Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Wife 22
Author: Melanie Gideon
Published: May 29, 2012
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 400 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other. But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101). And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.
7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.
61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.
67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What youshouldn’t have.
32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.
Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions. But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions. As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.

My Thoughts: I was intrigued by the premise of this novel and, although I hadn't heard of it or the author before, I just had to pick it up and read it. The premise of this book is a simple one: a woman submits herself to be part of a marriage study, which asks her a variety of questions in regards to herself and her life. I really liked this idea, because when you think about studies like this, so many people are forthcoming with absolute strangers, but they wouldn't tell a single person that they actually know these things. So, I decided that I would just have to read this one to see how it would turn out. As I read, it became predictable and little annoying at times, but there was a lot of laughs and you could see some growth in the main character, Alice. 

The best and worst part of this book for me was Alice. There were times when I loved her and was on her side, and other times when I couldn't stand her and wanted to scream at her to stop being so stupid. She was showing growth in how she viewed her life (some chapters of the book are written as if they are scenes from a play, which is great, because Alice is a playwright) and her place in the world. Then there were times when I wanted to yell at her because she was being so stupid and annoying (convincing herself that her tween son is gay ... even if he is, she shouldn't be as stressed about it as she was). 

There were parts of this book that were great and others that definitely needed some work. The chapters were all varied, some in the form of Facebook messages, some in scene-form, and others just written as a chapter of a novel. It was great and really helped to get me more involved in the reading. I don't know if I would want to read another book by Melanie Gideon, but I will be interested to see if her next subject is as interesting as this one.

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