34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful and intelligent novel,
This review is from: American Wife (Paperback)
I confess I'm a bit of a geek about American politics, and I've always been strangely fascinated by the presidency of George W. Bush. However, it has to be said that I know next to nothing about the life of Laura Bush, and although this is obviously a fictional account it is an absolutely fascinating attempt to imagine some of the trials and pressures that she must have gone through.
This riveting book follows Alice's progress as her worries escalate from the common everyday problems of love and family, to the grand scale of questioning if she may somehow be culpable in the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The way it manages to turn the near baffling question of "how could anyone be married to that man?" around to make us all question the society that gave him power in the first place is masterful.
I also think that through the character of Charlie Blackwell, Sittenfeld really helps us get to the heart of what George W Bush is really about. She understands that whilst in many ways he is a monstrous man, the key to his success is the fact that he is in many ways so personable and charming, and that despite what we may think of his politics that he honestly believes he is doing the right thing. It would have been so easy for this book to resort to cheap caricature or mindless Bush-bashing, and the fact that it is in many ways so restrained is what makes it such a great novel.
There have been so many books written on the Bush administration, and there are doubtless dozens more to come after he leaves office. But for me this is a near perfect first book to reflect back on this insane period of history we have all been living through, and truly one of the books of the year.