It’s almost Independence Day, so I tried to think of a book I’ve read that has something to do with the U.S., it’s history, or something on theme. Finally, I’ve decided on a book. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is a novel loosely based on the life of former First Lady Laura Bush. But don’t let party preferences stop you from reading the novel. While it gets into politics, it’s main focus is on the journey of a young woman who has had to face difficult decisions just like many of us.
The story revolves around main character Alice Lindgren. In the exposition, we see Alice, a responsible only child, just graduating high school in the 1940s. Her parents have allowed her to take the car to a party where she is planning to meet her crush and see where things go. Like any teenage girl, she is giddy at the thought of what might happen as she drives to the party. Then the worst hits. Literally.
Alice gets into a car wreck with the guy she is going to the party to see. While she is injured, her crush doesn’t make it. In a sea of guilt, Alice goes to his house some time later and only his brother is home. In a turn of events, Alice hooks up with the brother and becomes pregnant, leading to her abortion her grandmother takes care of.
Alice goes through a phase of realizing the fragility of life. She goes to college, makes friends, and earns her degree to become a school librarian. Through all this she makes a friend who eventually introduces her to the former fratstar Charlie Blackwell. And because this novel is based on true-life, she falls for him. His affluent and conservative family and the country club vibes are a bit out of her quiet comfort-zone, but she manages.
While Alice is completely fine with being a librarian the rest of her life, Charlie decides his path is in politics, leading him to becoming governor and then president. Unfortunately, Alice’s past is now catching up to her. What wouldn’t one of her former friends tell the papers for a sum of money?
With this story and the 4th of July coming up, I wanted to pair this novel with a festive drink. I chose The Firework.
– Tropicana Strawberry Peach (or some other strawberry/peach juice)
– 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
– 1/2 oz. lime juice
– Ginger Beer
Put a few ice cubes into a glass of your choice and pour in all ingredients, topping off with the ginger beer. Stir. You can garnish with strawberries or peach slices.
Enjoy your holiday or summer vacation with a good book and please drink responsibly.