began reading: 7/24/2009
finished reading: 7/27/2009
# of pages: 576
American Wife is the story of Alice Blackwell in her own words, from her elemetry years to her time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Alice bears a remarkable resemblance to Laura Bush (with a little bit of Hilary Clinton mixed in). Weighing in at over 550 pages, it is not exactly a light read, but it is an enthralling character study of a very famous woman.
I read most of the book over the course of a day, engrossed because it combines three of my favorite subjects: politics, librarians, and fully formed characters. Everyone, from Alice herself to the minor characters of friends and family members, are believable, and, if not likeable, very engaging. Alice’s grandmother Emilie is particularly interesting, and provides a surprise! lesbian character which was very welcome. In fact, Alice discovering her grandmother’s affection for another woman is one of the most pointed scenes in the book; while I didn’t find Alice’s reaction particularly likeable, I did find it very believable, especially for a character based on Laura Bush.
I read Sittenfeld’s other book, Prep, a few years back and don’t really remember it; this book will definitely remain in my mind.
Recommended: It’s even better if you’re a political junkie like me. If only real autobiographies were this interesting.