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Wife 22: A Novel by Melanie Gideon
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Wife 22: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Melanie Gideon

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3559231,427 (3.59)9
ltcl's review
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as an advance copy. It is scheduled to come out on May 29th.

Wife 22 meet wife 23! It is possible that my feelings about this book are clouded because I identified with it so strongly but I think it will appeal to many women. Feeling a bit underwhelmed by life, her drama teacher job and her family Alice applies to an ad calling for women to take a marriage survey. As Alice begins to answer questions regarding her life, family and spouse she also begins to see her life under the microscope and begins a new friendship? with the researcher who is assigned to her. What happens is a series of real life situations and email/Facebook conversations between Alice and Researcher 101. As the reader we are privy to modern marriage and modern life - from Peter their young son to Zoe the teenage daughter to William the husband- everyone is grappling with their role in the family and online identity. The ending makes sense but was the only part that seems too good to be true. Hilarious and tearful at times the book reads true - Melanie Gideon has a terrific voice and I am looking forward to the next book. ( )
  ltcl | Apr 19, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 1-25 of 97 (next | show all)
I really liked it! It was very cute and funny, and since the protagonist is only a few years younger than me, I could identify with the whole mid-life, empty-nester, just-the-two-of-us-again storyline. I figured out the ending about halfway through, but still a really enjoyable read. ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |

Wife 22 was at times profound and at others, silly. It was a fairly predictable read made annoying by the fact that we had to fish for the questions at the end of the book(easily done with a print copy rather than on your Kindle; all that back and forth annoyed me).

Alice Buckle never really rubbed off on me. I liked William loads better, the young and the old version. They don't make men like that. Not to mention highly disconcerting if your husband went to such lengths to get you to talk to him properly.

I couldn't connect with Zoe or Peter, either. But I did love those letters she wrote to William, Peter and Zoe. They were amazing. ( )
  ashpapoye | Jan 24, 2014 |
Deals with trying to find the reasons you’re still married after 20 years
  butterkidsmom | Jan 18, 2014 |
Funny and fast paced, but a little predictable.
  Caremelh | Dec 15, 2013 |
I might have recommended this for a breezy, fun, quick, chick-lit beach read. Except for the ending. The ending was ridiculous and preposterous and creepy. It was supposed to be romantic. ICK ICK ICK. ( )
  VenusofUrbino | Oct 22, 2013 |
Meh. I don't really remember why I picked up this book. In fact I'm a little embarrassed I did. It's not usually the type of thing I read (and maybe that's why I picked it), but I'd call it mediocre at best. The plot was superficial, cliched, and I had the "twist" figured out halfway through. The constant brand-dropping felt contrived and unwarranted, and the main character read more like a 15 year-old rather than the (wiser, less-whiney) 40 year-old she was supposed to be. I'd say I was mildly entertained but frequently annoyed and a little bored, too.

Would I recommend it? Probably not.

Edit: I just read that Gideon is a YA writer. Makes sense now. ( )
  mirandainspace | Aug 22, 2013 |
I hate the dismissive "chick-lit" label because it can be dismissive of writing by and about women. However, this book seems to fit snugly within that genre and to offer some of the best parts of what that genre offers. The story is about a wife and mother in San Francisco who used to write plays but now teaches drama to children and who is secretly having an online affair.
I liked that this book used a format that included a lot of emails, Facebook status updates and online chats, in addition to standard narrative. The use of these formats really echoes the way in which we experience our world today, not only through our own eyes and brains but also through the filters of the way we anticipate others reacting to what we see, through what we post on Facebook or Twitter or instagram.
The twist in the story, which I won't reveal, made me really like the book more and really added a heart to what could have been a standard cheating novel.
The author has written for young adult readers before and this is evident in the way that she handles the characterization of the main characters tweenage and teenage son and daughter. They are real people with distinctive personalities, not merely ciphers there to service the plot.
This book doesn't really offer anything hugely new or unusual but it was a fast paced story that I really enjoyed and that felt true to life in a good way. ( )
  elmoelle | Aug 9, 2013 |
Cute book, but I can't for the life of me figure out why the author decided to put all the questions in the back.

