Author: Melanie Gideon
Source: Won from a contest on writemeg!‘s blog.
Excerpt from Goodreads:
For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.
Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.
But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).
And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.
7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.
61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.
67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What youshouldn’t have.
32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.
Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions.
But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.
As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.
I’ve always been a pretty strict young adult genre reader, so I was excited and nervous when I got the chance to venture outside of my teenage triangle of love comfort zone. Much to my surprise, I instantly fell in love with this book, the character’s, and Gideon’s style of writing. I was laughing out loud uncontrollable at parts, and deeply touched or saddened by others. I think this was the perfect book to use to branch out my little olive tree of book knowledge. After reading Wife 22 I’m definitely going to seek out more books of this genre and plot line. I’ve noticed over the past year or so that I’ve turned into a sort of hopeless romantic, and this book was perfect for me.
Oh gosh, the anonymity, the sense of doing something bad (in a good way), the feeling of having secrets, the rush of a new relationship, all these things and more are rushing through Alice as she begins her marriage survey as Wife 22 with Researcher 101. I simply adored the way this book was written with so many different styles, switching between bullets and numbers, to time stamps of her evening, to emails and chats passed online among friends, I ate it all up! I especially loved the way Alice writes about her courtship with her husband, William, while answering the survey questions. Her responses made me fall in love with William and I was rooting for their marriage to work right from the beginning. And her kids! Peter seems absolutely darling, and the way Alice and William handled the ‘Hoho’ situation with Zoe had me laughing out loud along with them.
It was somewhere between page 283 and 297 when I realized who Researcher 101 is. I felt a few of the same emotions Alice feels when she finds out herself as the novel progresses. But overall, I have to agree with her friends Bunny and Nerda and say that it is the most romantic thing I think any man could ever do for his wife. It almost feels like it’s so perfect, it could only ever happen in a book, but thinking like that makes me depressed. I have to assume, for my sake and the sake of all the romantics, that there are still men out there today who have enough ingenuity, sensibility, passion, and who care enough to go through what William did to bring his wife back to him.
I may be wrong, but I personally think everyone should read this book. Okay maybe not everyone, but if you’re a romantic, or looking for ideas to save your marriage or relationship, this is definitely the book to do it. Or maybe you’ll read it and realize you’re relationship isn’t like Alice and William and it can’t be saved, and I think that’s okay too.
This book was exactly what I needed at the right time. It was a nice reprieve from my endless drone of young adult literature, don’t get me wrong I seriously love me some young adult books, but they can get a little repetitive.
After reading Wife 22 I somehow feel lighter, more satisfied with my life. It was almost as if, without realizing it, I had lost hope of love and romance, much in the same way Alice did. Melanie Gideon and Wife 22 was akin to some much needed therapy: mental and emotional…or are those the same thing?
This may be a bold statement, but Wife 22 is now my favorite book of 2012 (so far).
Rating: 5/5 stars