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The Wife

A Novel
Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (471 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Meg Wolitzer brings her characteristic wit and intelligence to a provocative story about the evolution of a marriage, the nature of partnership, the question of a male or female sensibility, and the place for an ambitious woman in a man's world.

The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are 35,000 feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan's husband, Joseph, is one of America's preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent 40 years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop. From this gripping opening, Meg Wolitzer flashes back to Smith College and Greenwich Village in the 1950s and follows the course of the marriage that has brought the couple to this breaking point - one that results in a shocking revelation.

With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer has crafted a wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make - in marriage, work, and life.

©2003 Meg Wolitzer (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A bit of a downer

This author knows how to write. I found myself Amazed by her clever descriptions, interesting choice of words and her ability to create such vivid visuals for the reader. Her writing has an interesting and unique rhythm. Where the disappointment came, for me, was how most everything in the story felt like enduring a negative one sided conversation. It was like listening to a negative friend who enjoys being a martyr, who enjoys going on endlessly about how awful her life is. I finished the book and was grateful for the long awaited twist at the end. The novel felt intelligent. I appreciated the snippets of history and being reminded what it must have felt like, for some, to be a mid-century women. However, I became tired of the negative pity party the main character indulged herself in and I was relieved and glad when the story came to an end.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Would rather have read this in print

Brilliant story, but the director and reader made a few hammy choices (drunken conversation, accents, general aggrieved tone) that distracted me from a sense of the authors voice.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh

This book seemed like one long bitch-fest. She did nothing but gripe about her husband the whole time through, even when describing the early days of the relationship when she was a badly behaved college girl sleeping with her married professor. She has such disdain for her husband, building a federal case to prove that he’s an untalented, undisciplined, unfaithful, and shallow glutton. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?! The reader is left wondering the whole time, if she’s so smart and superior, why didn’t she leave him? Why did she ever marry him in the first place? Many loose ends are never wrapped up, like the root cause of the problems for her disturbed son, the claim on her husband by the daughter from his first marriage, etc. I can not recommend this raunchy story to anybody. I regret reading it all the way to the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Thankfully, I saw the movie first

Good, if predictable story. The prose is generally crisp and well-paced, though there are more than a few lulls. But oh, the reader...

This is one of those instances where I was glad I'd seen the film first. Picturing Glenn Close telling the story kept me fairly engaged for some of the truly insufferable narration. And picturing Jonathan Pryce as Joe allowed me to feel some empathy for him instead of hating him, as I would have based only on this voiced portrayal.

This narrator should not attempt accents or voice characterizations. Every voice she attempted was distracting and each made me cringe more than the next. And please tell me that her moronic, oafish vocal representation of Joe is not supposed to be a Brooklyn accent! Just no.

I listened to the audiobook on earbuds during my morning train commute. To think I could have been listening to my music playlist. <Sigh>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great read for every smart woman who has subordinated her professional aspirations to those of a man ...

On some level, this story has been experienced by so many women of my generation (Boomers), especially those who excelled in college and graduate school, but marrying along the way and, ultimately, dropping or pursuing with less vigor realization of their potential. That said, I appreciate how this author makes it clear that this injustice cannot be ascribed to the husbands of these women - but, rather, was part of a more complicated equation. For those of us who managed to hold on and, to the extent possible for women born in the late 40s and early 50s, achieve success, this novel serves as a great reminder of how lucky we were, despite the many personal sacrifices required to do that.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Awful narration

Whine, whine, whine. The book was hard to take because of this but the narration, in my opinion, pushed it over the edge. The accents were terrible; the attempts at portraying drunken dialogue unbearable.
In the end none of the characters were sympathetic, well developed or even interesting.
Can’t imagine how they’ll make the movie palatable. I like Glen Close so we’ll see.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Worst book I've ever read

No joke. This book was terrible. I can't recall one that I've ever read that was a worse way to spend my time. The characters were unlikeable, the story was slow and was entirely painful. 7 hrs of my life I will never get back.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not super impressed

This story seemed like an artificial tension build just to release in a very predictable twist and ending. The writing is laughably descriptive and there are really no likable characters. In the first few lines there’s a promise of something exciting happening, then, nothing, until the very end. The story “builds” in a tale of regret and self loathing and ends pretty much the same way. I was not impressed.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Ongoing misery

The ’wife’s’ misery goes on page after page. Could not finish, did not see the movie.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good read.

The performance is not perfect and the story predictable, but a very common story of life. The woman who devotes herself to her family's success and sacrifices her own ambition(s).

I wanted to read the book before watching the movie. Watching the trailer it is now easy to identify who plays each character.

The performance is good with the exception of a scene that goes on too long well into the book.