I can't even remember where I came across a recommendation for Curtis Sittenfeld's novel American Wife but I am so glad I did. I devoured it in just a few days, staying up much too late and waking up early to read. Since finishing, I've also read her other books. Sittenfeld has a way of portraying feelings in such a real way, that I could never put into words the feelings that she explains so eloquently. American Wife is loosely inspired by First Lady Laura Bush's life, and I often found myself researching what was happening the book to see how accurate it was.
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president of the United States. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identify and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with-- and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband's presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.
This book was not only entertaining, it also made me think a lot about our government and politics, especially during this election year.