"That the world was miraculous, frequently in inexplicable ways, I would not argue. That these miracles had any relationship to the buildings we called churches, to the sequences of words we called prayers—that I was less sure of."
If you haven't read American Wife yet, I'm guessing the book is either on your TBR list or you've made a conscious decision not to put it there. I would suggest a third alternative: read the first 3 sections, and then:
American Wife, based very loosely on the life of Laura Bush (a.k.a. Alice Blackwell), reads like an leisurely, well-written epic. Narrated by Alice, the story is at times funny and often poignant. Unfortunately, after writing a beautiful, engrossing tale about a woman who would be first lady and her charming-yet-flawed husband Charlie, Sittenfeld trades in her storyteller's perch for a pundit's soapbox.
The narrative jumps ahead 10 years, past Charlie's stint as governor and into his second term as president, where we meet one-dimensional incarnations of Charlie and Alice, instead of the interesting, complicated characters that had occupied the book thus far. This fourth and final section takes place over a single day, most of which Alice spends making bland, unenlightened reflections on her husband and his presidency, and then concludes with an utterly predictable flourish.
I don't know if Sittenfeld thought she had earned her soapbox after the first 3 sections, or if she simply wasn't comfortable writing about life in the presidency, but this book could have been great. Unfortunately, the final section drags it down to barely mediocre.
Laura Bush will be publishing her memoir next year.
Buy American Wife at Amazon.com
5 hours ago