This is the kind of book that you can’t stop reading. It has everything. Curtis Sittenfeld has packed this book with sex, death, betrayal, hope and characters you will love and love to hate. The main character, Alice, is fantastic. She’s incredibly well developed, complete with life-altering mistakes, crushes, guilty pleasures, intelligence, pride and the hypocritical opinions and decisions that humans simply have to have. At times I thought we were two peas in a pod. Other times I became angry and fed up with her decisions. I started to hate her only to later gain a better understanding of her and love her even more.
Her husband, the President, is clearly based on President George W Bush because of the time period the book is set in as well as the way he’s viewed by his public. While Charlie is a well rounded character that the reader is able to see different sides of, I was never able to develop a real affection for him. Alice’s serial sacrifices for their marriage comes off as one-sided and I am disturbed to say, perhaps too realistic for my liking. I find myself often unprepared for the the kind of compromise that a lasting relationship requires. How do people give up careers and locations that they love? How do they put up with a lack of compromise from their partners and continue to love them? But that’s life I think. People will put up will all sorts of things just to be with the one they love, to continue a relationship they deem worth it. How do they know?
I digress. This book is an engrossing, depressing, uplifting character-driven read that’s plot will not let you down. I highly recommend it.