American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld After having looked at this book several times over the last year or so, one of my GR groups finally decided to read it as a group read, which bumped it up on my list. The premise of the book, the story of a first lady's life, sounded interesting to me. And it really was, it was just not at all what I expected. What I expected to get in this book was insights into the life of the partner of a career politician. You know, lots of talk about how hard it is to be always campaigning, how difficult it is to keep your own persona, how to live in the background, but not BE the background. In short, a book about life in politics. What I got instead, was exactly what the book said, a wonderful book about an American Wife. She could have been many people, or anybody really. This book was a lot less about political life and a lot more about coming to terms with your life and the differences between you and your spouse. It was poignant, surprising, interesting, and uplifting. At times it made me laugh, at times it made me cry. Sometimes it made me say "aha!", at other times it solidified ideas I already had about love and marriage.

As I read through the book, though, I wondered how much of it was fiction, how much was based on actual American families and people. I found myself trying to figure out not only who Alice was based on, but also who Charlie, the husband, was based on. I have to say, in all my guesses, I never got it right until the last section of the book. This was the section where Charlie had actually become president (about the last 1/4 of the book) and it was were all of the political talk took place. At that point, based on dates, occurrences, and remarks by the author, it became apparent that the book was patterned after the life of Laura Bush. Although I have always respected Laura Bush and thought she was a very classy lady, this book gave me knew insight into her possible persona, and made me want to read more about this wonderful woman.