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The First Wives Club

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  13,589 ratings  ·  197 reviews
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Before Sex and the City...before The Starter Wife...there was The First Wives Club
The sharp-witted and sexy New York Times bestseller!

Elise, Brenda, and Annie have one thing in common: they were all first wives. Make that two things in common they were the secret to success for each of their spouses, faithfully supporting them as they rose to the top. Okay, three thing

...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 28th 1996 by Arrow (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Boogenhagen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
April Hamilton
One of the grandmothers of the chick lit genre. Funny, if a bit mean-spirited at times, though it's hard *not* to empathize with the long-suffering first wives who are tossed aside like yesterday's leftovers when their husbands decide it's time to bag trophy wives. The story of how they work together to wreak vengeance on those cads, and improve their own futures and that of their community at the same time, is an entertaining read.
Dahl
Hace poco más de un año, en una feria del libro de Albacete, me tropecé con el texto en el que se basa una de mis películas favoritas de los 90': El club de las primeras esposas, aunque quizás sea un poco injusta esta apreciación, ya que mis películas favoritas de esta década se pueden contar por decenas. Se trata de una edición del Círculo de lectores, en cartoné, con la sobrecubierta de papel verjurado en casi perfecto estado de conservación y a un precio que podría catalogarse de ridículo. No ...more
Lisa
I read this book before the movie came out. I think if I had seen the movie first, I would have never read the book. The movie was horrible! This book is way more interesting. The characters had much more emotion & substance. Don't get me wrong... this is not going to be a literary classic, but in the book you get to see them much more vindictive, angry, sad, and hurt; and the revenge that they achieve is much more fun (and cruel) than the movie allowed you to see. Again... if you're looking ...more
Anne
I've always been mad at what that stupid movie did to this awesome book. The movie made these characters into idiots, when in the book they were smart, strong women. But hey, isn't that what life in our society likes to do to strong, intelligent women - try to take their power from them by turning them into charicatures - if you're ambitious, you're a witch, if you're angry you're just being emotional.... UGH

It's really a great read.
JayeL
I liked this book because the premise was that men underestimated their wives and their wives showed them that one should never underestimate anyone. I liked the attitude that the first wives take. It has a bit of man-hating in it, which I don't agree with.
Jessica Workman Holland (Tales Between the Pages)
Read the full review at Tales Between the Pages

This book surprised me. I came into it having watched the movie, which was very light hearted. The first half of the book was quite a bit deeper than I expected. There were moments of beauty and heartache and despair. Annie's story resonated with me more than any of the other women, which surprised me. Her emotions felt the most real to me. Her husband was the most despicable out of all of them (even the megalomanic/woman beater). Annie's husband on
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 07, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those in the Mood For a Bit of Male-Bashing and Girl Power
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
If you've seen the film based on this, well, this is quite different in a lot of the details, and is much raunchier, darker, crueler, meaner and more vindictive. It's a breezy fast easy read despite its thick length, but although light in that sense, I'd hardly call it fluffy.

The novel follows three women: Elise Eliot Atchison, Annie MacDuggan Paradise and Brenda Morrelli Cushman are seemingly very different people. Elise, born to a WASPy rich, high society family, was a glamorous movie star in
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Roberta
Cosa succede quando un gruppo di amiche si rende conto di essere state usate, scartate e gettate dai loro ex mariti? Nella vita normale, le donne in questione si sfogherebbero parlandosi, mangiando e uscendo insieme.
Nel mondo di Olivia Goldsmith le cose sono un po’ diverse.
Tutto inizia con il suicidio di Cinzia, che prima di togliersi la vita spedisce una lettera alla sua cara amica Annie, che però non ha visto per lungo tempo. In questa lettera, Cinzia racconta i continui soprusi subiti in sil
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Isabella Banner
I thought this book was well...unfortunate. I was interested in reading the books because I had seen the movie first and loved it! But I was very disappointed in the books. I thought the transitions from character to character were a bit rough, the plot was ALL over the place, the characters were either overly developed to the point that we were still learning things about them up until the very last chapter of the series or they were underdeveloped to the point that made me wonder why the autho ...more
esterb
I have to be honest here, I struggled to get through. The plot never became interesting enough to really grab me and the characters were too “one-dimensional” for my liking. That may work in a film, the movie version is funny, but it isn’t enough when you want to make a funny book. And that’s another thing:
Where authors like Helen Fielding and Marian Keyes are funny, Olivia Goldsmith tries hard to be, but she just doesn’t get it done in my humble opinion.
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Mary
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were engaging and showed considerable growth throughout. Caution--if you have seen the movie, the book is very different. They emphasized the comedic aspects of the book and softened the characters considerably. While the book does have some comedy in it, it was much darker than anything in the movie. Loved the revenge aspect--it was totally appropriate.
Jonathan
A sublimely satisfying read! If you've only seen the film, you owe it to yourself to read the book! While the film was a terrific screwball comedy, the book goes so much deeper. Not only are there belly laughs-a-plenty, but Goldsmith's novel has its touching moments, its scathing moments, its moments of satisfying and poetic justice!

The book is a completely different experience than the film. If you enjoyed the film - or even if you didn't - pick up the novel and give it a try. I will avoid spoi
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Nicole
This book was an interesting read with a new take on revenge. I laughed and felt myself get angry at times. The book is very different from the movie, with only the basic idea and main character traits remaining the same. I enjoyed the book, but it had slow periods of unnecessary details. This is not a book I can see myself reading again. Once was enough.
Ria Tumimomor
DON'T GET MAD, GET EVEN....

