”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.
When Alice Buckle, who has been married to William for nearly twenty years, receives a survey in her e-mail from the Netherfield Center for the Study of Marital Happiness, she is in the doldrums. She loves her husband but they’ve grown distant, she is bored with her job, and her adolescent children need her less now. And she has reached the age at which her mother died. So as she idly begins answering the questions, she finds herself baring her soul in an anonymous survey she never even intended to respond to. As she struggles, she realizes it has been years since anyone asked deep, serious questions of her, and really listened to her answers. Soon her entire life as she knows it is called into question.”
Stiletto Storytime is excited to be a part of the book blog tour for Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon. Wife 22 is a great read for those who like to curl up with a good book that’s not afraid to ask those tough life questions or push the boundaries of what can sometimes be considered “safe” contemporary women’s fiction. While it delves into some serious life issues I still think it would an ideal book for the beach or pool-side. It’s definitely a book I found I could relate to even though I may not be at that age or moment in life that Alice Buckle finds herself.
The very book itself is centered around the main character of a middle aged woman who finds herself deeply questioning her place in life, the choices she has made as time has gone by and the current state of her own happiness. It’s about that point in life that I think a lot of people reach when one might look around and suddenly wonder how you got to where you are. For women in particular I think it can be what happens when you’ve poured every bit your very being into everyday life (marriage, children, career…etc) and then suddenly you look around one day and wonder where “you” went. More specifically for this character it centers around the declining state of her marriage and to some degree the changing relationships with her children as they have grown. Those moments in life can come about in lots of ways but for Alice Buckle it all seems to begin when she proceeds to answer questions put forth by an online anonymous marriage survey.
The survey is really a driving force for this novel. One of my personal favorite aspects of the book is the unique format in which it is written. Alice Buckle finds herself answering questions in this survey and the reader is given the answers to the questions as the book proceeds. Each chapter brings new answers and topics to light. However readers are not the given actual questions themselves until the end. I myself didn’t even realize the survey questions were in the book at all until I finished and discovered them listed in the very back of the book. I’m glad I didn’t look ahead and see them or even know I had the possibility to cheat. Reading the answers and not knowing the questions makes the reader really have to look into each answer and truly think about what Alice is saying and why. It gives a unique twist to the book and made the writing more interesting in my opinion. For me it piqued my interest in a unique way that just would not have been the same if I knew the questions as I was reading.
As a special part of this tour I am going answer one of the questions from the book and also allow you a sneak peek at the author Melanie’s answer as well. Our survey question for this stop on the tour is:
What did you imagine falling in love would be like when you were young?
Oh my goodness, I was such a dewy-eyed romantic. Romeo and Juliet kind of love. Obsessive love. Not the kind of love that makes for a good marriage. I’m glad I got over that phase.
I was much like Melanie. I was very naive in a lot of ways but I truly believed in that all-consuming, meant for each other love that was so real it could be your everything. Love to me was the most important thing in the world and so I often let that person be my everything. I’ve been lucky to have had that kind of love in my life and while I treasure it and remember it fondly in many ways….Melanie is right, as you get older you find there are lots of kinds of love and some work better for marriage and the happily ever after than others.
And now back to my review. While I really enjoyed the book there were some facets of the novel that I found a little far fetched including the relationship that Alice embarks upon as she questions her marriage. I don’t want to spoil anything but readers will no doubt understand what relationship I mean shortly after beginning the novel. I also wish Alice’s relationships with her children and the death of her mother were further explored. They kind of lie on the surface of the book- making an impact but never really being brought to light fully.
In the end all in all I found it to be an enjoyable and thought provoking read although some of it’s elements don’t go that deep and could be better developed. To me it was a good book but it had the ingredients to be better if that makes sense. Sometimes you just want more but I think that can be a compliment to the book in and of itself. If it wasn’t well written and you didn’t care about the characters then you wouldn’t want more.
But don’t take my word for it….Want a sneak peek at Wife 22? You can read an excerpt here and make sure to check out the next stop on the blog tour on June 7th at Book Journey. You can also check out debut author Melanie Gideon on her website, Twitter and Facebook.
I am extremely excited to be able to give two lucky readers here at Stiletto Storytime their very own copies of Wife 22 to enjoy this summer. Giveaway will end midnight EST June 12, 2012 and is available to a US addresses only. The lucky winners will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!
To enter just comment below and share one of your favorite summer reads. It can be a new book from this year’s summer reading pile or that old stand-by that you read every summer when vacation time rolls around. I’m looking for those must read books to add to my summer list so let me know the one you can’t live without and you might win a new book to add to your collection.
Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:
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“Like” Author Melanie Gideon on Facebook
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