American wife

Curtis Sittenfeld

Book - 2008

On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House--and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, "almost in opposition to itself." How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?--From publisher... description.

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New York : Random House c2008.
1st ed
Item Description
"A novel."
Physical Description
558 p. ; 25 cm
Main Author
Curtis Sittenfeld (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In her bold third novel, the author of the best-selling Prep (2005) presents a fictional portrait of First Lady Laura Bush, although she changes some important details. In a memoir told entirely in the first person, Alice Blackwell relays her unlikely ascent to the White House from her humble Wisconsin beginnings. She conveys in convincing, thoroughly riveting detail a life far more complicated than it appears on the surface—the moment she discovered that her beloved grandmother was a lesbian; a tragic, life-changing car accident she had as a teenager; the friendship she willingly sacrificed with her best friend when she started dating the good-humored, athletic Charlie Blackwell; and her uncomfortable initiation into the tight-knit, immensely wealthy Blackwell family, run with unflappable authority by its formidable matriarch. No one is more surprised than Alice when her hard-drinking, sports-team-owning husband morphs into a born-again Christian with political ambitions. Suddenly, Alice's life is no longer her own as her every move is parsed for its political implications. Sittenfeld is sure to come under fire for presuming to so methodically blur the lines between fiction and reality and for timing her novel's publication to an election year for maximum publicity. Yet what she does here, in prose as winning as it is confident, is to craft out of the first-person narration a compelling, very human voice, one full of kindness and decency. And, as if making the Bush-like couple entirely sympathetic is not enough of a feat in itself, she also provides many rich insights into the emotional ebb and flow of a long-term marriage. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Another hit for Sittenfeld after Prep and The Man of My Dreams? Here, unassuming Alice Blackwell goes from small-town girl to First Lady. With a ten-city tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sittenfeld tracks, in her uneven third novel, the life of bookish, nave Alice Lindgren and the trajectory that lands her in the White House as first lady. Charlie Blackwell, her boyishly charming rake of a husband, whose background of Ivy League privilege, penchant for booze and partying, contempt for the news and habit of making flubs when speaking off the cuff, bears more than a passing resemblance to the current president (though the Blackwells hail from Wisconsin, not Texas). Sittenfeld shines early in her portrayal of Alice's coming-of-age in Riley, Wis., living with her parents and her mildly eccentric grandmother. A car accident in her teens results in the death of her first crush, which haunts Alice even as she later falls for Charlie and becomes overwhelmed by his family's private summer compound and exclusive country club membership. Once the author leaves the realm of pure fiction, however, and has the first couple deal with his being ostracized as a president who favors an increasingly unpopular war, the book quickly loses its panache and sputters to a weak conclusion that doesn't live up to the fine storytelling that precedes it. (Sept.) [Page 36]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When her husband is elected president of the United States, Alice Blackwell finds her new life as first lady increasingly tumultuous as she reflects on the privileges and difficulties of her position as her private beliefs conflict with her public responsibilities.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and fate into a brilliant portrait of a first lady—from the author of Rodham and Eligible

“Terrific . . . an intelligent, bighearted novel about a controversial political dynasty.”—Entertainment Weekly
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. 
And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with—and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband’s presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book ReviewChicago Tribune • NPR • Rocky Mountain NewsSt. Louis Post-DispatchThe Washington Post Book World