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 January 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    First Lady, First Rate.

    Let me preface my review by saying that I am heavily liberal and am not a fan of the Bush family whatsoever. With that said, I was intrigued by the plot for "American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld, not because it was based loosely on the life of Laura Bush, but because it makes for an intriguing story. I was more fearful of the size of the book than its content. I've never been a big fan of 500+ page books, mostly because they look too intimidating and I feel that I'll never finish them (especially if they lag). "American Wife," however, was one of the best books I've read in a long time. It held my interest throughout and, many times, I did not want to put it down. Sittenfeld writes conversationally. She doesn't dumb down the story for the reader, but she also doesn't try to make it more than it is by using Triple Word Score words. A quarter of the way through the book, I already I felt like I really knew the characters, main and supporting. The main character, Alice, was thoroughly fleshed out page after page. We really got to know, understand, and like her. And we could even forgive her for marrying a strong conservative because it was easy to see why she fell for him and his fun-loving nature despite her beliefs and political leanings, as well as her passion for students, books, and her budding career as a librarian. She never lets go of her beliefs; she maintains them even though her life changes dramatically from her small town beginnings. When questioned about her liberal leanings, she responds, "I'm not a Democrat because I haven't thought about the issues. I'm a Democrat because I have." Zing! Sittenfeld did a thorough and thought-provoking job of not only the relationship between Alice and Charlie (the man who would one day be president), but also the events that led her to that point in her life. I honestly could have read more and more about the character of Alice before and after she met Charlie. That's how interesting and well-written she was. The first three-fourths of the fictional novel focused on Alice as a child, growing up, being a teenager, being a young adult, and finally meeting and marrying Charlie. The novel was well-paced and maintained a smooth transition from event to event throughout Alice's life. The chapters of her life slowly unfolded before us so we, the reader, got to live in the moment with Alice. When Sittenfeld chose to jump to Alice's time as a presidential wife in the last quarter of the book, that's when the story felt rushed and I felt a bit cheated. There was too big of a leap from the beginnings of their marriage to the presidency. There was all that time in Alice's life that was skipped; at least twenty years or so. I know Sittenfeld probably didn't want to drag Alice's story on too long and needed to focus on the presidency part of Alice's life, but her story really could have been a series instead of a single book. Other than the time leap, there was only one other flaw of the novel, in my opinion: Sittenfeld's assumption that we know the outcome of Alice's story. I didn't feel that Sittenfeld should assume that we know anything about Charlie and Alice because they're fictional characters, not real people. Despite these two minor flaws, "American Wife" was one of my Top 5 books that I read in 2010. And, to Curtis Sittenfeld: I could have kept reading about Alice's tales! Thanks for evolving such a great character.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    American Wife

    I listened to the audiobook AMERICAN WIFE and found the book to be captivating. I listen to many audiobooks while working. I have "read" so many wonderful books and the books that move me the most I will purchase to read using my eyes! This book is one of the many books I will purchase & include in my library.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great read!

    This book served as a tasteful read tackling the issues of what it is like to be an American Wife and the choices she makes in regards to her husband's. It is a book every woman should read in regards to how much the average woman sacrifices for marriage.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    Loved it!

    Amazing fictionalization of a real person. Absolutely fascinating.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    I LOVED this book. It stayed with me long after I had finished

    I LOVED this book. It stayed with me long after I had finished . . . I was so sucked into Alice's world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Amazing

    Could not put this book down. A must-read. Her characters re so relatable, and the story has unforeseen twists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    American Wife

    Good read, slow at times but kept me interested. Still excellent writing though

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Spellbinding!

    I enjoy reading all types of books. I particularly like the "size" of the newer paperback books. I enjoy holding a book rather than reading it on a screen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Hard to put down

    Great relationship book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    I loved this book. Had me hooked right to the end. Reading this book made me want to learn more about Laura Bush.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2010

    This is a must read.

    I love this book, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love it. It gives you a look at Alice Blackwell's life but it does not tend to drag on and on forever. The little details in the book are what make it amazing and how each character is developed. This book is definatly something that should be read by people around 15/16 and older because of the sexual content in the book. I was torn about the book when I first got it but after reading it I was sad that it ended. If you want to look at this book as a book about Laura Bush, go ahead, but you will end up being wrong about the real life of Laura Bush. The car accident, president times, and a little bit of the drinking problem are true but everything else if fiction. This book demonstrates how coming from a small town and livng the big life in the White House is not all it is cracked up to be. This book gives an honest look into what a lot of marriages actually become, they love each other, but they do have their fights and not everything is simple and rainbows and butterflies. I have not read any other books by the author but I am going to start now. I definalty think you should check it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2010

    Laura Bush marriage saga

    Very likable characters. Warm, humorous, and real. I enjoyed it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Book

    I love Curtis Sittenfeld's writing style. I read Prep and when I saw this at Barnes and Noble, I immediately picked this up. Her writing is brilliant, as is this book. It offers a new perspective into the life of a First Lady of the United States.

    I also loved how the book was divided into sections, allowing Sittenfeld to show the reader how Alice grew up.

    Amazing book. Can't wait for Sittenfeld to come out with another book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2009

    Changed my opinion of Laura Bush

    This book really held my interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Stop What Ypu're Doing... Read this NOW!

    One of the best books I've ever read. While reading it, I couldn't wait for the work day to be over so that I could read this book. Ms. Sittenfeld is a tremendously talented writer and based on her knowledge of WI, she appears to be a native! This book made me empathize with Laura Bush and other first ladies. It also makes you realize that a person can truly love someone and think very differently about their politics. I love the punch line, the end. It's very satisfying and a bit unsuspecting that the character would admit to it!

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    Un-put-down-able

    I loved this book much more than I would have guessed. Had me hooked from the first page to the last. I was sorry when it was done.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down

    I love the writing style. This is such a great beach read that I wished I'd saved it for my upcoming vacation. No question, a real page turner. Don't get hung up on the whole "Based on Laura Bush" thing..I didn't see a really huge connection. My favorite book in a while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    A great read!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book - a majority of the book focused on the characters and their story and relationship, and it reminds you that even the president and first lady are real people (mostly) like the rest of us.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Insightful from any partisan side

    Whether loosely based on Laura Bush or not the character on her own is compelling and you want to follow her life. You want to understand her choices in marriage, politics and how no matter what circumstances or environment she is in how she remains true to herself. Being true to yourself, maintaining intimacy in relationships and caring for the general well being of all are goals all of us should strive for. Reading how her character attains these goals is insightful and inspiring. I liked her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    Loved it!

    I am a huge reader, and remembered liking Prep, so picked this up at my local Barnes and Noble. I was completely drawn in, and couldn't put the book down. I had it on my bathroom counter in the morning while I was drying my hair, because I didn't want to stop reading. A really interesting perspective on the white house, with a personal story that keeps your attention.

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