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.
©2012 Melanie Gideon (P)2012 Random House Audio
“Wife 22 is absolutely fresh, vibrant, au courant, and hilarious. As you read, you will swear that this deft novelist hacked your phone and unearthed your longtime marital secrets and maternal struggles with a keen ear and an open heart. Brilliant! Melanie Gideon owns the moment with this debut.” (Adriana Trigiani, best-selling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife)
“Refreshing, original, and crackling with energy, Wife 22 is a brilliant, engrossing novel about the way we love and live now. Prepare to be dazzled.” (Elin Hilderbrand, author of Summerland)
“Absolutely delicious! What Bridget Jones did for single women, Alice Buckle will do for married ones. Melanie Gideon’s Wife 22 is a fabulously funny contemplation of relationships and parenthood in the twenty-first century.” (Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Four Ms. Bradwells and The Wednesday Sisters)
The narration was fine, but I did not care for the form of the narration or the substance of the book. As much of the book takes place in emails, the narrator is forced to read the ENTIRE email address of the sender and recipient, along with the subject line, date and time. This alone was just about enough to make me stop listening, as it became really tedious to hear. The substance of the book was not new, or clever, or especially sad, moving, or even pathetic - just wasn't much of anything. The subtitle of this book could be: "the musings of a vaguely unsatisfied woman".
A totally grinworthy read. Moliere (sorry no accent grave on this keyboard) meets Facebook, a comedy of manners for 2012. Mixed in with all the endlessly repeating email addies, tweets and status reports, and tucked away inside a boatload of trendy buzz words and brand names ("bento boxes"? Really?) and oh-so-precious food chit chat is a good story with some serious pondering of a few realistic "issues". Just what this reader needed.
Cassandra Campbell did a masterful job of narrating this performance - but I can't help wondering how the read would sound if rendered in a more ironic narrative style. Just an idle speculation.
Whatever, 5 stars!
As this is Melanie Gideon's "debut novel" we'll forgive the odd medley of styles. Most of them drew you right into the narrative. The Facebook bits, texts and emails were very creatively done. The sections written like a script of a play were so grating I was tempted to fast forward. These probably work better on the page than orated.
Alice was deftly drawn and was delightfully human, as were all the female characters. All resonated so true when it came to the high jinks of relationships, family and marriages. The men were fairly interchangeable, mainly props for the women to maneuver around. But hey, it's summer, and this quirky romantic comedy definitely fills the bill!
Much of this novel takes place via email conversations and facebook chats between characters and the narrator reads the email address and subject line of each email or the handles of the chatters. This can get really annoying and repetetive to hear over and over again. The story itself was an all right, light listen, but audio is probably not the best format for this type of book.
Wife 22 is definitely in the top 25% of the books I have listened too. It's a fun listen.
What a horrible book!What a horrible story!Seriously?! This novel is written for the brain capacity of a 12 year old girl. Couldn't' even finish it, as the narration was so grating, and the story line was ridiculous and insulting to my intelligence. Extremely BASIC read/listen. Someone who isn't familiar with the internet technology may find this slightly entertaining. Maybe?! OR probably not.
Chick lit can always be questionable, but this was absolutely terrible.
I really enjoyed this book! It started a bit slow but had such a rewarding finish. The narrator was perfect for this book. I could totally relate to the story, having been married for 20 years myself. Very good!
I almost gave up on this book - It was moving kind of slowly and a little whiney. I began to like the central character a little more and stuck with it and it paid off. Getting used to the spoken email addresses took some doing - Just not that interesting to listen to. I did actually laught out loud while listening. The narrator was fine for me and I felt did a good job.
I would definitely recommend it to a friend. The storyline and characters were fantastic. This was my first Melanie Gideon novel and definitely won't be my last.
I thoroughly enjoyed the best friend - Nedra. She was direct, to the point, and had several lines throughout the novel that made me re-evaluate my initial reaction to the scene at hand.
It took me awhile to get into Campbell's style. At first I thought she sounded a bit too much like a computer reading the story. But by the end, I had adjusted to her style and actually come to appreciate it.
If I had the time to listen to it in one sitting, sure. But it was easy to pick up right where I left off. This was a book I enjoyed on my daily commute to/from work.
If you have the perfect life/marriage don't read this!
For some reason, I wasn't expecting to like this book, much less end up with a new perspective on life! As a wife and mother, I could relate to the main character while she questioned her life choices. For anyone who wonders about the ???paths not taken???, this is a really good read.
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