- Audio CD
- Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (May 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307990559
- ISBN-13: 978-0307990556
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,943,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wife 22: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Q&A with Author Melanie Gideon
A: I was sitting in a bar with a friend. We were well into our second glass of wine, when, in researcher mode, I started asking her questions about her marriage. After she invoked a zone of confidentiality I was amazed at how forthright she was willing to be about everything: love, sex, aging, security, happiness, and parenting. That's when I knew I was on to something. What if an ordinary wife and mother had the opportunity (and most importantly, the anonymity) to admit what she really thought, felt, wished for and dreamed, regretted and longed for in her life and marriage? Thus Wife 22 was born.
Q: Who do you think will connect with this novel, and why? Who is Wife 22?
A: I believe there's a little bit of Wife 22 in all of us, no matter what age, no matter what stage of a relationship you're in: married, single or, "it's complicated!" It's so easy to get stuck in a routine and so hard to get yourself out of it. I think we all yearn to be woken up.
Q: Do you see any similarities between yourself and your heroine, Alice Buckle? Any differences?
A: Well, like Alice, I am about to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary with my husband. Unlike Alice, however, I did not receive an email soliciting me to participate in an anonymous online survey on marital satisfaction. And if I did, I would immediately dump it into my trash folder, because I know, after writing this book, how seductive and dangerous the act of confession can be. There are little bits of me in Alice, sure, but Alice is definitely her own person. Also she's nicer than me. And much more fluent with social media.
Q: You pay homage to Joseph Heller and Catch 22 with the title and with a few circumstances Alice faces during the course of your novel. Can you shed a little light on how that came to be and what it signifies?
A: I think marriage is a sort of Catch 22. It's strange how some of the little quirks and eccentricities of your mate that you found so charming in the beginning--that may have even contributed to you falling in love with them--20 years later are the things that drive you absolutely crazy.
Q: Many of the novel's characters, especially Alice, engage in social media like Facebook and Twitter. How do you think these methods of communication have changed our lives and the relationships we have with others? How have they changed yours?
A: I resisted Facebook and Twitter for a long time, and I confess I still find it challenging to post, tweet or blog. I get incredible stage fright trying to think of something clever to say. People will see it--or worse--ignore it. What if nobody "likes" it? What if nobody comments? It's like middle school every day! Part of what I wanted to explore in Wife 22 was whether social media brought us closer together or pushed us farther apart. I think it does both. I long for the old days when my husband and son and I would watch a TV show together. I mean really watch it, without our attention constantly flickering to the device on our laps. Watching TV in my household is not a passive act. We're always talking back to the TV, commenting, laughing: that's ridiculous, who told her she could sing? On the other hand I learn things about my husband every day through Facebook. New things. What he's thinking, what he's reading, what he's doing. Facebook allows us to be strangers to one another, to be voyeurs, but in a safe way. There's something about that distance that's titillating.
Q: You've said, "Confession is a powerful aphrodisiac." Can you elaborate?
A: Anonymous confession? The chance to tell the absolute truth to a stranger? A stranger who doesn't judge, who listens intently, who asks all the right questions? That's very sexy.
Advance praise for Wife 22
"Chick-lit fans over the age of 30 will want to rush home from work, kick off their shoes, mix themselves tart cocktails, and settle down to read this wry debut novel.... It will take its rightful place in the chick-lit canon alongside Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, Anna Maxted’s Getting Over It, and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It." —Library Journal, starred review
"Superb.... Comprising a tapestry of traditional narrative, e-mails, Facebook chats, and other digital media, Gideon’s work is an honest assessment of a woman’s struggle to reconcile herself with her desires and responsibilities, as well as a timely treatise on the anonymity and intimacy afforded by digital communiques. Fully formed supporting characters and a nuanced emotional story line make Gideon’s fiction debut shimmer." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Wife 22 is absolutely fresh, vibrant, au courant, and hilarious. As you read, you will swear that this deft novelist hacked your phone and unearthed your longtime marital secrets and maternal struggles with a keen ear and an open heart. Brilliant! Melanie Gideon owns the moment with this debut.”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife
“Refreshing, original, and crackling with energy, Wife 22 is a brilliant, engrossing novel about the way we love and live now. Prepare to be dazzled.”—Elin Hilderbrand, author of Summerland
“Absolutely delicious! What Bridget Jones did for single women, Alice Buckle will do for married ones. Melanie Gideon’s Wife 22 is a fabulously funny contemplation of relationships and parenthood in the twenty-first century.”—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Four Ms. Bradwells and The Wednesday Sisters
“Well, isn’t this a fun read! Not only fun, but funny. Not only funny, but wildly inventive. Not only wildly inventive, but poignant. Wife 22 is also wise in matters of the heart. Melanie Gideon could put marriage counselors out of business.”—Elizabeth Berg, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Time I Saw You
“The delightful, compulsively readable Wife 22 manages to be both funny and thought-provoking on the eternal question: After many years of marriage, how do two people keep their love vital? Alice Buckle’s hilarious search for greater happiness will resonate with readers of all backgrounds.”—Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
“Wife 22 is not just clever, it is a funny, wise, and ultimately tender and revealing portrait of contemporary family life, of a marriage, and of a wife and mother and her all-important circle of friends in midlife straits. Every woman who has ever Googled herself, Facebooked her children, or simply wondered, ‘what if?’ will come to cheer and adore this particularly winsome wife.”—Mary Kay Andrews
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, I read this novel for a book club I'm in, and mostly on airplanes and in the airport while traveling. I would say that it was fine for that kind of a book-- "beach read" or "airplane read"-- for entertainment value. It is a quick read which for the most part kept my interest, but I agree with the consensus of my book group that it is superficial and rather cliched.
