Well, the happy side effect of all this waiting is lots and lots of time to read. I just finished American Wife this weekend. For those of you who don't know, American Wife is a roman-a-clef (a fancy way of saying a fictionalized biography using different character names) of Laura Bush. Honestly, I was a little skeptical when I started reading. I wasn't, ahem, a huge fan of the Bush administration. Anyways, I give you the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good: The book is very well-written. I was impressed with the way Sittenfeld captured the voice of both Charlie (GW) and Alice (Laura). I imagine one of her biggest challenges in writing this book had to be accurately capturing the voice of two very public figures and she absolutely nailed it. I was surprised to find both characters likable, entertaining and sympathetic. The truly incredible thing about this book is that though it follows a couple's journey to the White House, more than anything else it's a love story. And you find yourself rooting for the Bush family...er...I mean, the Blackwell family, the entire time.
The Bad: The book did get a little slow in spots and I had a hard time getting into it at first, but about 100 pages in, it really starts to pick up pace.
The Ugly: I now feel like I know Laura Bush personally. Um...clearly this isn't true and Sittenfeld has gone out of her way to remind readers that this is a fictionalized account of her life, but I want to believe that it's all true. I love the portrait of Laura/Alice that Sittenfeld painted and for me, Laura and Alice are now one in the same.
I'd definitely recommend this book regardless of whether you supported or criticized GW's administration. I also think it would make a fantastic book club pick. So much of this book is about the choices we make as women and how those choices indelibly impact our life and identity.
My Ever-So-Sophisticated Rating System:
4 Stars = I skipped Gossip Girl to keep reading.
3 Stars = I watched Gossip Girl, but I skipped Bravo reality TV to read.
2 Stars = If the only thing left on my TiVo was the Hills, I'd read this.
1 Star = I'd actually rather watch the Hills than read this book.