My Thoughts On: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Posted April 19, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 19 Comments

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
Published by Random House

Publish Date: May 29, 2012
400 Pages
Source:  NetGalley

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

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
Character-Driven Stories
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 
are today!

**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!**


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


19 responses to “My Thoughts On: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

  1. This book sounds really good! Chick Lit is one of my favorite genres and this is different too which is a plus. I like the social media aspect of it too. I'm sure that I'm probably more "plugged in" than I should be, but I know someone that has turned down real life events because of mafia wars.

    And thanks for the tip about buying the print version.

    • Hi Kimberly!

      Wife 22 is really good! I'm pretty plugged in, but Alice is a little too plugged in. I hope you read it and like it. And you're welcome about the print version tip. I can't wait to see what the print version looks like on the inside…

  2. I will definitely look into this one! As I was reading the description, I was thinking, oh man that sounds like a character I could relate to. I also like the idea that it references social media because it plays such an large part in how we interact with people these days.

    • Alice is a character that most of us can probably relate to on at least SOME level and that is what attracted me to her so quickly in the beginning. But she just had these THINGS about her that I wanted to pull her aside and say ALICE! WAKE UP!! And STOP!! It's great that the secondary characters/her friends were very supportive to her as a character – and that this process was fun to read. But, yeah, I was astounded by the Facebook, email, etc usage – really by the amount of social media by the entire family. It's so well-written into the story.

  3. I just finished this book a few days ago and I really liked it too. I related to Alice a lot, though I am not on Facebook nearly as much as she was!

    • I'm glad you liked it too Anne! I found that in many ways I was a blueprint of Alice and in many ways I was total opposite of her. I think having a character so much like myself in the beginning of the book made it so easy and fun to read AND so 'unputdownable' for me.

  4. With as much social media and online connectivity as there is today, computers, phones, and tablets can turn into a gigantic time suck! Call me a traditionalist, but I still prefer face to face interactions, though I would definitely find it difficult to function without all my technology! I'm not nearly as obsessed with it as Alice is with Facebook though. That's kind of crazy! Lol.

    • Natalie, Alice was not only obsessed with Facebook, but she was obsessed with what everyone that she knows is putting as their status on Facebook. She always defended her actions and there is SO MUCH to be said for staying connected. But WOW. And this author used social media in the plot brilliantly, but it wasn't the entire plot. It just so happens that the survey happened over the computer rather than mail, which is how it would've happened years ago. Having another person so easily accessible, freely available to become acquainted with and yet remain anonymous and relatively impersonal – well, that was dangerous for Alice!

      It was really fantastic and I imagine it is rather common out there…

  5. Wow, I need to get my hands on this book.

    I think I will really connect with this one. I have personal experience getting lost in the online world. there was a time in my life, I went through something prety traumatic, and I shut myself off from everyone and everything. Ive rissen from the fog.. have no fear.. lol. I do think I'll really enjoy this though.

    I'm not sure if I want the print version though. I'm kinda digging reading on the kindle. I'm wondering if I can just go to the end and higlight the survey, then save it in my clippings. that might make it easyier to flip back and forth. *ponders*

    • That is a REALLY GOOD POINT you make about highlighting on the Kindle and flipping back and forth that way…that would most likely make it WAY EASIER. I think you should go for it. I never thought of that!

      Yeah, this book is fantastic. It really is.

  6. I actually noticed this book a month or so back on a fellow bloggers Waiting on Wednesday post. After I read the summation I was kind of fascinated, because like you and most of the other comments, I can TOTALLY relate. (Except for the fake Facebook account, wow, that's just insane!)In fact, I seem to remember you saying recently that a book hit you hard because it reminded you so much of yourself (I'm not imagining that, am I?) Anyway, I think Wife 22 might be the same for me. Makes me kind of nervous to read it, you know? Too many similarities. But it would be a great pick for my Book Club who isn't into YA as much as I am. I'm so glad to read a review of this book, thanks Asheley!

    • Hey Heather! You probably did see that on my blog! I've said that before about a book or two…

      I think you will see SOME similarities in terms of where we are in our lives and you'll relate on that level, and you possibly have had some of the experiences that Alice goes through, but I don't think you'll find yourself TOO MUCH like Alice Buckle. I think you'll relate just enough to care deeply for her and be really invested, and yet you'll want to smack her when she gets out of line…which is more than once.

      Totally a break from the standard YA fare around here, but a great break and I loved it so much. Light, fun, quick and still makes you think just a little bit.

  7. I pretty much never read adult books because 1) I feel I'm still a little too young to connect with the characters and 2) YA books are just more fun 😛 This sounds like an interesting read, though. I think it's neat that an adult book incorporated things like Google searches and survey answers into the story.

  8. I saw this book…maybe on Shelf Awareness, I can't quite remember now, but it didn't stir even the faintest bit of interest in me. Now, I absolutely want to read this sucker! I don't know how you do it Asheley but you always manage to get me totally hooked with your reviews! 🙂

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