This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY LAURA STANNING
Alice Blackwell is a small-town library teacher from
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However, this is not a novel full of dramatic events, but rather one which follows the small steps of life; the little compromises and choices we make every day which ultimately define who we become. Unlike so many of the novels published about George Dubya’s era, Sittenfeld admirably resists the temptation to Bush-bash – his presidency and Alice’s position as First Wife are presented more as incidental facts than as the point of the book. American Wife is rather a sympathetic and delicate look at the life of a likeable and intelligent woman whose early tragedies loom large in her life, distorting not only her view of herself but also of how the world works. During the course of the novel we watch
Half novel, half biography, this is a fascinating and compelling story of a woman who, despite her husband’s position, remained an extremely private person, appearing in public more often as a devoted wife and mother than as herself. It is easy to view those who are close to high-profile figures as little more than a supporting cast, tugged (reluctantly in Alice’s case) into the spotlight by other people’s ambition. American Wife provides an insightful view of life from the wings, and of the difficulties of reconciling two lives; private and public.