nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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American Wife

Not me, but the title of a book I have just finished. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld was published in 2008 to great critical acclaim. Reading it in our New York apartment, it seems a good book to start our time here. The story of a fictional (but loosely based on Laura Bush) First Lady, who looks back on her life and how she got to the White House from her humble Wisconsin beginnings. I enjoyed it, it’s got a nice tone to it and although I was a bit surprised that the rise of Charlie Blackwell to State Governor and then President was covered in a few pages of the 600 page book – you’d think it was a fairly important plot line. I compare the experience of Alice Blackwell, fictional First Lady to the current First Lady, Michelle Obama. She is a hugely impressive woman: she went to Princeton (as does the fictional President in the American Wife) and Harvard Law School and had a very successful legal career before entering the White House in 2008. The First Lady in American Wife was a librarian who gave up her job when she got married – how life has changed for women now, not that I’m knocking being a librarian, of course. Last Sunday’s New York Times got its priorities right and dissected the First Lady’s wardrobe, extolling her preference for sleeveless dresses (well, she has the arms, no bingo wings there) and a fondness of Michael Kors (no longer on Project Runway’s judging panel, for anyone interested, but now proud owner of massive store on London’s Regent Street). Good to see the US press is as obsessed with high profile women’s wardrobes as they are in the UK – I think of Kate Middleton in particular (let’s see what her pregnancy wardrobe brings us). ┬áSamantha Cameron by way of contrast, as the UK’s First Lady, gets nowhere near as much attention as the First Lady in the US and she’s more stylish than all of them.