• While I Was Gone

  • By: Sue Miller
  • Narrated by: Blair Brown
  • Length: 5 hrs
  • 3.7 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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While I Was Gone  By  cover art

While I Was Gone

By: Sue Miller
Narrated by: Blair Brown
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Publisher's Summary

A decade ago she put a face on every mother's worst nightmare with her phenomenal best seller The Good Mother. Now, Sue Miller delivers a spellbinding novel of love and betrayal that explores what it means to be a good wife.

In the summer of 1968, Jo Becker ran out on the marriage and the life her parents wanted for her, and escaped - for one beautiful, idyllic year - into a life that was bohemian and romantic, living under an assumed name in a rambling group house in Cambridge. It was a time of limitless possibility, but it ended in a single instant when Jo returned home one night to find her best friend lying dead in a pool of blood on the living room floor.

Now Jo has everything she's ever wanted: A veterinary practice she loves, a devoted husband, three grown daughters, a beautiful Massachusetts farmhouse. And if occasionally she feels a stranger to herself and wonders what happened to the freedom she once felt, or how she came to be the wife, mother, and doctor her neighbors know and trust - if at times she feels as if her whole life is vanishing behind her as she's living it - she need only look at her daughters or her husband, Daniel, to recall the satisfactions of family and community and marriage.

But when an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel: Seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.

While I Was Gone is an exquisitely suspenseful novel about how quickly and casually a marriage can be destroyed, how a good wife can find herself placing all she holds dear at risk. In expert strokes, Sue Miller captures the precariousness of even the strongest ties, the ease with which we abandon each other, and our need to be forgiven. An extraordinary book, her best, from a beloved American writer.

©1999 Random House, Inc.; 1999 Sue Miller

What listeners say about While I Was Gone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Join the pity party.

The main character in this book has no redeeming characteristics. Nor do any of the rest of the well under developed characters. Not a fan.

5 people found this helpful

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ABRIDGED VERISION

I was disappointed to begin this book today and realize that it is an abridged version. I own the book and it has more than 5 chapters. The description does not indicate that it is abridged.

4 people found this helpful

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Don't waste your time...

What would have made While I Was Gone better?

Let's see...character development, an actual plot or purpose for the story.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator was ok. I think she did the best she could with the material. She seemed like she was looking through a window at the characters though, instead of being a character. This is probably because of the poor character development to begin with.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from While I Was Gone?

I'd have redone everything.

Any additional comments?

The main character was ridiculous. I just didn't connect with her or even like her from the beginning. By the end of this long drawn out pile of garble, I was ready for her husband to just leave her and the book to end. I almost didn't finish it.

3 people found this helpful

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Completely forgetable

I never got to the point where I cared about the main character. The surprise(?) outcome was completely predictable. I've come to expect more from Ms Miller.

3 people found this helpful

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One of my all-time favorite books...

I have always absolutely loved this book. It such an intimate and realistic view of a person’s true identity. An imperfect wife and mother, who draws you in. An imperfect marriage, that makes you want to cheer for their relationship. I read this EVERY fall/winter, and never stop enjoying being invited in to Jo’s Home, for the season.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable

Nobody describes the verisimilitude of marriage or family life better than sue Miller, sometimes not everyone may appreciate, but I do. This story is engaging on other levels as well, particularly the second half. I do wish the narrator had used different cadences & inflections for different characters, but everyone seems to speak exactly alike by her reading. Not a terrible problem, tho.

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Unexpected

This book was FAR from what I expected & not one I would have chosen, but it's well written. I was uninterested more than half way through wanting it to be over & then my attention was grasped with the shocking reveal. It is Not a revelation of while she was gone & how she would grow & develop during that time as I thought it would be, but instead how she left one husband & life & was ready to leave again until... Even though the situations were different. A story of things & people not being what or whom they seem. A story of the need to share faults with someone else in order to recognize & forgive oneself.

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Enjoyed this very much!

After reading the initial reviews I was hesitant to listen to the audiobook. I was prepared to not really enjoy this book. But I enjoyed it thoroughly. Although part of the storyline and the ultimate ending were somewhat predictable, it still left me eagerly anticipating if what I thought would occur actually would take place. I listened to it in its entirety in one night. I would definitely recommend it.

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Good book overall, not a great story line

This is a fairly short book. The beginning didn’t really draw me in and I kept wondering to myself, until nearly the end of the book, when the story line was going to start revealing itself to me. When it ended, I was actually shocked it was over. I remember thinking, “that’s it??”
That being said, the writing itself was good. I liked the characters, for the most part. I think the author was aiming to reveal a grand “moral of the story”, and I think it did have a bit of that, but even this area seemed lacking.
P.S. Please know that this is only my opinion! I am not a professional, I do not have an English degree! Just my take on the book. :)

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    2 out of 5 stars

Drawn out

The story was too drawn out. It starts to fizzle in the middle of the book.