Staying Stylish in Suburbia

The Silent Wife: A book review

Monday, September 16, 2013


There are a couple of reasons why I chose this book. First of all it was reviewed by one of my favorite writers, Ann Lomott, who was quoted as saying that she, "Gobbled it up in one reading." Secondly, it was being marketed as the next Gone Girl. I have to admit that the combination of these two things pulled me in. I love Ann Lamott and I loved Gone Girl. The latter being a smartly written page turning physiological thriller that left you unsure of who, if anyone, to root for.

I will agree that there were a few similarities with the two books. The writing was good in both although The Silent Wife lacked Gillian Flynn's crackling, caustic style. Still, I enjoyed Harrison's prose as well and would certainly read her work again.

"His mind is on everything at once, encircling the whole of his world at a sweep... It's come to a point where he savours the constant apprehension, the risk he takes with each small decision, the strain of being overextended, the pressure of betting everything on the current venture. The anxiety he feels is stabilizing in a way, letting him know that he's alive and on track. It's anxiety cut with anticipation, an  interest in what comes next, a stake in things unfolding. this is what propel him through his day."

Both books were centered around murder and the corroding consequences of a toxic marriage. Both books were hard to put down. I even took The Silent Wife into the bathtub. But the similarities stop there. For one thing I saw the plot twist coming a mile away with The Silent Wife, which was certainly not the case with Gone Girl.

But enough with the comparisons.  Here is the basic gist of the book without giving too much away.

The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison was written in the third person from the perspective of "Him" and "Her" in alternating chapters.

HER: Jodi's character (the silent wife) is the examination of a woman so adept at denial that her passive aggression has taken on an internal life of it's own. This eventually leads to a murderous plot that she is both responsible for and emotionally detached from.

HIM: Todd is a philandering middle aged cliche who is in denial about how far he can push a person before they crack. His cluelessness boarders on delusion as his narcissism leads him down a path towards grave consequences that will not only affect his health and spirit but also his chances at staying alive.

In the end it is a story about things left unsaid. How the unspoken can build and build until there is nothing more to be done but the unthinkable...

I give it three stars out of five. I liked it fine but the characters were both so unappealing that I had a hard time caring for them or the outcome at times.
Has anyone else read this book? If so what did you think?

2 comments :

  1. I have read "Gone Girl" and I agree it is a good one. I especially enjoyed the writer's ability to keep me guessing all the way to the end. If the "The Silent Wife" has that page turning ability, I'll be heading to the bookstore.

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    1. Not quite as surprising at the end but very intriguing nonetheless. Let me know what you think if you end up reading it!

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