Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Wife 22: A Novel   Quoted from GoodReads:
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

Let me start with the title.  It is possibly the only thing I didn't like about the book.  I caught the reference to Catch 22 by Joseph Heller immediately, but I really didn't like that book when I read it as a teenager many years ago.  I might like it now, but at the time, I was just too young to relate to the characters.  I couldn't imagine how Catch 22 could possibly be successfully incorporated into a story about marriage.  I am not a fan of books about marriage in general. (I've been married for 26 years and while I love my husband and my life, I don't find it all that entertaining.  I read for fun!)  The cover art is pretty, but it didn't entice me to open the book.  So, Wife 22 ended up in my “to read” pile.

I happened to pick the book off the top of my stack when I was too lazy to figure out where I had left the book I was currently reading.  Before I knew if I was half way through the book!

The format of the book is unique, and captured my attention immediately.  It alternates between Facebook posts, emails and survey questions, along with text.  It mirrors the way most of us relate IRL (in real life).  I found the format to be great fun to read.

I want to be Alice Buckle's friend!  Alice is a totally relatable character.  She is flawed, quirky, funny and just a little neurotic.  She is so...real!   Melanie Gideon has created one of the more memorable characters of the year.  I can see why the movie rights were snatched up before the book was even completed.  I only hope that the movie does justice to the book.

Of course, there is a twist to the plot and I saw it coming pretty far in advance, but it really didn't matter.    The story continued to hold my interest and I couldn't wait to see how it all played out.  I wasn't disappointed.

Wife 22 is throughly entertaining and a sweet reminder of all things that I love about marriage and family life.  Pick up a copy and take it to the beach with you!  Then pass it on to your best girlfriends  and plan a girls nite out for the future release of the movie.

Thanks to the publisher and author for supplying me with this advance copy.  I return, I offer my honest review.

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