Book Review: The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

A friend of mine lent me this book at the beginning of the year. It’s one of her favorites so I thought I’d give it a try. The first aspect I noticed was the genre and writing style was very different from what I usually read…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was interesting reading something with a different tone and approach to a rather unique story (or at least it was unique to me).

The Wife takes place in the main character’s perspective, an unhappy wife named Joan preparing to ask her husband for a divorce while flying 35 thousand feet above the ocean. After 40 years of marriage, she was ready to finally put herself first and end the suffocating relationship.

The entire novel switches from flashbacks to present day, where you get to learn about how Joan and Joseph’s relationship started, developed, thrived, and eventually crumbled. Joan was actually one of Joseph’s students while he was a professor in college, already married with an infant child. The two lovebirds ran away together to start a life, both in love with hopes of becoming literary legends.

As time goes on, Joan starts realizing she’s put her own life and dreams on hold for Joseph’s success. The story slowly unfolds the details behind Joan’s discontent with her life and marriage, and you can’t help but root for her and feel a little sorry for her circumstances.

This book dives into the complications of marriage and relationships, as well as gender roles and expectations throughout the second half of the 1900s. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading Wolizter’s story (it started off a bit slow), but the further I read, I grew more interested in the complications of Joan’s relationship with Joseph. The Wife may be outside of my regular genres, I overall enjoyed the story and the character development of the husband and wife. Plus, the end brings a couple slightly unexpected surprises, both for the present day and a big reveal from their past. I definitely love a good plot twist!

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