Portrait of Laura

When excerpts of the novel, American Wife were posted in early July, the obvious references to the life of the current first lady (and the fact that the excerpts were “steamy”) brought some strident protests. Maureen Dowd, who clearly read more than just the excerpts, jumped into the fray and defended the book, saying the portraits of the First Couple “are trenchant and make you like them more.”

The book will be released on Tuesday; USA Today features a review today. Noting that the book’s release date coincides with the Republican National Convention, the review says author Curtis Sittenfeld (who, in case you are wondering, is a woman), “creatively fills in the blanks” of the Laura Bush story (actually, the Alice Blackwell story, as the main character is named).

Reading the book could bring on a curious feeling, which USA Today describes,

It may be impossible for readers not to picture President and Mrs. Bush while reading about Alice and Charlie. This gives the novel cinematic qualities that enhance the experience. But explicit sex scenes will make you feel like a voyeur.

In a sidebar, USA Today tries to discover if the First Lady will be indulging in that voyeurism (talk about a multi-layered experience). A spokesperson says she “has no plans to read [it].”

So far, reserves are not heavy at the four large library systems I checked. They show a total of 166 copies on order in both print and audio, with 410 reserves, which is about 2.5 per copy.

American Wife

Curtis Sittenfeld

  • Hardcover: $26.00
  • Publisher: Random House (September 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400064759
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064755
  • Audio CD: Abridged, $34.95
  • Reader: Kimberly Farr
  • Publisher: Random House; (September 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739323865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739323861

One Response to “Portrait of Laura”

  1. Cari Says:

    I am one of those people who came to you from Unshelved. I’m reading this book right now (an ARC… I’m bad and just getting to it now). I love it so far. And I’m definitely not picturing the Bushes… to me, the Blackwells are completely different characters. Maybe this will change (I’m about 200 pages in) but this book is important to me not for the political aspect, but for the excellent writing and compelling plot.