Hey There, Bookworms!
In case you’re new here, you should know that I’m an equal opportunity bookworm. Much as I absolutely ADORE you, my digital community, I sometimes interact with people face to face. In fact, I am a part of not one but TWO in-real-life book clubs. I refer to one as “Wine and Whining” and the other as “My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors.” I’m very literal in my descriptions. Anyway. This month’s selection for My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors was bittersweet.
That’s right, one of my neighbors is moving and shall no longer be my neighbor… Except in spirit, obviously. I don’t know that she’d be pleased with me using her actual name, so I’ll give her a pseudonym. We’ll call her Agatha. Agatha is a fabulous neighbor and a great book club member. She is retired now, but she used to work as a psychologist (or something closely related) PLUS her brother lives on a mountain with goats. You really can’t beat a book club member who can speak with authority on the human mind AND goats. (Alright, she’s not a goat expert or anything, but any time you can work goats into conversation, you do it!)
Since Agatha is moving, she chose this month’s book. She toyed with the idea of choosing Gone Girl, but since most of us had read it already, she opted for The Silent Wife: A Novel by A.S.A. Harrison. (No lie, I totally Freudian slipped while typing that and put in A. S. S. I wouldn’t mention it if it weren’t COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE for this book. Seriously, the dog was named Freud!) Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, “So and so would LOVE this!” The Silent Wife is SUCH an Agatha book.
So here’s the deal. Jodi and Todd are married. Well, married-ish. They’ve been living together 20+ years and consider themselves to be in a common law marriage. They live in Illinois, which is NOT a state that recognizes common law marriage (this fact becomes rather important.) Jodi cooks, keeps house, and sees patients in her part time practice as a psychologist. Todd is a real estate developer who divides his time between his comfortable “marriage” and his busy adultery schedule. He likes ‘em young, and sometimes, professional (oh yeah people. I’m talking hookers.) Jodi’s not dumb. She’s aware of the infidelity, but since Todd always comes home to her, she’s willing to overlook it. A very modern approach, if you will.
This all works out fairly well, the denial, the cheating, the cute dog named Freud… Until Todd knocks up his young chippy (who happens to be the daughter of his best friend.) Todd is SUCH a slimeball. I mean, he’s got a back story that explains WHY he’s a slimeball, but still. Gross, right? So, the pregnant side girlfriend throws a major monkey wrench into the whole business, and craziness ensues.
The Silent Wife was billed as the next Gone Girl. I think the blurb writer was aiming too high in that description. That’s probably part of the reason this book fell flat for me. There were some twists, the occasional turn… But overall I felt like I could see them coming. I had too much knowledge of each character’s past and motivations to be well and truly SHOCKED by anything. Plus, well… This isn’t typically my genre. Psychological thrillers (really, thrillers in general) tend not to be my cuppa. That said, to a receptive audience, this book would be great. It’s solidly written and well characterized, just not really my bag. It is, however, a TOTAL Agatha read. If you gravitate toward this genre (Charleen of Cheap Thrills, I’m looking at you. And Lyssa of Psychobabble. You too.) The Silent Wife might just be a winner.
It makes me a little sad to know Agatha won’t be around in the coming months to push me out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps we can just Skype her into the meetings. Just because we’re an IRL book club doesn’t mean we can’t utilize technology, right?
Since we’re on the subject of neighbors, I’m sure you’ve ALL got stories. Good neighbors, bad neighbors, apartment neighbors who regularly bring home strange men and give you fleas (oh wait, was that JUST me?) Tell me your neighbor stories!