Curtis S(h)ittenfield – American Wife

I picked this up in a charity shop, read the amazing views and chose to ignore the alarm bells  ringing when I saw it was part of Tesco´s book club,  maybe I should have taken more notice of them.

This novel is based upon the life of Laura Bush which of course straightaway creates a problem – how do you make any one sympathetic to someone who marries a character based on George W Bush?

The first part that deals with  Alice Blackwell´s (Laura) early life is very readable and interesting.  The episode of her causing a death in a car accident that was based on Laura Bush´s real life.  This episode forms a great deal of the basis of Alice´s character.

The George W Bush character Charlie seems harmless to start with but gradually becomes more annoying, and then just simply idiotic and more extreme.  Alice seems intelligent and sensible so here is no convincing explanation of why would she marry this man.   There is a nice little twist at  regarding his presidency but in order to achieve this it means the novel doesn’t really explain how Charlie went from a not very intelligent man from a meat selling dynasty to president.    A real problem is the  weak characterisation,  Alice starts off so interesting but ends up as just a trophy wife who is a docile doormat who even ends up getting a facelift, so you are left feeling frustrated.

Overall a novel that starts well but deteriorates as it goes on and will make you very angry.


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