My actual rating is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Sometimes I really liked this book and I really liked the main character, Alice. Other times, mostly toward the end, I wanted to yell “We got it! Fame is hard!” I added this book after reading that Alice was inspired by Laura Bush. Obviously I’m not the first person to look at this quiet, thoughtful, former librarian wind up with George W. Bush of all people. American Wife closely mirrors the events of the former first lady’s life from childhood until her husband’s second term in office. Most of her decisions in adulthood, revolve around a tragic accident during her teen years, in which a boy she was enamored with was killed.
I have to say I often found this book uncomfortable to read. Mainly because I found myself relating to the character of Alice quite a lot. So even when she was making decisions that I wouldn’t necessarily have made, I understood them. Needless to say this was rather jarring for a dyed-in-the-wool liberal to find herself relating to a character’s decision to marry the literary incarnation of GWB. Toward the end of book, which details their years in the White House, I found Alice’s ruminations on fame to be a little tedious. I only need to be told so many times how few people you can really trust and how people think they own you because you are famous. I got it. Otherwise, I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who’s willing to accept that people with other political views are just people and not the actual devil.