Greetings, readers! It’s Lisa from Lisa’s Yarns. Emily is letting me take over her little corner of the interwebs to talk about our May book club selection – American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.
When I checked this book out from the library and realized it was 558 pages long, I almost audibly sighed… Lately I have been gravitating toward books in the 200-300 page range. As the weather shifts toward being summer-like, my attention span also shifts and I was worried I would not be able to finish this book by the end of the month. It was the book I had suggested for the month, though, so I was bound and determined to get through it by the end of the month.
Little did I know I would finish it in less than a week! This book turned out to be such a page turner! I fell in love with the main character, Alice, and as she was being swept away by Charlie Blackwell, I was swept away by the book!
The central theme of the book is the relationship between Charlie and Alice Blackwell. The book is based upon the life of Laura Bush – and wow did it spark my curiosity about her! I am hoping to read her autobiography sometime this summer.
In the book American Wife, we learn that Alice is actually a Democrat – so subscribes to a different political ideology than her husband. That is a challenge in itself. Now imagine having different political beliefs from your husband when he is the president of the United States.
There is a somewhat long passage of the book that I would like to quote that I think sums up the struggle of choosing between love and your political beliefs:
“If I were to tell the story of my life, … and if I were being honest, … I would probably feel tempted to say that standing that night just inside my apartment, … I made a choice: I chose our relationship over my political convictions, love over ideology. But again, this would be false honesty; it would once more contribute to a narrative arc that is satisfying rather than accurate. My convictions were internal – I’d rarely seen the point in expressing them aloud, and if I had, my entire political outlook could have been summarized by the statement that I felt bad for poor people and was glad abortion had become legal. And so I didn’t choose anything in this moment. I had met Charlie a matter of weeks before, and already the idea of living without him made me feel like a fish flopping on the sand. To go from being a Democrat to a Republican, or at least to pretend, through smiling obfuscation, that I had – this was a small bring to pay for the water washing back over me, allowing me to breathe. (p. 204)”
Alice chose love over her political beliefs. Could you do the same? Is it possible to have a healthy, loving, and sustainable relationship when your beliefs are so polarized?
Thank you Lisa! I too, read this book very very quickly. One snowy weekend to be exact! To answer Lisa's question.. I could NOT choose love over political beliefs because my belief's are a little more exact than "I feel bad for poor people.." I have dated multiple people with differing views and it seemed those guys that were as passionate as me and I would NEVER work. I remember freshman year of college debating whether we should invade Iraq or not with my very new boyfriend. We had exact opposite opinions and we couldn't really get around that. It angered me so much how he could care so little for other people/truth. Now my husband and I both agree on what I would classify on the important stuff for me, but even with us I am more outspoken! He just nods and smiles at me and I do know that his economic beliefs are far more conservative than my own, but if we differ too much he stays silent and lets me rant, like a good husband. I probably wouldn't be as nice!!! ;) Thanks again Lisa!