Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Richmond Heights' "American Wife" Author Imagines Inauguration Day

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 8:18 AM

There are plenty of writers this week who are trying to make George W. Bush appear likeable and, yes, even sympathetic. It is his last week in office, after all. But let it be known that Curtis Sittenfeld was there first, and before the Bushes have even left the White House, she's already moved on.

This week Slate will be running a serialized novella by the Richmond Heights author about the Obama inauguration. Installment One of "All Along, This Was What Was Supposed to Happen" went up yesterday, with the remaining four to follow throughout the week.

Sittenfeld's latest novel, American Wife, published last year, imagines how a fictionalized Laura Bush would tell her own life story. Although it moves the Bushes from Texas to Wisconsin and relieves the President of his, shall we say, unique speech patterns, it accomplishes the seemingly-impossible task of turning the Decider-in-Chief into a romantic hero.

OK, so it all goes sort of downhill after that in the next section when the Decider goes into what the tabloids would call a "coke-fueled downward spiral," but I confess, while reading it, I forgot all about the 2000 and 2004 elections and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Guantanamo and everything else that I've raged against for the past eight years and thought, Wow, I like this guy. Later I amended it to, Gee, I wish they'd made him commissioner of baseball instead. I'll bet he'd've been way better than Bud Selig.

"All Along" does not concern the domestic life of the Obamas. (This is fortunate: I'm still a bit scarred from Sittenfeld's depiction of the Bushes' sex life, even though the most detailed parts purportedly took place more than 30 years ago.) Instead it describes the journey to Washington, D.C., undertaken by a woman named Patrice and her elderly Aunt Lettie (who hails from St. Louis -- yeah, represent!), whose dying wish -- although she is not dying -- is to see Barack Obama sworn in as President.

As an extra bonus, Slate has included audio of Sittenfeld reading the novella aloud. But I, personally, am just happy to have something new to read this week to cure my American Wife withdrawal.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 15th, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation