Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review of Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon - 5 stars!

Happy Thursday!

Author: Melanie Gideon
Title: Wife 22
Release date: 29th of May 2012
Published by: Random House
Imprint: Ballantine Books
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Romance, Mystery
Pages: 400 pages
Source: Book provided by the publisher for reviewing through 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 you shouldn’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.

My review:

I truly enjoyed Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon. It was witty, well-written, and quirky and the structure of the book was unconventional. I read it in one sitting and it kept me interested from the first page until the last page. Wife 22 was about marriage, trust, betrayal and midlife. It is not very often that the protagonists of the books are in their mid-forties and therefore it was refreshing reading.

Regarding the plot:

Alice Buckle, who is 44 years old woman, mother and wife, decides to participate on a research of married couples. She receives a questionnaire and starts answering the questions. Through the process she gets contact to a man who is answering her questions in case she has some doubts about the questionnaire.

Alice has a codename Wife 22 and the researcher has a code name Researcher 101. While filling the questionnaire, Alice needs to take time and think more about her marriage and she realizes that she has some concerns, doubts about her 20years marriage.

One thing leads to another and Alice is creating a Facebook account to find out more about Researcher 101. She is drawn to Researcher 101 and they are starting to discuss quite intimate topics. They learn to know each other, both knowing that it is wrong due to their marriages, but they continue their relationship through Facebook. Finally it comes out of hand and Wife 22 and Researcher 101 are on the border to break all the rules – they are falling in love with each other.

There are several things which I loved about this book.

Firstly, it shows how social media can influence us, how people can get addicted to each other not even knowing who the other person is. It shows the pros and cons of the Facebook. I was surprised, that even during family events Alice was constantly checking and chatting through Facebook. The anonymity and the false security of social media were clearly drawn out. I also have to add, that while reading I was thinking – hmmm been there, done that! Not exactly like Alice, but I think it is one of the reasons why I could relate to the story so much.

Secondly, I enjoyed how the book was written. It was little confusing for me in the beginning of the book, what all the numbers in the beginning of paragraph meant, but I soon realized that these we the numbers of the questions what Alice was replying to. The answer always gave an understanding of what was asked. The actual questionnaire was also added to the appendixes of the book.

Thirdly, I loved that the email correspondence and Facebook chats were actually included into the book – it was really joyful to read them. It showed how two strangers start to trust each other and how they come closer to each other. I think it was a brilliant idea to include the bits and pieces from the social media conversation into the book. Besides that, other parts of the book were written as a play and I liked it because the main character Alice was a playwright.

Fourthly, I think that Wife 22 gave a wonderful overview of how a marriage can get tired and how people, who have loved each other compassionately, can lose the spark between and taking each other for granted. It was a story about losing the touch of the people who are closest to your heart. It was about sex, closeness and intimacy. It was easy to relate to and seemed very real. Wife 22 touched topics which a lot of people are struggling with when they are in mid-forties.

Last, but not least, it had a funny punch-line at the end of the book. It was predictable, but it did not ruin the reading experience for me.

Regarding the characters:

I have to admit, that I had a love-hate relationship with Alice. Let me assure you that in this book, it is a good thing. Even though she had sides which I was mortified by, I still liked her. I was so annoyed when she started to establish closer relationship with Researcher 101. I was thinking – how can you do that? How can you even consider that? I liked her, because she was real woman with real problems and I think she is representing many women who are in the same situation. I could relate to her. I also enjoyed seeing her grow and was happy that she opened her eyes to see what her family is going through.

I also liked the complexity of Alice – she was like two persons. One Alice was at home with her family – being a wife and mom which did not inspire her anymore. And the other Alice (Wife 22) – realizing that she is also a woman who misses several important things in her life.

There were other characters that supported Alice’s story. I enjoyed Alice’s friend Nendra who was the one person who warned Alice about the results of her actions. I liked Peter, Alice’s son who was so cute and sincere with his mom.


Wife 22 is a great novel! It has a good story to tell, the settings are interesting and the protagonist is captivating! I loved the combinations of the writing style because it was unconventional!

5 Flowers!

5 stars!

Buy links:
Random House
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository
Wife 22 is going to be released 29th of May.
Happy reading!


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