Sunday, January 11, 2009

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield

For my book club, we read Sittenfield's book Prep. I hated it, absolutely hated it. The main character was so weak, so desperate to please and be wanted. The explicit sex in the book was so awkward, which I suspect was appropriate considering the subject matter -- confused teenagers fucking.

But I was curious about Sittenfield's fictionalized take of Laura Bush.

Surely we all had moments where we wondered what Laura Bush thought about her husband and his policies. Was she angry, sad, encouraging, proud? Impossible to know behind the frozen expression on her face. The robot wife.

Some chose to believe that she must not approve. She's a woman who claims to love books and libraries. How can she stand by a man who so strongly disapproves of education and instead represents the antithesis of advancement through education?

No one understands the makings of a marriage except the two people involved. As viewers on the outside, we've no right to judge. But that doesn't mean we aren't at least curious.

After reading part of this though, I started feeling very angry for Laura Bush. Sittenfield has used some details about her life but added the same explicit sex that bothered me so much about Prep. Why would a person project those ideas onto the president's wife? Her intent could only be malicious. I doubt there was any sort of information to support what she wrote. The fact that she even thought this grossed me out.

I didn't finish reading the book. I tried reading the book, and then I listened to it on CD for a while during my daily commute, but one day I just quit because I realized I was bored.

Wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

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