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My Favourite Wife

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,305 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
into the booming gold rush city of Shanghai fly Bill and Becca Holden with their small daughter. Their new home is Paradise Mansions - a luxurious apartment block full of 'second wives'. When Becca goes home, a friendship between a lonely family man and a neglected mistress grows into something more - sonething that threatens to destroy all their lives. And when Becca come ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published 2008 by Harper Collins (first published February 18th 2007)
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Ian Mapp
Feb 03, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it it was ok
Parsons by numbers. How many times have we seen this - married man in crisis, child in tow, chinese angle, working class roots and disapproving father. Its fucking lazy writing it is - look at faulks, tc byle, william boyd, ian mcewan, iain banks etc. They all vary it.

However, for 2/3rds of the book this works well. the political, social and worldwide consequences of new china are very well written - informative and entertaining. Not sure if was just cause Ellie had been there.

A working class bo
Aug 05, 2011 Nicola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's an interesting story, from the point of view of a man in love with two women; but I found it impossible to feel any kind of sympathy towards him in his predicament of having to choose between the two. The descriptions of China and Shanghai sound realistic (though I've never been, so don't know for sure); and it does make you think about the price people pay for the 'next big thing'. All in all though, not one I'd choose to read again - not bad, but not that great either.
Feb 22, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2010 Leanne rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine Gordon
Sep 05, 2011 Catherine Gordon rated it it was ok
Recommended to Catherine by: Joan Gordon
Interesting enough read. The culture shock of moving and working in a new city, the strained relationships between husband and wife as he works long hours to fulfill the "dream" that she wants but at the expense of family. Then when his family leaves how he turns into a cliche, or is it a cliche? The characters are well written and sympathetic, you can see each person's perspective and how none of them are "bad people" but that someone has to get hurt if not everyone in this situation. It also t ...more
Nov 14, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Judy by: I bought it in a store display in Hong Kong airport
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, set in modern day Shanghai and some of the other parts of China. It does a good job of showing the ambivalence it is easy to feel as a Westerner in China; there is so much happening to modernize the country and raise the standard of living, and yet there are 500 million people there not being helped at all and often being hurt (by pollution, by seizure of their ancestral property for commercial uses, by employment conditions in sweat shops, etc.) Individuals stil ...more
Jul 03, 2010 Inga rated it liked it
It was my first Tony Parsons book to read, so I had no expectations towards the writer or the book.
It was smoothly written and I liked the way he described the modern Shanghai. This part of the book I found fascinating.
The twisted love story was in my opinion little weak and stayed for me for several reasons not understandable. After I finished the book, I was wondering: Why do people make their own lives so much more complicated than needed? Both Bill and Becca were in my opinion weak character
Aug 30, 2008 Stephanie rated it liked it
very interesting and complicated social commentary on the economic state of China. My biggest issue with the novel was the wife's character... it's supposedly Parson's strongest woman character but I found the fact that she gave up her career as a financial journalist because her daughter got asthma a little unbelievable. but I liked his depiction of the expat world of China, and the 'concubines' of China. that was definitely a believable setting though the things that happen to them are a littl ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Msdot rated it liked it
Very frustrating story about a 'good' husband who fell in love with another woman, a wife who persevered, a mistress who was obviously be with this husband for monetary gain. But everything was alot more complicated than it really was.
Mar 14, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it
As with other Tony Parsons books I did enjoy reading this one. A nice change not to be based in the UK or US. Maybe the characters didn't behave quite as one would expect but I'm still left wondering what happened next.....
Feitha Iriani
Apr 28, 2009 Feitha Iriani rated it really liked it
The story disgusted me at first, it told about an affair of a good husband because he was lonely. But in the end it taught us about forgiveness and about what matters most in your life. It is beatifully written.
Apr 01, 2009 Michelle rated it did not like it
This was just a poorly written book. Bad story, bad writing, bad foreshadowing, bad.
Kira K
Mar 21, 2017 Kira K rated it liked it
A book that at times made me furious and at others made me tear up. An interesting read from start to finish.
Barbara Hopkinson
Mar 20, 2017 Barbara Hopkinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: parsons-tony
Loved this book, funny and sad story, family life.
Jean Hatton
Nov 16, 2016 Jean Hatton rated it really liked it
Possibly one for the book club
Feb 28, 2017 Matt rated it did not like it
really enjoyed the first couple of his books- man&boy, man&wife. found this to be quite boring in places, not a lot happens and I don't really like any of the characters. Not much humour in it either. a real disappointment.
Jul 09, 2012 LindyLouMac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A male writer of chick flicks for men is how I have seen Tony Parsons described, I prefer to think of him as a male writer of Contemporary Fiction which can be enjoyed by both male and female readers. I happen to enjoy his take on relationships and have read four other novels of his, although this is the first time I have reviewed one here. It is unusual to read novels about such emotional issues as families and parenthood that are written by men and this author does it well. This is may not be ...more
Aug 07, 2015 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Bill and Becca move to Shanghai with their daughter Holly for what Becca believes will be a wonderful career opportunity for her husband they think all their dreams have come true, if they are both honest Becca was the driving force as she is jaded by their life in London so Bill tries to please her.
They think the area the company has relocated them to is perfect but then they see the "ladies of the night" getting in and out of cars at all hours of the day and it turns out they have been mo
May 12, 2016 Jill rated it liked it
A clear 3-star review for me - I did like this book. There's a clear storyline, you know what's happening. The characters are clear and mostly believable, although some are sketchily drawn (the sideline characters mostly, although the two main women characters come in and out of focus).

