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So instead of writing an original novel, the author here steals the persona of a real person for its publicity value. Right? And instead of using the logic of the life of the public person, the author makes up a novel logic. And all this is used to sell books at the expense of the public person, who is never actually named.

Isn't that a kind of rape?


I don't know if I'd go that far.  In my copy of the novel, there's a Q&A with the author at the end that addresses how she came to write the book and what she was hoping to explore in the process.  Sittenfeld comes across as honestly interested in the inner life of a woman who, given the protagonist's background, etc., would make these kinds of choices.  I mean, did Sittenfeld know that the general shtick would sell copies?  Sure.  But authors make those kinds of choices all the time.  (Primary Colors, anyone?)  I think the real test of the novel is whether it would be interesting/relevant/readable if Laura Bush had never existed -- i.e., whether it can stand on its own, and I think that it does.


[this is good] If that were true, then the gossipy piggybacking was completely unnecessary, right? At least from the point of view of writing and editing. The commercial point of view requires the tittilating aspects to come to the fore. 

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