|Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
Published by Random House
Publish Date: May 29, 2012
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. –(summary excerpt from Goodreads.com)
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
My Thoughts: THIS BOOK, you guys. Wow! I connected well with the story’s main character – Alice Buckle – within the first chapter. In some ways, I AM Alice Buckle. Then again, in a lot of ways I am thankfully NOT Alice Buckle. It was the connection that I felt with her that pushed me to devour this book.
Alice is always worrying about stuff: her children, her husband’s job, her finances. Does she look as attractive as she did ten years ago? Has her marriage lost all of its excitement?…Alice is also VERY plugged-in to the world socially. She is ALL OVER Facebook – almost constantly. She checks her email frequently. Her entire family spends a ton of time texting and Twittering. I found Alice and the rest of her family to be very representative and relevant to what I see when I look around today.
When Alice finds the email requesting the anonymous marriage survey in her inbox, she is curious. She checks it out and meets Researcher 101, the researcher assigned to her case specifically. He sends her a few questions at a time and she answers them – also emailing Researcher 101 quite often, revealing more information than necessary and asking questions of him as well. It starts innocently enough – Alice just wants to revise or add information to some of her survey answers – and Researcher 101 always responds with kind, reassuring words. Before too long, they have built up an online
friendship relationship. Alice knows she has taken it too far, but she isn’t sure she wants to stop.
OH! I wanted to reach thru my Kindle and shake Alice Buckle, you guys! Alice KNEW what she was doing! She knew better than to divulge certain types of information to an anonymous researcher in an anonymous survey! But the researcher didn’t exactly call this behavior off either…so as I was reading, I was holding my breath – wondering if the family was going to fall apart or not.
A few random Wife 22 thoughts:
- Alice Buckle has a PROBLEM with Facebook! Anybody on Facebook as much as Alice Buckle has a problem with Facebook. Period. If you sneak away at a friend’s house, into another room, to quickly log on and check your status and the status of your fake Facebook account, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. I actually know people like this in real life!
- Alice Buckle’s marriage is worth salvaging. Her husband, William, is great. Their relationship seems like it could be easily worked on and built back up. It just needed a nudge to get started on the process and it got one in a big way at the beginning of the book. Of course, Alice was very resistant to this, which was a little frustrating but made for a great plot that was fun and light and easy to read.
- Alice Buckle has great friends. The secondary cast is very supportive to Alice and William. They’re diverse, funny, and much like real-life people we would all know. Alice also has great kids, much like teen/tween kids that we might have or know in real life. Great characterization in this book!
I do not read as much adult contemporary fiction as I used to because I sometimes find it sad or depressing. This is not one of those books. This book is great! I read Wife 22 while biting my nails, wondering how big of a mess Alice would let the survey and it’s resulting anonymous relationship snowball into, and if her family would be spared in the end. Ultimately, I was rooting for the Buckles! I can’t say that I didn’t figure some of it out – I suspected some things early on and my suspicions were confirmed – but this didn’t take away from the book at all. I still enjoyed the book just as much as I would have if I’d have been completely surprised.
I want to mention that this book is told largely through emails, survey answers, Facebook statuses/comments, Twitter updates, and Google searches. Don’t let this structure throw you off! All of these things are part of the story and impact it directly with plot content and indirectly with regard to exactly how much time Alice and the rest of her family spends online.
I highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy chick lit/women’s fiction or adult contemporary fiction. It is quite funny at times and a light, fun read.
Wife 22 will appeal to fans of:
Chick Lit/Adult Contemporary Fiction
Stories with Familial Issues
Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
will be available for purchase on May 29, 2012.
**I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley!
Do you know anyone like Alice –
Are YOU too socially plugged-in?
Does this sound like a story
you’d be interested in?
It’s pretty relevant to how things
**I’d like to urge you – if you are thinking of purchasing this book (you should!) – to buy the print version rather than the electronic version. Or if you’re going to buy the e-book, at least be aware that: the survey questions are not listed within the story; they’re actually at the end of the book. You’ll likely want to flip back and forth to see what question Alice is actually answering during certain parts of the book, because she sometimes gives vague or one-word answers. I personally read this book on my Kindle and was unable to do this, leaving me a little bit confused at times. It’s hard to flip back and forth on a Reader! My recommendation is to go print for this one, you guys!**