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Die Frau des Präsidenten: Roman (2009)

von Curtis Sittenfeld

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3,1302173,275 (3.66)226
On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House--and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, "almost in opposition to itself." How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?--From publisher description.… (mehr)
  1. 21
    Primary Colors von Joe Klein (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: Satire of the Clinton's.
  2. 00
    The Abstinence Teacher von Tom Perrotta (sturlington)
  3. 00
    Behave von Andromeda Romano-Lax (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Both novels are based on actual intelligent women who married powerful men & both do a great job examining that dynamic
  4. 00
    A Quiet Life von Natasha Walter (charl08)
  5. 00
    The Perfect Wife von Ann Gerhart (batesharbuck)
    batesharbuck: It might be nice to compare the American Wife to the real person
  6. 00
    Freddy and Fredericka von Mark Helprin (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: Thinly veiled satire of famous British royals (Charles and Di).
  7. 00
    Der Soziopath von nebenan. Die Skrupellosen: ihre Lügen, Taktiken und Tricks von Martha Stout (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: One of Stout's examples seems to be a not-so-thinly veiled George B. Interesting to read the nonfictional (but speculative) & fictional portrayals together.
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I picked up this book because I loved Eligible by the same author and this one seemed interesting. I had no idea this was a fiction based on the life of Laura Bush. Being quite unknown about the history of the Bush family, I treated this book just like any fiction novel. The book is divided into four sections each reflecting on a time in the life of our protagonist. The first couple of sections are interesting where we see the evolution of a young woman into a very passionate librarian. Alice’s relationship with her family, especially her grandmother is well explored. There is an incident that happens in her adolescence which changes her a lot and it looks like the guilt determines all her actions in the future.

When we meet her as a librarian in her thirties, she seems confident in herself and I expected she would do something important with her life because she had so much potential. Then she meets her future husband and that is where the story goes off the rails. Charles is exactly opposite to her in every way and his fun and easy nature is probably why she falls for him. However, he is an aspiring politician and she disagrees completely with his ideology. He doesn’t respect her positions or even seems interested in listening to her but thinks that she should be okay with his opinions because they are married. Even though she is an educated and qualified woman, she gives up her job and everything about herself for her marriage.

It would be okay if she did all this for the sake of love but you can’t shake the feeling that she marries him and all her subsequent decisions in her life are based on her determination that she doesn’t deserve anything better because of what happened in her teens. This would still be okay if her decisions only affect her but her total support of her husband in his political career surely does affect many more people, probably many adversely. All the justifications that she seems to be giving herself to believe that she is doing the right thing just feel like excuses and I can’t sympathize with her anymore. Even her little rebellion of not voting for Charles and not telling him about it might be enough of a justification to her for her decades of supporting an unworthy politician but it just antagonizes me more. I just can’t believe she being a liberal would support her husband who doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose and most other women’s rights. Once I got to know about him, it gets difficult to like the book anymore. I don’t know if I can call this book good writing because at the end, all I remember is I was disappointed with the protagonist. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
This book started out stronger than it ended. The main character seems very contained even during the interior monologues. Not sure that I buy the conclusion. ( )
  101ReasonsWhy | Jul 12, 2021 |
Adult fiction. Fictionalized account of the marriage of a woman whose life vaguely parallels (in very general ways) that of Laura Bush. Starts off ok--high school tragedy, troubled marriage, but ends in blah--here's the first lady, here are all the potential points of conflict between her ideas and her husband's political decisions, here is what she decides to do about it (not much). I'm not saying that she should have done anything differently, or that I necessarily would have acted differently, but as a novel it slumps. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Having read Sittenfeld's prior books, I was skeptical about this one but approached it anyway. I was apprehensive to say the least due to prior books as well as the "loosely based" on Laura Bush's life rumors I had been hearing. I'm glad I read it anyway. Very engaging, not predictable (in my opinion) and an overall good read.

Be forewarned: there are only 4 chapters in the whole 500 page book but there are some page breaks. For a chapter lover like me I found it easy to continue reading the book.

Give it a try even if you didn't like her previous work. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
I wanted to read this because I loved Rodham, and this book received so much acclaim when it came out. I didn’t think I’d want to read about a reinvention of Laura Bush, but in the past years my opinion about George Bush (and by extension Laura) has softened.

Anyway, this was much less juicy than Rodham, way more introspective. Maybe because there was no Bill Clinton or Donald Trump characters spicing things up! But both novels helped me see a very different perspective of a person I didn’t think I liked, and understand why a wife could love or respect that person.

Alice loves Charlie because he is fun. Funny and loving and brash. She feels lucky that he loves her, that she didn’t settle for a husband at 31. But she is aware of his faults - intellectual laziness, nasty temper. It seems like much of the time she just chooses not to think about his competence or lack of.

Usually I prefer more plot in my books, and this was very thoughtful at times. The contrast between the perceived life she could have had with Andrew Imhof, a sweet boy from high school (who died when she collided with his car). Would she have been happy living on a Wisconsin dairy farm? Or is she better/happier with Charlie and her discomfort as governors wife and First Lady? If she had remained a schoolteacher, she could have made an impact in people’s lives - a direct impact, that could have grown in size over time. As First Lady, she may have the ability to do more, and she wonders if she has done enough with the opportunities she has? How would she do more, given her dislike of the limelight, and the many areas where her beliefs differ from Charlie’s? ( )
  BeckiMarsh | Jan 10, 2021 |
Sittenfeld, author of Prep, has written an intelligent, bighearted novel about a controversial political dynasty. It's also the summer's most delicious read, a book you can guzzle like a cold, creamy milk shake.

 
“American Wife” is most engaging in its early chapters, when Alice Lindgren isn’t yet Alice Blackwell but an insecure young woman, haunted by the memory of the beautiful boy she’d accidentally killed as a girl yet dedicated to teaching and to a life defined by books. After she meets Charlie Blackwell and becomes his helpmeet, her independence swallowed up in his ambition, Alice seems to lose definition and, especially in the novel’s final, weakest section, titled “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” to become a generic figure of celebrity proffering bromides to an adulatory public.
hinzugefügt von SandSing7 | bearbeitenNew York Times, Joyce Carol Oates (Aug 29, 2008)
 
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On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House--and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, "almost in opposition to itself." How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?--From publisher description.

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Durchschnitt: (3.66)
0.5 3
1 17
1.5 5
2 72
2.5 21
3 220
3.5 94
4 403
4.5 54
5 141

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