Despite (or because?) of my Japanese husband’s objections, I must share my deepest fascination with Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel, “American Wife.” It describes the life of a slightly ficitonalized Laura Bush. The book was published the day after we left San Francisco for Tokyo, but miraculously I found a copy at the SFO airport bookstore.
I love almost all first ladies, first lady candidates, and even VP candidate husbands. However, I’ve never much liked Ms Bush because of her probably Rx-induced vacant presence. Ms Sittenfeld, a confessed fan, has written *the* novel about this first lady and her unique contributions to femininity and country.
In the first section, “Alice” not only kills her high school friend and would-be boyfriend in a car accident, a fact that is documented. She also loses her virginity with the dead boy’s brother, and receives an illegal abortion performed by her grandmother’s lesbian MD lover. My favorite line, which I had to translate for my husband: “Andrew died, I caused his death, and then, like a lover, I took him inside me.”
I already anticipate the sadness I will feel when I reach the end of this massive tome of unexpected vulgarity and sympathy. No doubt it will provide many lessons for me to become a better American wife here in Tokyo.
Is anyone else reading this book now?