ebook, 432 pages.
Read from September 13, 2021 to September 17, 2021.
Okay crew, I am officially 20 books behind on my reviews and have some serious catching up to do. It’s been a shit show over here in Hong Kong the last two months and my schedule has been turned upside, yet again, for what feels like the millionth time. I’ve got some time so I am going to try my best to get through my backlog even if it means writing shorter reviews.
If someone had told me I would read a fictional story about Hilary Clinton and love it I would have called them bluff. Enter Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld…
What if Hilary Rodham didn’t marry Bill Clinton? How would the world of politics fare? What would have changed and would it have been for the better? These are the questions that author Curtis Sittenfeld answers in writing this book as she reimagines Hilary’s life and career after opting not to marry Bill. This isn’t Sittenfeld’s first time writing a political-alternative narrative as in 2008 she wrote a book called American Wife that echos the life of the First Lady that is reminiscent of Laura Bush’s time in the Whitehouse.
Sittenfeld clearly did her homework when writing this book in order to get the wider picture of both Hilary and Bill. The first part of the book encompasses Hilary and her family and how she meets Bill while at Yale. The ensuing sex scenes feel awkward at first since you know that these people aren’t just merely characters in a book but actual people with a real romantic history. There is a sexy naked saxophone scene that I will forever remember, for better or for worse. While the sex scenes themselves lose their awkwardness you become enthralled with the inner workings of Hilary and her ambitions. The writing is concise, exciting, and introduces you to this intricate world of politics and the scandals behind them.
Sittenfeld carefully shaped this story around real quotes and real historical situations and made Hilary’s alternative life seem so real. The book is meant to dismantle the misogyny that the real Hilary has faced her whole life and attempts to show reasons why Hilary may have stayed with Bill after his infidelities.
Some of my favourite parts of the book include cameos from Donald Trump and how he would have fit into this alternative narrative. The way Sittenfeld wrote Trump and his dialogue felt so comically accurate. The ending of the novel was also immensely satisfying and moving.
Sittenfeld has clearly found her niche as I could not put this book down. If someone can make me read a book about political figures and love it, they must have some serious talent. A highly recommended read for anyone looking for something different and thought-provoking.