I have a couple issues with the “wife” book trend, although I keep reading them… (Obviously this is a marketing tactic that works.) First, as others have pointed out, it’s rather sexist. Defining who the reader assumes to be the main character in relation to her husband and/or marital status implies that she has no independent identity. Although in some cases — American Wife, for example — I think that’s the point. The main character, inspired by Laura Bush, brings an overshadowed Stepford Wife to life.
But at least those titles make some sense. What I find more irritating is when the main character isn’t even the wife. The Doctor’s Wife, a thriller that deals with the abortion debate (interesting combo) could just as easily be called The Painter’s Wife, or Adulterers and Crazy Pro-Lifers… The book focuses on four main characters and two f-ed up marriages. So why just one wife in the title? Because that’s what sells I suppose.
So with those issues in mind, here are my reviews of five wives:
Gist: It turns out Laura Bush, er, I mean Alice Lindgren, has a mind of her own and a semi-scandalous history.
A Reliable Wife
Gist: A wealthy widower in the frozen misery of 1907 Wisconsin puts an ad in the paper for a “reliable wife.” Whether he got what he asked for is up for debate.
The Doctor’s Wife
Gist: A small-town doctor starts moonlighting at an abortion clinic, while his wife gets some much-needed attention from a co-worker, who happens to be married to a wackadoo pro-lifer.
The Senator’s Wife
Gist: A young couple moves in next door to an older woman who is somewhat estranged from her husband, a former senator and current perv.
The Spare Wife
Gist: An ex trophy wife charms both female and male friends in her elite Manhattan circle (yawn) by claiming to have less interest in romance than sports and politics, which is of course BS.