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Rodham: Book summary and reviews of Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Rodham

A Novel

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld X
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
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  • Published in USA  May 2020
    432 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn't married Bill Clinton?

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she's attending Yale Law School, and she's on the forefront of student activism and the women's rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld's powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Sittenfeld movingly captures Hillary's awareness of her transformation into a complicated public figure. ... Often funny, mostly sympathetic, and always sharp." - Publishers Weekly

"Daring, seductive, and provocative ... [an] exhilaratingly trenchant, funny, and affecting tale ... Sittenfeld orchestrates a gloriously cathartic antidote to the actual struggles women presidential candidates face in a caustically divided America." - Booklist

"It's enjoyable to hear [this Hilary] think about her own desires, her strengths and weaknesses, her vulnerabilities and self-justifications; it's also fun to see how familiar events would still occur under different circumstances." - Kirkus Reviews

"Startlingly good .... Sittenfeld is one of my favorite writers." - Kate Atkinson, author of Big Sky

"Rodham is a provocative, bitingly funny re-imagining of what a woman's life could be if she didn't need to compromise her own ambitions in support of her partner's. Sittenfeld has written a nuanced, astute portrait of one of modern history's most contentious figures, and never shies away from either the thornier aspects of her character, or those of our society." - Refinery29

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