Sure, there are some good lessons in here for people who are married but that's pretty much because it's the tired-and-true story of a middle-aged woman who has been married for a long time and is bored with it. The book did a include a new twist-- social networking and email communication, etc., which I thought was important because that is how people communicate these days and I don't know why more books haven't explored this theme and medium. At the same time, I think this twist could have been included along with a more solid story line and better developed characters, all of which seemed to fall by the wayside, sacrificed for the sake of the technology inclusion.
I was disappointed with the characters because they had strong potential but the author seemed to forget all about them with her attempt to splatter electronic communication all throughout the book. I mean I guess that goes to show that one of the dangers of getting so caught up in technology and the Internet world is that you forget about your own family and the down to earth relationships you have in real life. So perhaps it was intentional but still, the kids are brought up in the beginning but then forgotten about until mid-way through the book when the daughter starts having all these issues and I as a reader was left thinking, "Um, I would CARE more if I had learned more about this along the way." I also think that is a remark on modern society though (or maybe it has always been this way)-- the teenaged kids are in their own world, the parents are in their own world, and it's hard for the two worlds to intersect and create meaningful connections.
I did think the main character was selfish but relatable... I would say she's a spot-on caricature of a privileged, middle-aged American woman, so, the character was true to type. Some people in my book group thought the husband seemed selfish or clueless, but I don't really agree-- to me he was just a normal guy, doing his thing, but also in his own unique way, which was pretty cool. I thought his character could have been explored more, like all the other characters, but from what I saw of him, he just seemed like an average or better-than-average dude. Yes his career was in crises but whose isn't these days? I don't really blame him for his career malaise and I think he was taking actions to shake things up and create radical change-- which I guess the main character was also doing in her own way, although I was not nearly as sympathetic to her, and she seemed a lot more passive while the husband seemed a lot more active.
There's something else I want to say about this book but I think even hinting at it would be too much of a spoiler, so, I'll stop here. In general I don't think anyone will miss anything if they DON'T read this book, but if they do, they will probably be entertained for a few hours, and then go "meh" and move on with their lives. ;) It's not earth-shattering nor, in my opinion, is it extremely well-written or well-plotted, but it does have some remarks to make on the status of modern American marriages.
My Thoughts: WOW, I could relate to this book! You see I am 44 and have just celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary. I only have one child, a son, who is slightly older than Alice's son. My husband and I have recently hit some potholes in our marriage. I felt like Melanie Gideon was spying on my circumstances!
I loved how the author used the internet, google, facebook, etc to emphasize where Alice was coming from. I could relate so totally to Alice on just about every level...and I suspect I am not alone. Technology is an amazing thing and it can bring people together but this story reiterates that it can also have an opposite effect. Alice and her husband William have drifted apart and the technology initially used to communicate has become a shield to hide behind. Something I find myself doing as well. And their marriage is suffering from a breakdown in communication.
William is mostly, only seen through Alice's eyes, which isn't great to start out with. But through the survey questions (in the kindle version, I didn't realize the questions were listed at the very end of the book, just before the acknowledgements), we see how the relationship started, grew, and changed...all through Alice's memories. I only read the answers to the questions, which was part of the fun...trying to figure out what the questions were Alice was answering. Some were obvious, others not so obvious. I'm going to have to reread her answers with the questions in front of me.
This book was a wake-up call for me, in that I saw a lot of myself in Melanie. Gave me a lot to think about in terms of my relationships with those around me.
Just loved "Wife 22", Gideon has an engaging and imaginative story telling style that completely captured me. The writing was laugh out loud funny, without being mean or snarky. She can turn a witty phrase I tell ya! I am so looking forward to more from Melanie Gideon.
Gideon paints an achingly accurate portrait of a "happy" marriage, at a rocky, lonely precipice.
This book manages to tell a story about two perfectly lovely, lonely people who have been married for a long time, yet are not quite sure where the other went. Alice and William share a home and children, but are hard-pressed to share a pleasant conversation, much less a meaningful one. The worst part is, Alice cannot figure out how this happened. And if William can, he's not telling!
The genius of Wife 22 comes in Gideon's ability to portray the "stuckness" of Alice and William's marriage, and at the same time, to deftly describe the early joy and romance the couple once shared. Alice and William are surrounded by well-intentioned friends and family members who make us chuckle and sniffle along with these two as they try to remember who they really are.
This book is a kind, wise, funny look at contemporary marriage. Read it!