The main character takes part in an online survey about her marriage, but we are only shown her answers. Quite a few do not make any sense without the context of the question. I found myself continuously flipping back and forth from the question list and the story, so I took off one star for irritating the crap out if me. ( )
  my6boyzmom | Jul 26, 2013 |
This book is a quiet gem. I picked it up for a light read, but ended up being surprised by it's depth and poignancy. I think it stated some home truths about relationships and moving into middle age. I both laughed and cried as Alice (aptly named as she falls down a bit of a rabbit hole), finds herself and love. ( )
  JulesDashwood | Jun 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wanted to like this book and was somewhat engaged until about halfway through the book. Then it just became predictable. I never felt that I had a connection with Alice, or any of the characters. I didn't like that the "research questions" were in the back of the book, which meant that you had to flip back and forth to know what the answers, in the text, were referring to. Horrible ending! ( )
  tansley | May 30, 2013 |
It was good! I really felt for the mother. Confused, funny, smart but no excuse for doing what she did. Not going to spoil it for anyone so I'm making this very short. Read this in a day and 1/2.
( )
  sweetchuckie | May 14, 2013 |
While I did win this book in a First Reads contest, it is definitely worth buying. I picked it up this morning to read, stuck inside after a snowstorm, and completed this afternoon. I started laughing on page one and finally chased my husband out of the room because I couldn't stop laughing. Alice Buckle could be any of us...trying to find meaning in life while actually living it! Not an easy thing to do. I think the previous reviews have done an excellent job outlining the major plot of this book so I won't repeat. If you want to just relax and enjoy a fun read with heart, this would be the book for you. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | May 12, 2013 |
What a fun, realistic read! The way we are all so "connected" these days, this story could be about any of us. Loved the surprise ending. Has good discussion questions. ( )
  MaryAnn12 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon has been compared to Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones Diary and it's easy to see why. Of my own small reading repertoire, I'd say it's a cross between Bridget Jones and Domestic Violets, a story about a middle-aged copywriter wannabe writer going through an early mid-life crisis.

Wife 22 is a modern-day story of middle-age, fraught with family and marital tensions, told in humorous and insightful anecdotes varying in structure from traditional prose and dialogue to mini-plays to google searches to email correspondence to facebook status updates and chats. Alice is 44 with a cranky, self-righteous teenage daughter and near-teen son she suspects is gay, married for 20 years to distant William. She teaches drama part-time at a local elementary school; William is a creative director at an ad agency. There worlds no longer seem to overlap much at all, and unhappy Alice signs up for a study of 21st century marriage that she finds in her spam folder, which assigns her the code name wife22. Researcher 101 is her contact, and he feeds her a few questions a week from the survey.

Alice finds that the anonymity of the survey lends itself to greater honesty, and she relates intimate details of her life with a humor, frankness, and attention to detail that has been missing in her present. She feels guilty for keeping her marriage survey participation from her husband, and, after her communications with Researcher 101 start to go beyond harmless flirtation, eventually confesses to 2 of her closest friends, who both tell her to cut if off before she does something rash.

The novel is full of exchanges like:

"Can we tell people?" asks Peter.
"What people?" I say.
"Zoe."
"Zoe's not people. She's family," I say.
"No, she's people. We lost her to the people some time ago," says William.

as well as witty advice such as:

"Humiliation is a choice. Don't choose it."

Though I found the format a little trying and gimmicky at first, it ultimately worked for me as Alice grew on me. Is Alice imperfect? Of course. Selfish? Definitely - but aren't we all? Trying to figure out how to navigate life with all the gadgetry and online-connectedness we're supposed to be experiencing? Absolutely. But Alice is a very relatable character, even if she makes much different choices than I might make (or think I might make - she has higher meanness tolerance levels than I do). She's goofy and funny and frazzled but not to the point of ridiculousness (like the Bridget Jones in the movie version). She survives her crisis and manages to circle back to herself - the end is satisfying in it's slightly unpredictable obviousness (even if one could see it coming halfway through the book... it's the how that's fun).

