Quoted and noted: ‘American Wife’

21 Oct

“But I should note, for all my resistance to organized religion, that I don’t believe Charlie could have quit drinking without it. It provided him with a way to structure his behavior, and a way to explain that behavior, both past and present, to himself. Perhaps fiction has, for me, served a similar purpose — what is a narrative arc if not the imposition of order on disparate events? — and perhaps it is my avid reading that has been my faith all along.” ~ Alice Blackwell in Curtis Sittenfeld’s “American Wife”

I read and reread this paragraph when I came upon it last night. I’ve never heard a comparison like that, and I love this. That a book can be someone’s faith … that faith and religion provide the same type of instructions or structure … The similarity — which is one I don’t think I could have come up with in a million years — fascinates me.

At a note to readers: “American Wife” is fantastic. It reminds me of “The Time-Traveler’s Wife” in tone and topic. In each, the protagonist is the wife, and the stories tell of  an average man — who does extraordinary things — through his wife’s eyes. It’s a fiction book that is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush.

(Also worth noting: I’m ashamed to admit this, but I thought Curtis Sittenfeld was a man through the first hundred or so pages. “Curtis” is traditionally a man’s name, yes? As I read, I marveled that a man could write so spectacularly from a woman’s point of view. Yeah, Curtis is totally a chick. Whoops.)

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One Response to “Quoted and noted: ‘American Wife’”

  1. victoria67 October 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    thanks for visiting my blog!

    i read this book years ago but i remember i LOVED it;such a good story and gripping character(s).

    have a great weekend, hope you get to the pumpkin patch!

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