7 reviews

American Wife: A Novel
by Curtis Sittenfeld

Published: 2008-09-02
Hardcover : 576 pages
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38 clubs reading this now
24 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 7 of 7 members
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Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

1. The novel opens and closes with Alice wondering if she’s made terrible mistakes. Do you think she has? If so, what are they?

2. Alice’s grandmother passes down her love of reading. How else is Alice influenced by her grandmother?

3. Why does Andrew remain such an important figure to Alice, even decades later? Do you think they would have ended up together under different circumstances?

4. To what do you attribute Dena’s anger at what she calls Alice’s betrayal? Do you believe her anger is justified?

5. Is Charlie a likable character? Can you understand Alice’s attraction to him?

6. Does Alice compromise herself and her ideals during her marriage, or does she realistically alter her behavior and expectations in order to preserve the most important relationship in her life?

7. Were you surprised by the scene between Alice and Joe at the Princeton reunion? Why do you think it happened?

8. What would you have done in Alice’s situation at the end of the novel? Do you think it was wrong of her to take the stance she did?

9. How do you think Laura Bush would react to this novel if she read it?

Suggested by Members

Do your research on Laura Bush's life to add to the discussion!
by Hosozawa (see profile) 05/11/09

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

I think you’ll love American Wife for many reasons—for Curtis Sittenfeld’s insightful observations, engaging prose, and most importantly for her complex and dynamic heroine Alice Blackwell. I couldn’t put this novel down as I followed Alice’s remarkable journey from a quiet childhood and adolescence scarred by tragedy, through a whirlwind courtship and complicated marriage, to a life she never imagined, when her husband becomes president of the United States.

But what I most appreciate about American Wife is how it has something for every woman. At its heart this novel is the story of a fascinating woman who grapples with issues we also confront: the ups and downs of marriage, regrets about the past, the challenges of raising a child. Sittenfeld deftly explores relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and friends in this sweeping yet deeply personal novel.

I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did!

All best,

Laura Ford, Editor

Book Club Recommendations

A family on the way to the White House
by Diane860 (see profile) 09/24/09
Interesting story about a woman's live from childhood to an adult life in the White House. A terrible accidents affects the Alice's life through adulthood. Alice's life is told through her relationship with her grandmother, friend Dena, brothers Andrew & Pete and the Blackwell family. Charlie and Alice Blackwell's road to the White House seems to mirror the lives of the Bush family (accident, owning a baseball team, ivy league school, etc.).

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "n/a"by Rachel R. (see profile) 08/22/11

  "American Wife"by Karen C. (see profile) 07/03/11

Offered interesting insights into the life of a political wife. Interesting to speculate about what parts were based in fact and what were truly fiction. Overall a good read that would lead to a lot... (read more)

  "American Wife: A Novel"by Maureen C. (see profile) 12/08/10

  "American Wife: A Novel"by Lynn W. (see profile) 10/08/10

I liked the first part least, but found it fun once Alice and Charlie meet. Sometimes the juxtaposition between the fictional Alice and Charlie and President George and Laura Bush caused di... (read more)

  "Mixed Review From Our Group"by Diane M. (see profile) 09/24/09

Our group had mixed reviews of this book. Members who read the book without thinking of Laura Bush and her family liked it better than those who kept thinking about Laura Bush while reading the book.... (read more)

  "American Wife: A Novel"by Stacy J. (see profile) 07/31/09

  "The American Wife"by Sharon P. (see profile) 06/15/09

I really liked this book, it was much better than I anticipated...It made me want to read a biography on Laura Bush. I found it hard to put down, and when I finished it wanted more

  "American Wife"by tammi h. (see profile) 05/14/09

  "FANTASTIC!!!!!"by Carrie H. (see profile) 05/11/09

This was so much better than I thought it would be. The author has outdone herself here with a fscinating fictionalized story of Laura Bush. Couldn't put it down.

  "An enjoyable read that invoked great group discussion."by Bernadette B. (see profile) 04/22/09

This book reads like a memoir, so is not an action-packed novel, but more of a window into the ruminations of a first lady of humble upbringing who never imagined living a life of prominence... (read more)

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