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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 23 reviews
on August 4, 2010
This is a big book packed with tons of big ideas, and yet still manages to be easy to read and fast paced. The author does a great job of keeping an overall feminist tone to the book while not placing an ounce of undue blame on men and consistently challenges and evaluates feminist ideas.

The author frequently tosses around shocking and thought provoking ideas throughout the text, and it was a very fun read. My only real issue with this book is that there was little to no writing on the positives of being a wife, which gave the book a bit of a negative tone, but overall, I would definitely recommend this book.
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on January 23, 2008
Author Anne Kingston deserves five stars-plus for her exhaustive research and objective presentation of the subject. The Meaning of Wife, which is by no means a quick or light read, is well written, engaging, thought provoking and entertaining. If you are a wife, you'll find yourself somewhere in these pages. If you're not a wife, you may recognize your mother or your friends, or the woman you call your wife.

Kingston covers all the bases, beginning with the world's fascination with Princess Diana's foray into wifedom. In a chapter called "Heart of Whiteness," which is what I've always called "White Lace Dreams," she details the wedding dress selection and compares the white lacy dress to the wedding cake. "The modern wedding cake is a bride you can put in your mouth," is a quote attributed to food writer Jeffrey Steingarten. From there, the topics of sex and abuse, divorce and value are thoroughly portrayed. Strong vocabulary, this is academic material.

Well done.
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on November 12, 2012
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. Retool this book and have a bibliography at the end for at least half of the references crammed into the text. Also keep in mind that a lot of the information is data not past (around) the year 2000. A lot has changed in the last decade and this book should be updated (and cleaned up as I mentioned above). All of which is too bad, because the relevant material, when you can parse it out of all of the academic babble, is interesting.
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on November 2, 2007
The cover of this book is striking, and helped convince me to buy it. It asks what it means to be a wife today, when wives are both made fun of in pop culture and also sometimes held up as the ideal. As a newlywed myself, I wanted an answer to that question. Kingston does a great job of weaving together pop culture and history, and she's a fun writer. She points out interesting trends, such as the fact that many high-powered women, such as Oprah, choose not to marry today. Sometimes I found myself rereading sentences because they were a bit esoteric, but overall the book is extremely accessible and thought-provoking.
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on March 25, 2010
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.

However, there have been several glaring typos in the text. That an editor read this, missed these mistakes, and sent the book off to press is troubling. I find these errors very distracting; they diminish the points that Kingston has so carefully crafted.
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VINE VOICEon June 4, 2008
Well into the nineteenth century, a wife was subsumed within a husband's legal standing and control, quite literally an existence not far from slavery. In the twentieth century, fueled by the high percentage of women entering the workforce and the women's movement over the last forty years, the concept of being a wife, both socially and legally, has undergone considerable examination and change. This book is a wide-ranging look at different aspects of being a wife or the contemplation of such.

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.

There is no doubt that the book is geared to women of the upper middle class, highly educated and consumers of various media depicting roles for women. One suspects that for those women whose job is an absolute necessity, that choosing to stay at home after becoming a lawyer or investing time to make special decorations for the perfect dinner party is hardly understandable or pertinent.

There are a lot of considerations and views concerning the role of individuals in a marriage or whether to remain single. There remains a "wife gap" in trying to reconcile all of the aspects. The book does a fair job at examining some of the terrain. The author does ultimately admit that there is "no singular meaning of wife." So be warned, the matter remains complicated even after reading this book.
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