One thing to note, as I was reading the ebook version: The questions to the survey are in the appendix at the end. While reading, it just seemed that the reader was supposed to guess the question, which often was possible, but sometimes annoying. I'm not sure if knowing about the questions would have enhanced or detracted from my reading experience, but there is.

Either way, reading Wife 22 was a pure delight and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light summer read with a little bit of depth to it.

*I received this book compliments of Ballantine Books via NetGalley. ( )
  zeteticat | Apr 2, 2013 |
Read on Apr 28, 2012

I'm a sucker for good chick lit. Or women's fiction. Or domestic fiction. Whatever it's called these days.

This is the story of Alice Buckle. Alice signs up for a study about marriage in the 21st century and realizes she isn't as happy as she thought. Alice isn't perfect, her husband and kids aren't either, but this book is pretty close. The ending is fantastic with a bit of a twist I didn't expect. A great read for a summer day. ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 1, 2013 |
eh, I tried, but just didn't care for it. ( )
  ingriddoris | Mar 30, 2013 |
It is hard to read a book and know the "surpise" after 100 pages. A bit much.... too much information maybe 100 pages too long. ( )
  shazjhb | Mar 20, 2013 |
I was thrilled to finally snag a copy of the much talked about Wife 22. A novel about love, marriage, and family and one woman's inability to deal with all of the above.

The story begins as Alice the protagonist is in her mid-40's and realizing her mother passed away when she was 45. Her 20 year marriage is already in shambles and she is dealing with two teenagers. All these components seem to have sent her off on a mini mid-life crisis. Since the story comes in at a point where Alice and William's marriage seemed to be falling apart, the reader is only left to wonder what the history was of these two. I wanted to know when did this ennui set in?

I believe Ms. Gideon was writing about the consequences of lack of communication in today's marriages. As Alice & William settle in to the same old routine, relationships start to become more individualized. She uses a modern approach to their story, utilizing text messaging, emails, google and facebook to tell the story of Alice and William which ironically is also listed as a reason as to why communication has fallen apart.

The story's concept was good. One has to get used to the different types of prose used. Overall, characters were developed nicely. I can't say that I really liked Alice but I understand the basis of the story and it is conveyed nicely in the book. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Feb 10, 2013 |
{ I won an ARC as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. }

Beautiful story. Much deeper and lovelier than I had expected. It's so full of real emotion and real issues and real relationships. I was starting to see a lot of myself in Alice, or a lot of Alice in myself. I very much liked the twist at the end. I hadn't heard much about this book or Melanie Gideon before winning Wife 22, but I really enjoyed the book and Gideon's writing style, and I'll definitely be checking out more of her work in the future. ( )
  PidginPea | Feb 2, 2013 |
I unfortunately could not make it very far into Wife 22; the rather trite subject matter and mundane writing style put me off into delving into the novel any further. ( )
  amandacb | Jan 16, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a cleverly written novel that was innovative in the way the author wove social networking, searching, and regular prose to develop the story. The characters were entertaining if a bit one-dimensional. Overall I enjoyed the book but found the ending rather predictable. I'd recommend to someone who was looking for a light read. ( )
  julko | Dec 19, 2012 |
Loved this light, fun, easy read! ( )
  jules72653 | Nov 10, 2012 |
Very refreshing, some very funny spots in this book, made me want to read outloud to my husband. A nice read
  jakesam | Nov 5, 2012 |
was really enjoying it - light, breezy, adorable premise of wife taking part in marriage survey. did not like the twist, felt cheated and ruined book for me. ( )
  coolmama | Oct 31, 2012 |
Cute ( )
  sskinsey | Oct 31, 2012 |
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