Thursday, September 24, 2020

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring my current read, Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld.  The excerpts shared are from an eBook borrowed from the library. 

Beginning:  PROLOGUE

May 31, 1969

There was a feeling I got before I spoke in front of an audience and sometimes also before an event that was less public but still important, an event that could have consequences in my life--taking the LSATs, for example, which I'd done in a classroom on the campus of Harvard.  The feeling was a focused kind of anticipation, it was like a weight inside my chest, but it never exactly came from being nervous.  





The Catch

Chapter 1


The first time I saw him, I thought he looked like a lion.  



56% of eBook:  She seemed both happy and about to cry, neither of which was unusual on the campaign trail.  Multiple times a day, I was encircled in the arms of strangers, my  hair was petted, my hands and arms grabbed.



My thoughts:  This novel is a fascinating imagining of Hillary Rodham Clinton's life and career had she followed her head rather than her heart after meeting Bill Clinton in the 1970s.  It speaks to the challenges and difficulties talented, ambitious women faced at that time--and still face--in male-dominated professions, and offers food for thought about fate and what can happen when the heart wants what the heart wants.  It's a thought-provoking read.



From Goodreads:  From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a 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 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. Then she meets a fellow law student named Bill Clinton. A charismatic Southerner, Bill is already laying the groundwork for his political career.

In each other, Hillary and Bill 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 turned him down more than once, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour de force of fiction, Hillary follows a different path. Listening to her doubts about the prospective marriage, she endures a devastating break-up and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that crosses paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the trade-offs all of us must make to build a life.

Brilliantly weaving actual historical events into a riveting fictional tale, Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute 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 mostly run by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel. 








This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. 




  1. Rotham made the rounds during this months Six Degrees of Separation Meme. Many mixed feelings about it. I don't know myself if I would read it, don't really share the sentiment. But love the premise!

    Happy weekend and here's my Weekend Book Friends 10

  2. I am so eager to read this one, now resting on my nightstand. Soon! Great excerpts! Here's mine: “THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS”

  3. Hi,
    Sounds interesting, but not my cup of tea..have a great day!

  4. I see this everywhere, but it really doesn't appeal to me. The Clintons have fascinating real lives. A coulda, woulda, shoulda fictional version seems distracting to me.

  5. I would definitely read this one! Happy weekend!

  6. I really enjoyed reading Rodham - hope you like it too :) Thanks for sharing and have a great week!