This is not a complicated book, although it does present a layered picture of a family in crisis, and the choices each person makes and the consequences of those choices.

Nobody comes out of the story smelling pa
Dec 27, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Judge
Jul 22, 2015 Ashley Judge rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Literature it is not. Cliches romp, characters act in cardboard wooden ways, and yet, there are glimpses of real observation nestled within these pages. It's contemporary Shanghai, and from the first page, Tony Parsons manages to paint for us his curiosity about this modern spangling city reputed to be Paris-of-the-Orient. The tale itself is a well-trodden plot -- the male protagonist who finds himself chasing adulterous dreams involving a Chinese beauty -- oh, the forever mysterious lure of the ...more
May 05, 2009 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
I totally enjoyed the depiction of Shanghai as the modern world's "gold rush city". The contrasts between the rich and poor and the East and West seem very representative of what I've learned personally whilst living with many Asian & more specifically some Chinese folks. It is interesting yet not surprising to see what the human psyche will do to survive and how one's soul can be overlooked and mitigated when simply in "survival" mode. Although we might think that the feudal ways like the c ...more
Scherry Siganporia
Jun 05, 2013 Scherry Siganporia rated it it was amazing

This book is not just a book, its a journey into Infidelity, Asian culture, a man torn by what is right and wrong, a love story. I highly recommend it. It also leaves you gasping for more... It leaves you sad, happy, loved and wiser...

A beautifully scripted story. Also humorous in some parts. I loved the whole Shanghai backdrop to the story. Should be made into a movie!! Will be beautiful to also watch this in action! Although Ive seen every sentence in action already!

Grab it, read it
Talei Loto
Jul 29, 2013 Talei Loto rated it it was ok
I could see the appeal of writing about this city and this particular story. It's all very real but something dragged... I could see Bill's viewpoint but it was frustrating to watch how he seemed to walk around half in one life and in another. And JinJin just annoyed the hell out of me. Becca, well I just hope they worked it out... Anyhow, a good read. If you've ever lived in China or Japan, Singapore... etc, you will probably just nod like I did and say, yeah... alright. And then move on.
May 28, 2012 Vicky rated it liked it
Somehow I expected much more from this book. I was very impressed by the description of modern China, by the honesty that the author talked of many ills and problems of the modern Chinese society. But the book became too sentimental and melodramatic to be taken seriously at the end. The man had an affair; he is torn between two women. We suppose to fill sorry for this good guy, but his turmoil and dramas did not sound very truthful. The book had to concentrate more on the complexity of new China ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Unwisely rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, book-club
Umm. So. This was...a book. Fiction, non-genre. And, well, stuff happened.

The background was the rapid industrialization of Shanghai and the choices it forced on people, and that was kind of cool, It's just .... things that probably really happen. No space, werewolves, or vampires, so, why?

Despite my utter meh about the entire plot/characters, it was *extremely* readable - I think I read it in 4 days, and I didn't particularly have to force myself to keep going. So that's nice.
Sep 12, 2012 Sammi rated it liked it
I don't know what words would best fit how I feel about this book, apart from 'messed up' and 'bittersweet'.

I both hated, and felt for the protaganist, Bill. And my heart ached both for Becca and Holly, and poor JinJin.

Ugh. The story was good, and well written but so.. Horrible and wonderful at the same time. It was sad.

I only gave this book 3 stars because even though I enjoyed reading it, it wasn't one I felt compelled to keep reading. Though I do keep wondering what happened in their lives a
Feb 21, 2016 Richa rated it it was amazing
This will probably be one of the best books I read this year (and for that, I'm lucky; this was a chance find at a book fair).
Everything about this story, from the descriptions of Shanghai, the realness of heartache and love and loss and death is made real by Parson's writing. I remember putting down the book several times because I just bad to marvel at his ability to make the reader care so much about the twist that his protagonist gets into.
This is beautiful, thought-provoking and will like
Sep 10, 2013 Nivi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Tony Parsons (born 6 November 1953) is a British journalist broadcaster and author. He began his career as a music journalist on the NME, writing about punk music. Later, he wrote for The Daily Telegraph, before going on to write his current column for the Daily Mirror. Parsons was for a time a regular guest on the BBC Two arts
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“Don't you see?" he said. "This could go on for another five years, another ten years, and then where would we be? You want to grow old waiting for something that's never going to happen? Is that what you want?” 2 likes
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