Book Review: The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Why should you read this book?

Meg Wolitzer writes character-driven stories (which are the ones I prefer) and she’s a true master. The Wife, published in 2003, isn’t particular innovative. We’ve heard this story before. This book is remarkable because of the way it is told.

The Wife is the story of the long and complicated marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan, and the secret they’ve kept for decades. At the beginning of the book, when they are flying to Finland where Joe will be awarded a very important literary prize, Joan decides that their marriage is over. And, then, she tells us her story.

As I initially said, Wolitzer excels in the character development. This family is utterly complex, flawed and real. We have access to the Castleman family’s dynamics and, essentially, to Joan’s life: her regrets and her resentment.

The Wife, which is highly readable, also focuses on a moment of history where feminist ideas weren’t familiar to most people. Therefore, this thought-provoking novel not only attempts to criticize women’s invisibility but also the literary world which was incredibly male-centered in the past. As usual, I read some negative reviews on Goodreads (a habit of mine haha) and I noticed some reviewers pointed out that Joan is dismissive of other women. She is, indeed. But, in my opinion, is meant to be a criticism of how women were taught to see their peers. There’s an obvious competitiveness among them. As you can see, I really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a novel that will hold your attention, this is it!

I’d like to thank Scribner Books for sending a review copy. You can buy the book here.

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Summary:

Joe and Joan Castleman are en route to Helsinki. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he will receive there, while Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long she has played the role of supportive wife, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, whilst quietly being the keystone of his success. But behind the compromises, the disappointment and disillusionment there lies a secret…

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Book Details:

Publisher: Scribner Books (Simon & Schuster)
Published on: July 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Price: $9.99

4 stars

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