It has been confirmed that the completely enigmatic Laura Bush is shopping around a memoir (“a positive book, with a minimum of criticism”) which should score her at least as much as Hillary Clinton got paid for Living History — a cool $8 million. Now we’ll finally know what was going on inside her press-shy head all these years.
Lucky for Bush, this won’t be the first time that her life is presented in book form. Slightly-obsessed author Curtis Sittenfeld’s best-selling novel American Wife was loosely based on the First Lady’s story. So what can Mrs. Bush learn from her predecessor’s work?
After the jump we comb through the reader reviews of American Wife on Amazon.com and make a few suggestions. Leaven any you might have in the comments.
Make sure to explain to the reader what you see in your husband. In detail. “We gain little insight into their relationship, and we never really know what they see in each other (except perhaps desperation on Alice’s part — unmarried into her 30s, you can’t escape the idea that she honestly feels she can’t do any better).”
Don’t self edit so much that you become hard to relate to. “I can’t find many reasons to warm up to Alice. She’s so reserved and so rigid and so downright prissy that I just couldn’t care about her. I can’t help thinking that Ms. Sittenfeld was so afraid of having her novel referred to as ‘chick lit’ that she stripped out all the humor, all the passion and all the foibles of Alice — in other words all the things that make us root for the women who star in all those ‘chick lit’ novels. If I could have cared about Alice more, and rooted for her then this story might have been a lot more human.”
Be careful not to lose steam once you get to the White House era. “Alice’s early years through her romance with Charles I actually found quite engaging. It is when the couple gets to Washington that the story does not hold together for me, and the ending felt flat.”
Don’t talk so much about your husband that you forget to talk about what you’ve been doing in Washington. “I keep plodding away at this book because I keep hoping for a redeeming factor that made this a good novel. I haven’t found it and I don’t say this often, but this book was really a waste of my time. I don’t care for those passive characters who just observe life and though she has feelings of guilt that she is living high on the hog, she does absolutely nothing to alleviate those feelings.”