*****THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!! THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!! You have been warned….*****
I wrote about this book this past week before I was finished. This is what I said:
I’ve been reading this book. Several of you told me it was one of your favorites. Reading the summary, it looked like a story I would love. Are you sensing my hesitation?? The book…it’s dragging. I have about 40 pages left and I will finish it, but it’s been tedious. The story as a whole: yes. It’s intriguing. But I thought this was more about a woman who entered the White House as the President’s wife, but didn’t really want to. Didn’t fit in. As someone who answered that I would love to be Michelle Obama for a day to see what it’s really like to live in the White House, I was so excited about this. But, (and if you are planning to read this, maybe skip to my next bullet) only the last section is about her time in the White House. Also, the first 3 sections are fairly sequential. They will mention past events or give a little anecdote to supplement what is happening, but mostly it’s in order. The last section? Bounces all over. You never see what it was like during the campaign. The time is 2008, but most of the last section spends its time in the previous years. Throwing in tidbits that are important to the story, but apparently not important enough to actually be in the story. It just frustrates me. I feel she knew she wanted this story to include time in the White House, but she let the rest of the story go on too long, so it got shoved into the end of the book. Maybe the last 40 pages will save it? Maybe?
I’m torn. Very torn. Like I said, I thought it would be more about the time in the White House, so I was very disappointed in that respect. I think more time could have been given to that and it would have added to the story instead of the time shuffling in the last section.
Also, before reading, I had no clue it was based on Laura Bush. When I read that in the foreword, I paused. I won’t discuss politics, but I wasn’t a Bush fan for my own reasons. I was afraid this was going to be a political book and I wasn’t into that. I wanted a good romance book with a little intrigue. But I read anyways.
And I liked it. Truthfully, until the last section, I liked it a lot. I loved that it wasn’t cliché and that she was such a devoted librarian. I personally want the Giving Tree she made. And the Yertle the Turtle.
I thought she should have talked to her friend earlier about her romance with “Charlie”, but I liked them. I think he brought some life to her otherwise mundane life, and I think she settled him down. The way Sittenfeld describes Charlie makes it hard for me to see George in him, but I’ll give it to her. I saw “W”. I can use my imagination.
I thought she was very human and very real. I liked that not everything worked out perfectly, but she was still so very likeable.
My issues with the book are these:
1. I think the summary on the book presents it as a different story. There is nothing wrong with the story that it is, but it’s not what would be expected when you read the jacket of the book.
2. The last section needed to be expanded to really do it justice. I won’t pretend I know how to write a novel or I could write a better book, but if it’s based on Laura Bush, at least give more insight into the beginnings at the White House. Moving in. Getting used to the staff. Campaigning. Those things. Don’t skip ALL of that and just have the last 100 pages be a throw together. It drove me nuts. The back and forth, the commentary, that at times felt preachy. Gah.
Basically, the end ruined the book. Maybe I needed it to end in section 3 and then she could write an entire other book for the last section.
However, I liked that she didn’t vote for him. I found it amusing. Then wondered if I could have done that or would I have just done what was expected? I like that she could still be her own person and she wouldn’t bend her beliefs just because her husband decided to run for President.
I was 13 when Bush was elected. My biggest concerns were when the next Backstreet Boy concert was and how to convince my dad to buy tickets. Oh, and who was my friend that week. And learning I liked boys. 13 was a lame year.
So as I was reading the book, I was constantly wondering what had really happened in her past and what was made up for the book.
The car accident? Real. Her views on abortion? Real. No clue if she really had one, however. Personally, none of our business.
It actually makes me want to read her biography and I don’t usually like or read non-fiction.
So that’s my review. I liked the first part. I didn’t like the end until the last 5 pages.
What are your views about this? I know some of you shared, but now that I’m finished and know the end, what were your thoughts?