American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

February - 12 - 2017

How does a teenager transform into America’s First Lady after being marked by the fact that she caused a traffic accident which resulted in the death of her boyfriend? But, above all, how does a boy with loads of money, with childish thinking thinking and serious alcohol problems become the U.S. President? The answer to these questions is related in an original manner, bold and exciting; by this novel in which Laura’s Bush creative life is recomposed, providing a subtle portrait of George W. Bush, seen through the eyes of his wife.

If other novels addressing historical events and political perspectives do so in a counter factual manner – a good example in this respect is “Plot Against America” by Philip Roth – Curtis Sittenfeld’s book broadly meets the reality we know, trying to place us in the light that is not visible to the public: what happened in the hearts and minds of the protagonists, how did they reached the place that we know that they reached. In other words, instead of “what would have been if it were otherwise” by Philip Roth, author of the novel “The wife of the President” proposes a “how was it possible to be so.”

Alice the librarian and the becoming politician Charlie are two characters that could not be more different. She – democrat, intelligent, prudent in everything she does, kind, selfless, stylish and passionate about literature. He – Republican from father to son, intellectually and culturally limited, superficial, a charming and childish unconsciousness only interested in baseball and politics. Alice tries to reconcile her love for this man that rose to quickly to a political position too high to which, although he doesn’t realize he can’t cope with.

She would like a discreet existence, interspersed with simple pleasures, while he lives with faith that he has a destiny to fulfill, a duty to his country, a “legacy” to leave behind to America. She believes that Charlie could become, if it tries a little, a good baseball coach in a high school, but she notes with amazement that he reached the U.S. president, the number one man of the world, a man who can decide whether to be peace or war. As he makes his dreams come true, she sees her fears fulfilled.

Is Alice doomed to bear the burden of a new moral fault after having barely passed over the tragedy of killing her high school friend by accident: that was done by helping her husband to whom she offered impeccable public support in promoting to the United States and to the world the public policies that blatantly contradicted her personal beliefs.
Reading the adventures of Alice in American the country of all possibilities, unexpected and even unwanted, which bring her to the White House while she didn’t even wanted to go to Washington, preferring to stay away from the. The world is not run by fools, as some believe, or criminals, as others think, but rather by people well-meaning unskilled, full of charisma and faith in their mission…

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