book-reading thirty-one-year-old elementary school librarian and he was a charming, funny young politician hoping to do big things and please his family. 

                                                bush family

bush wedding

The most revealing chapter so far involves the secretly engaged couple's weekend visit to the family compound, Halcyon (Kennebunkport).  There Alice (a thinly disguised Laura) must contend with the athletic, boisterous, and somewhat bawdy Blackwell (Bush) clan.  "Maj" (Barbara) -- short for Major -- proves to be a special challenge.  (Am I imagining it or do the Bushes and Kennedys resemble each other -- if not in politics than in their clanishness, good time 'tudes and hunger for power?)

Far greater reviewers than I have covered this novel -- including Joyce Carol Oates for the New York Times and Joe Klein in Time Magagine.  Or read an author interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS News.

I can't wait to get off work -- but should I watch rehashed political commentary on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC or read my novel?  I think I'll read.


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