The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison

“Better than Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl,” proclaims the blurb from Sophie Hannah on the back of the book. I didn’t particularly like Gone Girl, but I was intrigued by the author’s bio and said yes to a review copy. The novel is also set in Chicago and I enjoying seeing how people use the city for a setting.

From the publisher: Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.

The story is told through the perspective’s of Jodi and Todd in alternating chapters. Chapters by Jodi open and close the novel.

Both characters are emotionally stunted. Neither takes responsibility for their emotional health and their best and worst issues fit together in a tight little dysfunctional package that was bound to implode sooner or later.

This is one of those books that is hard for me to rate because while I enjoyed the writing, I did not appreciate the story. Harrison, who died earlier this year, was obviously a talented writer, but I have little patience for people in real life or characters in books who don’t take responsibility for their emotional states or get help for their neurosis. Go to therapy! I groaned at the characters a few times. Jodi is a therapist, which prompted me to add, “and be sure find a good therapist.”

Much unfolds about Jodi’s back-story and that helps to make sense of things and turns this tale into a tragedy more than a thriller. There are multiple silent wives in this novel.

The Silent Wife is an excellent peek into what happens to peoples’ lives when they don’t take responsibility for themselves and how delusion (and other psychological conditions) can destroy what it is desperately trying to protect.

I finished the book over a month ago and the further away I get from the reading of it the more I “like” the book. I’m curious to see what fans of Gone Girl think of The Silent Wife. Have you read both? Either?

The Silent Wife
A.S.A. Harrison
Penguin, June 25, 2013
Source: review copy
Rating: 2.5/5


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