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Bookmobile: Lewd American Wife Based on Laura Bush?

Best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld has written American Wifea novel about a quiet librarian, and wife of a bumbling American president. The main character "Alice" might as well be called "Laura," as the story meshes snippets from Mrs. Bush's life with the stories of Sittenfeld's imagination.

Radar has provided some arousing excerpts from the book. Details of the presidential sex life are chronicled, as well as the realization that "Alice" had an abortion, and that her grandmother is a lesbian. The book graphs details from Laura Bush's pre-White House days, including a fatal car accident she was a part of when she was 16. But, Sittenfeld amplifies the drama by writing that "Alice" proceeded to have sex with the brother of the boyfriend she killed with her car.

Do fascinating public figures make for good literary muses? Would you indulge in a good read even if it bothered you that the author treated the First Lady disrespectfully to sell books?


Join The Conversation
bibliophile bibliophile 8 years
Obviously none of you have ever read the book. I have and I think Sittenfeld showed a tremendous amount of respect in drawing the character of Alice, who is a bright, independent, and sympathetic woman who has made certain choices in life with no regrets. And from the interviews I've heard Sittenfeld give, it's clear that she has an obvious affection and admiration for Laura Bush.
janneth janneth 8 years
I think about poor Laura Bush, never did anything wrong or in poor taste or mean while first lady. Always kind and compassionate. It must be kinda freaky to read a book about yourself and what you are thinking and doing, all fiction. I must admit, it sounds like a good read.
stephley stephley 8 years
Geez Liberty, Dowd writes about how private Laura Bush is, then says what a great job the book does of revealing her.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 8 years
Maureen Dowd good op-ed defending the book. Check it out.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Yeah, You would think she would be acting more like Hillary Clinton.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
Laura Bush........ something seems off with how extraordinarily quiet and sweet she acts compared to her lying cheating man.
stephley stephley 8 years
The Clintons had 'Primary Colors' to deal with, the book and movie.
nicachica nicachica 8 years
I have no beef with Laura Bush - she always struck me as the pleasant PTA president next door who baked cookies, held down a part-time gig at a respectable company and seemed normal in a sea of crazy. I'm positive that she's nowhere near that mental image, but still, she promotes it pretty well. Ehhhh...there's no way you can really stop this book from coming out but it just seems in pretty poor taste. One more thing, i wonder if the general consensus would still be contemptuous if it were a book based on Hillary Clinton...?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
This is a load of horse manure. Trashing the President has become so passe that now we have to bash the first lady, even if it is only loosely similar. I'll stick to my historical non-fiction.
stiletta stiletta 8 years
I may not purchase your poorly scribbled ficto-biography, but I shall defend to the death your right to make millions peddling it. Who am I kidding? I'm going to run out and buy it now!
Meike Meike 8 years
No. I find the life stories/gossip of political figures and celebrities utterly boring. Hence, why I don't frequent the Popsugar.
em113 em113 8 years
Sounds like crap (just like Prep) I'm sorry but that book just sucked. She tried to be relevant by capitalizing on something trivial (the gossip girl book induced preppy-wasp craze) with Prep and now she's trying to sell books with an even trashier hook. She came to my creative writing class to talk about Prep so I really wanted to like it, but I could not take it or her seriously.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
all this is doing is drumming up great publicity for the book, bad publicity is good publicity. Some moron said they wrote to Random House and said they would never buy another book again if this was published, umm yeah cos Random really gives a flying flip about your $20 contribution a drop int he millions of dollars they will get. Who actually said it's based on Laura did the author say that or did the media assume that she did so because there is a bumbling president with a quiet wife?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"how could he possibly be an unscrupulous politician with such a cute little butt?" Is there a "cringe" emoticon???
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Not like this.
melissacwalker melissacwalker 8 years
Oh, every writer uses some inspirations from real life, and I really like books by Curtis. I'm all for it!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Not to mention, with everyone knowing this was based loosely on her life, the mixing of fact and fiction could really be a type of slander. the general book buying public wouldn't know which events were true and which weren't. This is tricky ground and tacky to say the least. I am so tired of authors and stupid, stupid hollywood just regurgitating old ideas. Heck, Hollywood doesn't even try to play it off as something new. Just remakes and comic books.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 8 years
I'd hardly call Laura Bush fascinating. :zzz:
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
If I was Laura I would buy a copy, and use it for toilet paper.
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
I'm going back and forth on the appropriateness of this, but one thing I do know: I will not turn to Curtis Sittenfeld next time I need an erotic-fiction fix. Those excerpts sent me into giggles. Which perhaps is the point, this Stepford-esque character trying to talk about sex. I really dislike roman a clefs when they're too obvious. I could never get on the Jennifer Weiner bandwagon because one of the minor characters in Good in Bed was so obviously Minnie Driver. I mean, every single detail. And the character's name: Maxi Ryder. Come ON.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 8 years
Sy you crack me up!
Jillness Jillness 8 years
This sounds pretty lame. No matter if you like her husband or not, this is just tacky. I agree with what you have said about literary merit, Jude.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I think he embellished quite a bit but it sounds interesting. I may borrow it from the library.
em1282 em1282 8 years
Kris, that's crazy about your friend! And like syako said, it would be creepy and invasive...but, not surprising. I think you'd be shocked to find out how many people are that interested in finding out about your life, even if you're just a regular Joe Schmoe. Hell, I have a stalker who has tried to talk to me and even admitted to trying to track down my train. Invasive much?? :irk: I blame "reality" entertainment for stuff like this. Obviously people will always be interested in other peoples' lives--human nature and all that--but it's just so much more magnified now, IMO.
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