Customer Reviews for

American Wife

Average Rating 3.5
( 229 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(76)

3 Star

(46)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(25)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Torn about this one...

While I gave the book 4 stars, I am still perplexed in how I should feel about it. If it were just a story, completely made up, not about a recent First Lady, I would say that I really enjoyed the book. But because I know this book is loosely based on the life of Laura ...
While I gave the book 4 stars, I am still perplexed in how I should feel about it. If it were just a story, completely made up, not about a recent First Lady, I would say that I really enjoyed the book. But because I know this book is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, I felt like I was trespassing into her life, without actually really knowing the facts. This is not "historical fiction" in the same way a retelling of the life of say, Anne Boleyn is, where Anne is still the main character. Alice is not Laura, and yet she is. I almost feel like I should now go read something about Laura Bush to separate the fact from fiction. I don't want the decisions or actions that Alice took in the book to reflect how my opinion on Laura Bush is formed, as I don't know really what is true and what is not. I know the big things, but when it comes to the intimate details, how can I judge? I think this is a tricky thing to write. I don't think this book is not worth reading, I think it is, I am just wary about how this reflects on the former First Lady and I am hoping that peoples opinions of her are not characterized by this book. Even though it IS fiction, that does not mean it is not powerful in what it is portraying. A good read still.

posted by blue2280 on June 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Cheap Shot!

After reading less than 100 pages of this so-called work of fiction I have no desire to finish it. What a cheap shot this author takes at Laura Bush. I find the book disrespectful and uncalled for. The author has taken the liberty of adding a disclaimer at the beginning...
After reading less than 100 pages of this so-called work of fiction I have no desire to finish it. What a cheap shot this author takes at Laura Bush. I find the book disrespectful and uncalled for. The author has taken the liberty of adding a disclaimer at the beginning of the book as if the disclaimer makes this insulting and disgustingly sexually explicit book acceptable... not in my book. If you want to write fiction, then write fiction, but to add such a trashy element to a story that so closely mirrors the life of a former first lady is unacceptable.

posted by 1595797 on July 14, 2009

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good mindless read. . .

    It is a good read if you are reading without trying to figure out all of the parallels that are drawn to the Bush Family. If you just read it for the sake of a good tale of American political families, it is a great read.

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  • Posted November 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Sittenfeld continues with another satisfying book.

    This book is much longer than 'Prep,' but maintains the intelligent and approachable writing style of Curtis Sittenfeld. The book's main character is loosely based on Laura Bush. Rather than have strong political messages, this book reveals connections between family and lifelong friends despite apparent or inward differences.
    I enjoy Sittenfeld's use of the American Midwestern culture in her novels - it helps to provide a moderate canvas for the political circumstances affecting the characters in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2009

    American Wife Review

    What normally happens when a person sees a book with a cover that interests them? They normally read it sometime in their life. That means a book like American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld, would not normally be looked at twice. Even though the cover is boring it is a pleasant read with its amazing parts and also its not so amazing parts.

    But before the amazing parts of the book can be talked about the book itself needs to be covered at least a little bit. This book revolves around the life of Alice Blackwell. Alice has not only gone through a very interesting life, from being in a car accident and hitting the very person she wanted to go and see to meeting a man that eventually becomes the president. Alice lives in a nice home with her mother, father, and grandmother. When she is young she goes with her grandmother to Chicago to see a friend of her grandmother's only to find out that her grandmother's friend is more than just a friend. Then Alice gets thrust into finding out how fragile life is after getting into a crash and killing the other driver. Ten years later she meets Charlie Blackwell and eventually marries him. Her life soon changes into something she can't fully handle because her husband becomes the president and Alice doesn't agree with his political views.

    Dealing with this issue is a big part of this story. It gets hinted at a lot when Charlie and Alice are dating. Cutis Sittenfeld does a pretty good job at showing the tension and intensity that this problem makes between Alice and Charlie. Sittenfeld also does a good job with showing how diverse of a character Alice is. Alice is made to be like a normal girl going through life. She has many odd things happen in her life and that slowly changes her character from a fun loving type of person that she was when she starts off to a more serious type of person who values life when she is older. Sittenfeld also does a great job at putting subtle clues into the story that when the reader finally figures out what the clue was about makes them think, duh I knew that, though at the time they couldn't figure it out. Sittenfeld also does a wonderful job at making sure that each character has a very interesting personality that makes the reader want to find out more about that character.

