I just finished reading The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. You may remember that I didn't think much of another book by Wolitzer (The Ten-Year Nap), but I enjoyed The Wife. I do find her writing a bit slow, but still, I would recommend it. It's also a pretty quick read (a little over two hundred pages). The book flap mentions a surprise that I guessed pretty early on, but even being pretty sure of this "surprise," I found the book interesting and thoughtfully written. I even think I saw some literary tools in it (like character names that reveal character traits). The wife in The Wife is Joan who has been married to the famous novelist, Joe, for thirty something years. The couple have many other "novelist couple" friends, and it seems that being the wife of a novelist is a career unto itself. I believe they were newlyweds in the early 1960's, just to give a time frame, and all the novelist husbands are philanderers to say the least. It is an interesting look at the differences between comfort and contentment, love and need. I remember in high school a question that went around, "Do you love me because you need me, or need me because you love me?" A word of warning: it may make you a bit of a man-hater (at least while you are reading). My newly-wed friend was planning to take this book with her on her honeymoon as we have book club the week after she returns. I sincerely hope she only reads it on the plane, maybe only on the way home!
It was serendipitous that I was reading this book right when this post was written by Anastasia discussing raising sons and the division of labor between genders. In The Wife, and, it seems, also in life, boys and the men they become are given a bit of a pass from certain duties or rules just because they are male. Why is that? Do women prop this up with our seemingly unending guilt? You know, mommy-guilt, wife-guilt, professional-guilt, house-keeping-guilt, contributing to society-guilt, I could go on... like a blister in the sun, but I need to go play some indoor basketball with my boys.
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