Book Review: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
I picked up this book at a used book sale, thinking it was oddly appropriate given the most recent election. I was looking for some "mindless" reading, as I am an English teacher and have to read all of the time. This ended up being the perfect read. As soon as I started, I could not put it down. I sailed through 300 pages over the span of a busy weekend and kept going as often as I could throughout the following week.
American Wife is separated into sections devoted to each major stage of the main character's life. I found myself fully involved in each section. It was almost as though each part could have stood on its own, but most especially the first section explaining the pivotal moment in Alice Lindgren's life, a tragic accident that forever shapes Alice.
Sittenfeld gives us honest and real characters with flaws, a characteristic I really enjoy in novels. I found myself wondering how Alice, a simple librarian, could one day become the first lady of the United States, but somehow, Sittenfeld made it very realistic.
I think the only flaw of this book is the ending. I was surprised how quickly it came about, having spent hours knee-deep in Alice's problems. It was almost as though it led to a sequel, but perhaps, there was nothing else to say. And that's okay. As a reader, I was left wondering what Alice and her family's life was like after the presidential terms and what new experiences she would face.
I would highly recommend this novel to someone looking for an intriguing, witty, and enjoyable read. While there are some serious aspects, the novel allows one to read without worrying beyond simple entertainment--exactly the type of novel I needed right now.