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The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-first Century Paperback – March 21, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The Meaning of Wife styles itself in the tradition of Backlash and The Beauty Myth: It's a pop-culture-literate survey of the last 25 years that serves up feminist ideas with a lively touch.” ―Joy Press, The Village Voice
“In The Meaning of Wife, Kingston ruminates with wit and wide historical range over the peculiar female estate of wife and its modern incarnations. . . . Kingston's spirited romp across the kitchens and boardrooms, bedrooms, courtrooms, and shopping malls of modern culture yields important . . . insights about wife-hood in the twenty-first century.” ―Chicago Tribune
“Provocative, smart.” ―Elle
“Entertaining . . . Kingston's quirky sensibility (shades of Caitlin Flanagan) and her clever readings of pop culture make this book stand out. . . . The analysis is delightful.” ―Newsday
Top Customer Reviews
The reason I am writing this now, is not because I had some self-awakening and suddenly came into my own as a wifely figure. I did not follow my wild daydream of suddenly, and with no real plan, driving into the sunset toward "liberty." I did not go file for divorce, which is the popular and easy thing to do. I simply read a book. "The Meaning of Wife," by Anne Kingston, is an eye-opening page turner, which confronts social patterns, ideologies, and generalizations of what it means to not only be a wife, but a woman in Western Society.
While reading this book, I was forced to confront some of my own pre-conceived notions of what it means to be a wife, mother, career woman, domestic, caretaker, [...]. It also helped me to realize that in some of my ideals I have been unfair to the person I chose to make my partner for life, and vice versa.
I am amazed by Kingston's ability to present different perspectives and surprised by her ability to resolve many issues. She does not represent a feminist hard-line but takes a logical stance that does not slap either sex across the face with shame.Read more ›
Kingston's book not only focuses on the upper echelons, but the most extreme marraiges. Her chapter on divorce, for example, portrays women who just about break the law getting back at their ex-husbands.
If you are an average woman who took two weeks off her job for her honeymoon, pick something else.
The author makes clear that the meaning of wife is inseparable from images of women from a variety of sources, including corporate advertising, movies, books, etc. A comprehensive bridal industry has emerged that emphasizes the perfect, elaborate wedding as being the foremost aspect of a marriage, shoving long-term, wifely realities to the background - the escapist wedding of Princess Diana being the epitome of that notion. In addition, wives can now supposedly rise beyond mundane drudgery by becoming domestic experts as directed by Martha Stewart and the like - a Superwife.
The author notes a curious reversal of sentiments among highly educated younger women, who are more and more eschewing independent careers advocated by feminism to become wives. There are any numbers of books and consultants to give advice to make that happen while the "clock is ticking." On the other hand, there is a discernible rise in women remaining single in the western world. While there is the pull of marital domesticity, the terms are now different. Women have achieved the wherewithal, both psychologically and legally, to be assertive concerning such matters as sexual satisfaction, infidelity, abuse, and divorce settlements.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is very slow read. And why? Because interspersed into the verbiage are so many references to other works it just slows the reader down. It is also very redundant. Read morePublished on November 12, 2012 by HappyMom
A great book I suspect for women of all ages, married or not, and also for any men who are curious about how their marriage or the women in their lives have been reflected... Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Learning New Ways
This is a big book packed with tons of big ideas, and yet still manages to be easy to read and fast paced. Read morePublished on August 4, 2010 by L&CR
First of all, I'll say right now that I'm only about halfway through the book. So far, Kingston's writing is insightful, engaging, and well-annotated. Read morePublished on March 25, 2010 by K. M. Young
I really liked this book. It was balanced and easy to read. I read it in a day.
The only negative I have is the book cover. It is absolutely horrible cover. Read more
This book surprised me. Given the title and the cover photo, I expected a more hostile discussion of marriage. Read morePublished on January 12, 2009 by BooksJJC
This book was a page-turner that I didn't want to put down. Granted, it was dense enough to be on a college syllabus, but so many of the anecdotes rang true. Read morePublished on August 17, 2008 by Rachel
In her book A History of the Wife, Marilyn Yalom traces the history and changing roles women have had in marriage from early history through the women's liberation movement. Read morePublished on July 21, 2008 by Kaeli Vandertulip
Author Anne Kingston deserves five stars-plus for her exhaustive research and objective presentation of the subject. Read morePublished on January 23, 2008 by Michelaneous by Michele