Modern Lit: American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfield

4.0 out of 5 stars What was she thinking?

Whether we’re talking about protagonist Alice Lindgren or First Lady Laura Bush, you’ve gotta ask the question, “What was she thinking?” when she married this guy? Staring spinsterhood in the face when remaining single was still a questionable choice, Alice is swept off her feet by handsome, spoiled manipulator Charlie Blackwell. Though all signs point to a mismatch of global proportions, Alice marries him, landing 30 years later, against everything she holds precious, in the White House.

This author has pegged the personality of GWB down to the last arrogant profanity, whether or not that was the intention. This is a book more about the force of that personality than the life of the (fictional) first lady. The price that this character has to pay in order to maintain her marriage is a devastating one, no less than the abrogation of her own self. As Archie Bunker ordered so many times, “Stifle yourself”.
How Charlie Blackwell attained and held onto the office of the president is not spelled out, just another of life’s great mysteries, unless you’re a believer in crooked politics. How this woman survived marriage to this crass, arrogant, obtuse man is another.
American Wife is an engaging study of these compelling questions and others.

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