Thursday, March 26, 2009

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

I just finished this book last night (finally) and I have to say it is one of the best books I have read in a really long time. Hopefully I have gotten my reading mojo back! Next on the list is The Shack by WM. Paul Young, which is rather short and supposed to be fabulous.

After reading this review of American Wife I had mentally put the book on my "to be read" shelf. Since I had made a commitment to utilize the public library and stop spending money on books I put the popular book on hold. Two months later my turn for the book came, I tried to read it right away as it's still highly requested and could only be checked out for two weeks without fines. I ended up keeping it a month (oops, sorry!), I felt bad but I had to finish it before returning it and they wouldn't let me renew it!

I was a little hesitant at first because I'm (unfortunately) not really into politics or George W. Bush for that matter.

Although American Wife is fictitious its main character Alice Blackwell is unmistakably modeled after former first lady Laura Bush. It is only safe to assume that her husband, Charlie Blackwell is loosely modeled after former President Bush. I fell in love with both characters of the book and have to wonder now, have I begun to like President Bush more now having read this book? The jury is still out on that one, I'm really not sure.

In the book Alice is a bookish, polite girl that is someone you have to admire. She had a quiet sense of strength that appealed to me. She did not draw attention to herself but when she was in the spotlight, for better or worse, she handled it with a grace and poise that many can only hope to attain one day.

Alice deals with many trials and personal struggles in the book. Struggles that many of us cannot dream of dealing with. There were moments in the book where my head was so wrapped up inside this character I felt like I was her. Her emotions had projected so much onto my own emotions I felt upset when she was upset. I was happy when she was happy.

I love it when I get lost in a story like I did this one. I love being able to identify with a character so strongly you feel sad to have to let them go when you finish the book. Although I like just about every book I finish, I don't find this happening with many characters. I have to wonder what it is about the writer that gets me so engrossed? I haven't quite figured it out, because I believe it's a more subtle talent. A subtle talent I wish I had.

What books have had a powerful impact on you? What characters have you felt so in tune with that while reading their story you felt a part of it?


Me said...

Reading this right now and it's somewhat slow. I just finished up the Twilight series, though, and it's so different.

Have you read "Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld? It's really good, too.

Amber said...

I have read the first part of Prep and for some reason I put it down and never finished. After finishing American Wife I think I will pick it back up again.

I thought it was a little slow at first too but it got better :)

marisol said...

Thanks for the review!

For me, a book that I recently read that impacted the way I view my life is the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. His life and his book made me realize that no matter what, we should not stop dreaming.

Michelle said...

Always love to find a good book! Thanks for the review. After I finish it I will make sure to try to give you a few titles you might like, I want to see what kind of book it is before I throw out suggestions. Thanks again though!!

beeker said...

Thanks for the review of American Wife. I am on the waiting list at my library. I have read the Shack. I really enjoyed the book, but I caution people it made me cry like a baby. I just finished Fight Club and I loved it!