Title: Wife 22: A Novel by Melanie Gideon
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss
For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself…and finding herself again…in the middle of her life.
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 you shouldn’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.
Melanie Gideon’s Wife 22: A Novel is a clever, fiendishly funny and sometimes bittersweet novel that takes a thought-provoking look at long-term marriage. Alice Buckle is fast approaching middle age and feeling a bit lost as her children are growing up and her marriage begins to flounder. Her participation in an anonymous marriage study takes her back to the early days of courtship and marriage to her husband William. But it also reveals her current dissatisfaction with her marriage and she soon enters into an intense on line relationship with Researcher 101.
Alice is a typical suburban wife and mother whose marriage has gotten lost in the detritus of day to day living. She is easy to identify with as she worries about her son and daughter and struggles to overcome her irritations with William. The marriage study is, at first, an escape from her daily life, but quickly becomes an obsession as she discovers an attraction to Researcher 101.
Wife 22: A Novel has an eclectic and charming cast of characters. Nedra is Alice’s best friend and she is the type of friend who calls it like she sees it. She is brutally honest with Alice but their friendship is strong enough to survive the rough spots.
Alice’s children Zoe and Peter are typical teens. At fifteen, Zoe is indifferent to her mother and their relationship is often tenuous. However Alice shares and close relationship with Peter and their scenes are hilarious and quite touching.
Wife 22: A Novel is an easy read and Ms. Gideon has an appealing writing style. The dialogue is well-written and quite humorous. The questions Alice answers are insightful and interesting. The plot is unpredictable and fast moving.
Wife 22: A Novel by Melanie Gideon is a fun and engaging novel that incorporates various social media with the first-person narrative. Google searches, e-mail, Facebook status updates and chats along with texting and a hilarious Twitter exchange bring Alice’s story vibrantly to life. A fresh and innovative approach to storytelling that will appeal to anyone who utilizes today’s technology.