The American wife (recommended by S.) is the first person account of Laura Bush (in the story Alice Blackwell, nee Lindgren) and has a fascinating and captivating first half. Though I admit once I worked out (thanks, too, to S.) that it was the story of George W. I stopped being able to enjoy it quite so much. I just couldn’t respect my narrator anymore.
I had trouble with her narration for other reasons – a sort of prescience that felt out of place – and a self-effacement that didn’t feel genuine so much as performed to elicit sympathy.
The realist narrative (in the style of Richard Russo or Philip Roth) is a bit jarring at first – it’s been awhile since I read something that attends to the kind of jam spread on multigrain toast, or the colour of earrings and matching handbag) but is, ultimately, satisfying to be so thoroughly encouraged to enter a world.
I’m not going to say I *didn’t* like it. I tore through it, (happily my commute takes 40 minutes and is easy – I’m commuting against traffic and so always have a seat and it’s never noisy or crowded – and so I can read for a full hour and a half each day) and enjoyed it for the most part. But the George W part became very, very distracting in the later half and the somewhat indulgent narrator irked me. So… if you’re a Republican, read on?