RaveThe Observer (UK)...a wilder ride than [the] pitch might suggest. I kept losing track, as I read, of what kind of novel it was and of whether or not I approved. The first third, cleaving roughly to reality and Bill and Hillary’s early years at Yale Law School and in Arkansas, includes a lot of feverish, Black Lace-type sex scenes ... The second, a meditation on the experience of a single woman in politics, follows Hillary back home to Chicago after she walks out on Bill. Finally and most surprisingly, in the last third of the book, Rodham becomes a kind of revenge fantasy for women who sublimate their own ambitions for the sake of their husband’s careers, at which point I had to tip my hat to Sittenfeld. I went into the novel thinking the entire premise was crass and came out of it thoroughly entertained ... I don’t hate Hillary, but I have had enough of her, or so I thought. The first surprise of the novel is how gripping it is; the second is how worthy its protagonist is as a subject for fiction ... There is a shadow text behind Rodham, which is the charge sheet of slurs, many of them misogynist, that the real Hillary has put up with for her entire career and which the novel seeks to dismantle ... It’s an irony of the book that, while seeking to rescue Hillary from caricature, it ends up being a kind of love letter to a type: the American bluestocking and female intellectual, who is given none of the licence of her less talented male peers. At the end, which I won’t spoil, I actually said out loud: \'Oh, my God\' – and, to my amazement, found myself moved.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe book strains, at times, to extrapolate broader lessons from what happened. It needn’t; the study of a family in extremis is enough. 'I long for this kid, my Jon, part of me,' Kushner’s mother writes in her journal, six months after the murder. One of the questions raised by the author is, How does one survive the worst thing? The only answer is this: A mother writing to her son, years after his death, 'Do you still know that you are loved?'