Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Silent Wife

The description for The Silent Wife makes it sound a lot like your average women's fiction.  Boy meets girl, boy cheats on girl, girl pines and pines for boy, girl eventually finds a way to move on.  What makes The Silent Wife different is that the moving on is more hitman and less gallon-of-ice-
cream-on-the-couch.

Jodi and her common law husband Todd live a charmed life.  Todd, a successful developer, and Jodi, a part-time therapist, live in a luxury condominium right on Lake Michigan in the Chicago Gold Coast.  While from the outside their marriage looks charmed, within the relationship there is nothing but coldness and a lack of true connection.  Todd is a serial philanderer, and in order to keep their lives from completely falling apart, Jodi chooses to live in the state of denial.  But soon, Jodi realizes that Todd is not content to play the part of loving husband.  He is looking for a way to leave her, and as he slips away, so too does her sanity, until finally she makes her way inexorably towards a decision she can never take back.

The story is told from alternating perspectives, first Jodi's, the Todd's.  The voices change chapter to chapter, so unlike Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (to which this book has often been compared), you are reading about all of the events in real time in the story.  This book is defintely no Gone Girl.  It does not rise to the leve of dark and twisty that Flynn's book portrayed.  Honestly, the female character in that book was just evil.  Jodi is not evil, nor is she a sociopath, but she is someone who has been deeply scarred in the past, so deeply that she doesn't even remember what happened to her that created this ability to compartmentalize to such an extreme.  Once her inner boundaries start to fall, however, she begins to realize just how big a lie she has really been living.   The Silent Wife starts out slowly, and the writing style and plot stay rather understated.  But despite the sometimes clinical feeling of the writing, especially the parts narrated by Jodi, the ending has a satisfying emotional jolt that made the effort to read it worth it.

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