Monday, December 23, 2013

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

THIS book is what prompted me to solicit short book recommendations last week. At 233 pages this novel knocked me on my proverbial arse. 

I've never read Wolitzer, but her reputation as a badass writer precedes her. In fact, I own The Uncoupling, The Ten Year Nap, and at one time, The Position. But did I read them? No. It took a short book to entice me, and I could not be more enticed. 

At 35,000 feet, Joan Castleman decides to leave her famous writer husband, Joe. He will accept the prestigious, incredibly lucractive, Helsinki Prize, and as Joan is along for the ride, she's also incredibly fed up with Joe's bombastic crap. 

What follows is a chronicle of the early days of their marriage, their ups and downs, Joe's successes, and their mutual failures as parents and as a couple. 

Wolitzer's writing is whip-smart and stings at times. I loved Joan's feistiness, even if much of it was only in her head as she reminisced over their years together.

The way the book is set up, the reader KNOWS there is a big SOMETHING building, and it's amazing to me that Wolitzer could build anything significant over 200ish pages. It really is a talent I admire--the ability to be concise yet probing. While I did guess one big development, Wolitzer knows the reader all too well, and threw in a second end-of-book sucker punch for good measure. 

What results is a fascinating examination of domesticity, personal responsibility, and a novel that questions our motives and innermost insecurities. 

In 233 pages!!! OMG, just read it. 

Pub. Date: August 2003
Publisher: Scribner
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780743456661
Source:  Bought it!

37 comments:

  1. I have a couple of her books too but I don't have this one. :/

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    1. I hear such good things about all of her books. I don't think you can go wrong!

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  2. "OMG, just read it" is a really good recommendation. I think I will, because you liked it and also because it's so short :)

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    1. LOL, I'm glad you think so! :)

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  3. Okay, I will give it a try! I have never felt much draw to Meg Wolitzer for whatever reason, but I will give her a try if you say so.

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  4. I bought a copy of this (and several other Wolitzers) after reading and falling head over heels in love with The Interestings. I still need to get to it, but several people have told me it's wonderful. So glad you liked it!

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    1. And it's short!!! That's a great draw, right? I really do love a kickass shortie.

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  5. I don't own anything by her but now I will keep her in mind!

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  6. I've never read Wolitzer either, but I have The Interestings on my shelf. I must admit i became quite interested in her during all the press for The Interestings. I don't know why I always stayed away from her in the past. I think her publishers tried to pigeon hole her as chick lit and thus i wasn't too intrigued.

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    1. I hear such good things about The Interestings. I will get around to it, and of course all the others on my shelves. lol It's funny you say that about chick lit. That may well be true, but a few years ago she made some quite snide remarks about chick lit authors. Maybe trying to differentiate herself? Not sure. Her topics are definitely domestic in large part, but with wonderful spins.

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  7. I read The Uncoupling and did not like it at all. Still I feel attracted to most of her books which I cannot explain. Might have to give this one a try as it is not so big. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Aww! I'm sorry The Uncoupling didn't work for you. I have it waiting, so we'll see how it pans out for me. This is definitely a good one to try since it's a quick read. Maybe the second time will be the charm.

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  8. I did not care for The Uncoupling but man, I loved The Interestings. Haven't even heard of this one.

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    1. Wooo! 50% success rate! Maybe this one will be a hit.

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  9. You are the second person in the past two weeks to mention Wolitzer. Must read her next year!

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    1. Definitely! I think you'd like her quick-wittedness.

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  10. I've got The Interestings here, but will add this to my list, too.

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    1. Awesome! I hope you like both.

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  11. Hmmm.... This sounds like a must read. The low page count is part of the allure...I've been reading 800 to 1,000 page books lately (*gives George R.R. Martin the stink eye*). Wouldn't it be nice to read a book in a day or so?

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    1. Haha! That's what sucked me in. I'm a sucker for a short book, and they're so satisfying when they are really a bunch of awesome crammed into a small amount of space. I've been working on some longer books myself, so I purposely chose this one for its short length.

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  12. Wow, high praise! This sounds like a short story that really makes good use of every page.

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    1. Yes! Definitely! I think short books of this high quality are just as worthy of praise as long, epic books. It has to be so hard to develop a story so well in such a short span.

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  13. Sounds FANTASTIC...thanks for sharing.

    Stopping by with my link to my It's Monday!! What are You Reading post.

    ENJOY your reading week and your Christmas week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth!

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  14. I added it to my Goodreads TBR list! If you cap OMG, then I can't resist!

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    1. LOL, I'll be sure to do that on the books I REALLY recommend, Jennine. :D

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  15. I want to read more by her and you know I love short books! I'll have to get this.

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    1. Amen sister! Totally awesome!

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  16. Oh wow! This one sounds really good! Definitely going on my TBR list!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it!

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  17. I was blown away by this too!! OMG is an accurate summary. I handed it over to my mom immediately and said "Here. This. Read!"

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    1. YAY! I wasn't sure anyone else had read it, and that would be a crying shame! lol What did you mom think?

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  18. I read The Interestings this year and am in awe of her writing skills. Have got to buy this one!

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    1. She's got the skills, for sure. I hope you enjoy this one!

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  19. This is going to sound really bad, but I didn’t know she wrote anything else other than The Interestings. (That was her, right?). Thanks for sharing!

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