    Unfortunately with the interesting personality and subtle clues there were also some parts that Sittenfeld could have done better. One of the main things Sittnefeld could have done better was telling a little more about some of the characters. An example would be with Jadey Blackwell there could have been a lot more done with her. She is interested into the book, Alice's life, in a funny manner, when Alice was drunk. Jadey's character seems bubbly and fun at first and then changes to seem loving and caring as well. But unfortunately her character doesn't go much further than that so the way that Jadey is becomes boring. Another thing that Sittenfeld could have done a little better at would be the time in between Alice graduating and meeting Charlie. This part of the book feels very rushed and not very descriptive. It gives the feeling that it is missing something and it makes the reader try to look into something that doesn't even need looked into because it isn't anything deeper than what is there. The information given during that time is talked about only three times after that and then seems to never be brought up again...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2009

    Better than I thought

    I had to read this for my book club & wasn't too excited to start it. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2009

    Good Reading

    This was my first encounter with this author. I was pleasantly surprised how it held my interest for the entire 550 plus pages. I will surely read others by this author. I hated Charlie and his entire family for their arrogance and snobbery. Lindy was a wonderful and caring person who was brave to be able to stand by Charlie. You won't be disappointed.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    An American Wife

    With the obvious historical references, the reader assumes the main character is a fictionalized Laura Bush. But the big question remains...how much was fiction??? I suppose that is what makes the book so much fun.

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  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Totally Unexpected

    It's a strange thing, the seriously interpreted roman à clef, yet the "realness" of Alice (Laura) and Charlie (George) Blackwell (Bush) faded away almost entirely for me - there's certainly a high level of thoughtfulness to be applied to the central questions of what one person's choices and decisions MEAN, how they impact others and themselves, but what really makes this book a must-read for me is the way the small moments, the intimacies and the ordinary-life details ring true, no matter who you may be.

    Sittenfeld's attention to the details, to getting all the historic or publicly prominent parts (being a First Lady, the politics of it all, etc.), are marvelous, but truly helped merely to melt the gimmicky-ness away, revealing a core character, Alice, who, I believe, represents far more of us than some of the reviewers would like to believe. As black and white as certain issues are for many, many many more, I believe, live (by choice? that's another question to debate here) without coming face to face with the often far-flung consequences of even our smallest actions. Certainly, as a nation, America rises up to meet this reality daily.

    In the way "American Wife" details the complexities of a relationship about which we think we know all we need, where our assumptions and *news coverage* feel extensive, I'm reminded of Nancy Horan's "Loving Frank" - much conjecture and assumption about a (relatively) public, to some infamous, couple, and yet room for miles for thoughtful interpretation by an author.

    Who's to say what's right, or true here? If nothing else, "American Wife" is a reminder that much of what we think we *know* is in fact our perception; that we never truly know what's going on behind those closed doors, that the happiest, most enviable lives can be the most miserable to those in them; and perspective, like the Old Witch/Vase optical illusion Alice Blackwell mentions, can change in a heartbeat.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Insightful

    I want to start by saying that this book is 80% fiction. Though parts of it are based on the life of Laura Bush, many of it is fiction, and I feel that it is important for the reader to know this. That said, I was completely swept up in the book and consider it a great read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    it is a beautful book. the most real book i have read in a long time.

    this book is one of my faverites. it has the exsact amounnt of action romance and the perfect amount of reality. the way that she wants to love him but cant. she dose not no how she can. and when she found love she did not no how to tell the one she thought she loved. like i said this is reality. life dose not always go the way i what it to.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    good til the end

    I really enjoyed this book, even though I am definitely not a fan of George Bush. The book was very enjoyable up until the last chapter, when all focus was directed on the war and other political issues. As I read the book, I had to constantly remind myself that it is fiction, though it does make one hopeful that Laura Bush is similar to the character in this novel.

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