That's the lesson by learning from this book about women who got dumped by their husband simply because they are getting old and how society make it worst by turning their back....

Don't disgrace yourself by doing something stupid when someone do terrible things to you.... GET EVEN!!! In the smartest way :)
Ann
Not as good or as clever as the movie! More romance novel; disappointing. Most interesting was to see how differnt it was from the movie. (It was in the 'free' bin at a yard sale this weekend. I plan to return the favor and give it awaY!)
Kris
3 STARS

"Don't get mad. Get everything. When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband's career. But now that the men are successful, they've traded in their wives for newer, blonder models. Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chanel, Painstakingly, inexorably, they plan the downfall of the men who've wrecked their lives - and know that revenge
...more
Leigh
1000000 times better than the film! The stories of the three women seem very realistic.
Lara
I love this book and am so glad I read it a second time. So much better than the movie.

Before Sex and the City...before The Starter Wife...there was The First Wives Club
The sharp-witted and sexy New York Times bestseller!

Elise, Brenda, and Annie have one thing in common: they were all first wives. Make that two things in common — they were the secret to success for each of their spouses, faithfully supporting them as they rose to the top. Okay, three things: they were each abandoned for younger,
...more
HeavyReader
Mar 01, 2015 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in need of a good novel
Shelves: fiction, bookmooch
While I was aware of the movie The First Wives Club, I’ve never seen it (is Bette Midler in it?) and didn’t know it was based on a novel until I heard Sarah Wendell (author of Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels) talk about it on NPR. Wendell recommenced it highly, so I sought it out on BookMooch.

Wow! This novel is awesome fiction. The characters are complicated. None are totally good or totally evil; all are fleshed out and flawed. The plot has many twists and turns to k
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Krissy
I liked the concept/plot line and really dove into this book. Women who've dedicated their lives to helping their husbands succeed only to be tossed aside for younger women decide to take action and get even. It sounds cheesy, but the cheesiness adds to the appeal. That said I thought it dragged a bit to be honest and I found it hard to identify with Brenda, Elise, and Annie in the book. Maybe it's because I adored their characters in the movie version, but this one just falls flat. I did like t ...more
Sorcha
Don't get mad. Get everything.
When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband's career. But now that the men are successful, they've traded in their wives for newer, blonder models.
Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chanel. Painstakingly, inexorably, they plan the downfall of the men who've wrecked their lives - and know that revenge has never
...more
Jamie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
I thought this was a great book. It was much more serious than the movie was. As a great fan of the movie, I was expecting something different. Many things were very different from the movie. Everyone from Duarto to Brenda to Elise had different jobs/careers. Aaron was the only one who had the same career. The most interesting changes, I think, were that Brenda was the one who turned out to be gay, rather than Annie's daughter, and that Annie had a daughter with Down's Syndrome. I think it was m ...more
Laura
I was a little nervous to read the book that my favourite movie is based on. I didn't want to automatically dismiss the book just because it might be different to the movie i was used to. I wanted to be able to enjoy the story for what it was and try and push away my preconceptions.

I have to admit that it was a little hard to do that because of how many times i have watched the movie (I almost know the script off by heart). To be honest i didn't enjoy the beginning of the book because it was so
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Rin Simpson
Synopsis: Three former college friends are reunited by the death of the fourth member of their group, who commits suicide when her husband replaces her with a younger model. As 'first wives' themselves, they come together to form a club which has just one important goal - revenge.

Review: If you've seen the film of this book, forget it - save for the name and one or two basic plot points, they're completely different animals. While the film is a laugh-a-minute comedy, albeit with a good heart, th
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Olivia
I read Goldsmith's The Bestseller for my ELang 410 Editing Fiction class--it really is a good look into publishing if you are interested in that field. After finishing Bestseller, which talks a lot of the difficulties of getting published, particularly with a first novel, I was curious about Goldsmith's first novel: how she broke in. I had also heard about The First Wives Club the movie, though I had never seen it.

As you can see, I was not very impressed with the book. I'd call it "trashy." I t
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Sarah
I loved the film The First Wives Club with Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn, so naturally, like any good bookie I decided to check out the novel as well.

Boy, what a shocker! The novel by Olivia Goldsmith is a completely different beast! A way more in-depth view of the powerless feeling that can be accompanied with the heart-rendering loneliness of becoming a divorcee. All having been betrayed, broken, and let down by their respective spouses, three women band together for support and
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Kellie
I think the most interesting aspect of this novel is the person who wrote it. Olivia Goldsmith went thru a messy divorce which prompted the writing of this and many other novels where women are treated badly by the men in their lives, the men leave and the women end up better off. In this case, revenge is sweet. Sadly, the novelist died in 2004 due to complications from plastic surgery. This novel was just OK for me. The plot was interesting, the characters were likeable enough but there was som ...more
Kirby
I hadn't read this book since the movie came out (oh my god- was that really 1996?!), but I remembered loving it. Having just reread it, I may have to knock off one of the stars on my original rating...

I still loved the premise of the story- the discarded wives engineering the downfall of their cruel exes, finding true love and happiness along the way- and I still loved the characters. They all felt very real and nuanced, flawed but likable (especially Brenda Cushman- her humor was great). Some
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Skip it and see the movie instead! 3 22 Apr 15, 2014 02:05PM  
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Olivia Goldsmith (January 1, 1949 - January 15, 2004) was an American author, best known for her first novel The First Wives Club (1992), which was adapted into the movie The First Wives Club (1996).

She was born Randy Goldfield in Dumont, New Jersey, but changed her name to Justine Goldfield and later to Justine Rendal. She took up writing following a divorce in which she said her husband got almo
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