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American Wife | [Curtis Sittenfeld]

American Wife

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."
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Publisher's Summary

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."

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was 17 shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck.

So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican Party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes president, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek, one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility.

As Charlie's tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: 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?

©2008 Curtis Sittenfeld; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady's. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable." (Kurt Andersen)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (281 )
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3.8 (94 )
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4.2 (95 )
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  •  
    mspoet 09-04-10
    mspoet 09-04-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An interesting insight"

    First of all, I'm always impressed when a male author can write so well in a woman's voice. This book also presents a plausible picture of what it might have been like being the wife of a well-known, recent president and also a believable characterization of the personality of that president. I felt like Sittenfeld did some thorough research and created a really believable story. For my taste though, there was a little too much graphic sex ... athough some might argue that it was important in establishing the nature of both the husband and the wife.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah New Canaan, CT, USA 08-05-09
    Sarah New Canaan, CT, USA 08-05-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Wonderful-- honest and moving"

    I so enjoyed this book. Sittenfeld has done an amazing job creating the characters, especially Alice. The story is unflinchingly honest and I got totally pulled into the world the author creates: the family, the struggles of this woman as a wife and mother. What a treat to read a story, and to get to know a character, so fully developed as this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nina Birmingham AL United States 07-28-09
    nina Birmingham AL United States 07-28-09 Member Since 2007

    Nina

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    "Surprised to find I liked it"

    Very good story. Would recommend even to people like myself who are not a shrub fan.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Lundquist Springfield, OR United States 06-10-09
    Julie Lundquist Springfield, OR United States 06-10-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Voyeurism at its Worst"

    This book is a testament to poor taste. Although written as a work of fiction, there are definite parallels to the life of Laura Bush, which the author readily admits. Political biases aside, the crudeness of the content was unnecessary and geared toward the interests of those who like a trashy read.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret manitou springs, CO, USA 05-07-09
    Margaret manitou springs, CO, USA 05-07-09 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent read, kept my attention"

    This was my first audio book, I had thought that I might have a problem concentrating on listening. This book was so good I didn't want to remove the earplugs. Entertaining, timely and a wonderful insight into what a first lady's life might be like. It really prompts one to think about privacy issues.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana C. 04-03-09
    Dana C. 04-03-09 Member Since 2002
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    "it is the president"

    The 'American Wife' is a cardboard character--very two-dimentional. Also, I don't need to hear that our president was 'pumping inside her.' These are details not necessary to the story at all and not how I want to think about the leader of our country.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise K. Trainor New York 03-22-09
    Denise K. Trainor New York 03-22-09 Member Since 2005
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    "disappointing"

    Very S-L-O-W
    the story at times seemed pointless
    Was hard to hang in till the flat ending

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Worcester, MA, USA 01-09-09
    Rhonda Worcester, MA, USA 01-09-09
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    "FANTASTIC!"

    I loved this book; it was so well written and so interesting. Even if I did not know who it was modeled after, the story would have been interesting anyway. I was very impressed and it was nice to make a good choice. The narrator was great too.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-13-08
    11-13-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Great Writer"

    Curtis Sittenfeld is an extremely talented writer. There is an honesty and an accessibility to her writing that is rare and delightful. The last section of the book was light on plot, but still enjoyable. Overall, I totally recommend. Don't worry about the politics of it. It's a story about people.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolann 09-27-08
    Carolann 09-27-08

    I live in Michigan and have been a member of auible since it's onset. Hobbies are photography and writing...I am in the process of formatting my first novel for kindle and I hope everyone will read it. I LOVE AUDIBLE and listen to at least 3 unabridged books a month. !

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disqusting"

    It takes about two chapter to realize who this book is directed towards. The author can't wait to give you a CLUE in the prologue.

    It saddens me that poetic license is taken on public figures, and the opinions...and they are only author opinions....are forced down the throats of the readers. The beginning sexual behavior the author conjured up to be behavior of a future first lady was appalling.

    The saddest part......this author is capable of telling a good story and she could have chosen her subject with more descretion; and entertained
    instead of using her creative license....to promote her personal vendettas.

    I would not recommend this writer to anyone.

    2 of 13 people found this review helpful
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