Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Days of Love...and Lack Thereof, Day 6


American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

I think I speak for everyone when I say, “You ain’t been in love until you’ve been in love with a Republican!” Especially if you’re a Democrat, am I right ladies? There’s got to be an ex-Gingrich or three that knows what I’m talking about! [Don't look at me.]
Curtis Sittenfeld
Alice’s life changes at the age of seventeen when she is involved in a fatal car accident. She becomes a serious, bookish (a librarian actually), quiet woman. When she meets Ivy Leaguer Charlie Blackwell from a prominent wealthy Texas--geesh--Wisconsin family she isn’t impressed. He’s self-centered, juvenile, not as smart as she is, and he likes the ladies and to party. Also, she’s a Democrat and he is a Republican on the political fast track. But alas, she becomes smitten with Charlie; he is, after all, charming, and handsome, and they have some major chemistry (yeah, you’ll picture George and Laura, but try to get over it). When his career catapults him to the Presidency and some of his policies become unpopular (two wars and reproductive rights), Alice must make a choice. Does she continue to stay in the background and let people assume she too agrees with her husband’s policies, or does she speak out? And can the marriage survive if she publicly disagrees with her husband while he is vulnerable? 

I found this an incredibly interesting idea given the political differences between George and Laura Bush. Laura came out in favor of gay marriage and pro choice after Bush left office, but you know…those two kids are doing all right. 


Get cozy and flip on the Celine Dion soundtrack, this book is going to put you in the mood for...something.  Once again I am going to discuss a book that is now, sadly, out of print.  It's just wrong.  If you read this crappy little blog at all, you know that A. I love books, and B. I love Canada, and C. I love a violent animal.  Zorro is a cat, of course.  Let's talk bears.

Stick with me here.  Bear by Marian Engel won Canada's Governor-General's Award and Margaret Atwood called it "a strange and wonderful book."  It's legitimately good literary fiction.  Here's the premise: a librarian, a lonely, timid woman, takes a job cataloging the library of the deceased Colonel Cary.  He lived on a remote island in the northern woods of Canada, and soon the librarian discovers that among his secrets is a pet bear.  The bear, she decides, will make good company.  She talks to the bear the way that she's never been able to talk to other people.  The bear becomes a pet...and then more of a companion as she becomes more isolated.  And then, well, yeah, it goes there.  Things I learned from Bear: 1. Don't have sex with bears. 2. Bears have bones in their boners. 3. You are NEVER so lonely that bestiality is a good idea. 4. A bookstore will go a full year without selling a copy, and as soon as you put up a staff selection saying that a woman sleeps with a bear, you'll sell out in a week.

Did I mention that Bear is an award-winning work of literary fiction?  I just thought I should state that again.  Also, who would have bet that I brought up the animal fornication before Gianna?  Anyone?

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