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The Spare Wife

2.56 of 5 stars 2.56  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Alex Witchel’s first novel, Me Times Three, was praised by Joan Didion as “an irresistible dissection of love in the city.” Now Witchel returns with a sophisticated, witty, sexy story that exposes the world of upper-class New Yorkers and the media that perpetuate their myth.

Ponce Morris is a beautiful, rich widow who’s been dubbed “the spare wife” because she’s the perfect
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ebook, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Amy
This book was a pointless waste of time. I read it in less than an afternoon and I was looking for something semi-mindless after my previous book. It was a stupid cliched story of a poor farm girl comes to NYC to become a model, marries up Anna Nicole Smith style, divorces, starts an affair with a friend's husband, gets caught by another young wannabe who marries up Anna Nicole Smith style and it doesn't even matter. Just don't read it. It wasn't even a fun pointless read. It was just pointless. ...more
Lauren
A more upscale answer to Plum Sykes? These books are beginning to blur in my mind: Elements of Style, Bergdorf Blondes, The Good Life. Infidelity, gross wealth, obscene apartments, rapacious, scheming editorial assistants(!!), slimy husbands, sad sober women who don't like sex, but desperately want children, hot doctors that are too good to be true.

Yeah, onward and onward. I can't believe I read this, but a number of people whose names I will withhold have asked for this book so I figured I'd r
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Deb
Started off a little slow, but picked up after awhile. Yes, at first it was hard to keep track of all the characters and what their relation was to each other. And yes, it is extremely lightweight and some scenes didn't seem like they were fully developed, but I wasn't expecting this to read like Jane Austen or Henry James. I wanted something that was a summer read, and this fit the bill for a summer chick lit getaway.
Mary
I listened to this on audiobook. It got two stars because the narrator was very good. The story itself was complete fluff and I was never really invested in any of the characters. Very predictable in many ways. This work would not inspire me to read anything else by this author.
Lisa Ahronian
Another book about people with tons of money and too much time on their hands.
Leighanne
Light, chick lit. But I found myself wanting to read it in one sitting.
Laura Christoffersen
Dumb book. I wouldn't waste my time.
Jennifer
I grabbed this book at our Annual Book Sale, and the only reason why I read it was because it was small enough to fit in my purse for my airport jaunts. Basically, this book is mindless and pointless. In the fashion of Plum Skyes or Bergdorf Blondes (both terrible) this book is about New York socialites and their meaningless circles and deceptions. The book begins with a dinner party which sets up the plethora of characters. One thing I couldn't stand about this book was that the first chapter's ...more
Liz
I finished this book on a couple of flights. If I had some other better thing to read that I hadn't already read, I would totally have skipped The Spare Wife, though. I agree with other reviews that the characters weren't well developed. I abhor the main character's name, Ponce, and I never grew to like her or any other character, including Shawsie. There are a lot of characters introduced in the first scene, and it is difficult to keep them all straight. There are a lot of scenes, too, that don ...more
S
A book I borrowed because sometimes, a girl just wants a light, fluffy read while she is excercising on her stationary bike and this is exactly that.

The book is about Ponce Morris, an upper East side NYC divorcee, socialite who is rich, thin and very plugged into the social scene. She is a socially upright and admired woman who has no skeletons in her closet... Or, so all think until an ambitious, social climbing journalist, finds out that Ponce is having a tordid affair with a very married, we
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Sheryl
Well written, engaging, and not your run of the mill story line. I want to read more by Alex!
William
Feb 22, 2008 William rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to William by: The New York Times
I found this book tedious - Barbara Walter's review on the back should have been my tip-off.

The characters were empty and dated (rollerblading? Paris Hilton?), and more importantly, they were never developed. Consequently, the action was always confusing. I found myself reading and re-reading pages trying to understand the motivation of a given character in a given scene.

On a scale of hip (Diablo Cody 10) to non-hip (Barbara Walters 0) this book ranks about a two.
Barry Bridges
Every once in a while I step in to a muddy pond, but this turned out to be a half-empty pan of expensive bottled water left over from rinsing the feet after walking through Saks in Wal-Mart shoes. I can usually track characters pretty well, but this one kept making me stop and try to remember exactly who had cheated on whom and with what circumstance. Mindless read? Nope. Disappointing even for mindless.
Joyce
Feb 21, 2008 Joyce rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women who lunch
Recommended to Joyce by: browsing the library
Pure unadulterated chic lit. Incredibly wealthy women living on the upper East side in Manhattan, their trials and tribulations (affairs, unfaithful spouses and the like) and, of course, the "sweet young thing" who aspires to be just like them and the problems she causes. Fun reading for a long plane ride or trip to the beach!
Donette
This book is extracted strait from the uppity yuppities (my word invention). It was hard to relate for me and impossible to keep all of the names strait especially when they are Vanderbuilt and snooty MacSnootyvillefordwhite, whatever. Anyway I cared so little, I almost passed out
Christina
This book took forever to get into. There are way too many characters introduced in the first chapter and I still didn't quite know who they were by the end of the book. I never felt connected to any of the characters. It was a fair read. Wouldn't recommend unless you are really bored.
Deane
Why did I bother to finish this book? I guess because once I start one, I think I must finish it. The characters were not believable; their morals? they had none; no depth to the plot. With so many good books out there, I must learn to guard my reading time.
Jane
I haven't read any of Alex Witchel's books before but found this an interesting story. I didn't necessarily like Ponce Morris but I am not sure you were supposed to. I did like the way that things ended for Neil Grossman, although I don't think he did!
Sarah
Manhattan society tale involving former model turned lawyer, New Yorker type writers, and wealthy older men. Not as good as I would expect from a New York Times magazine journalist--bland, predictable characters and plot but still an amusing read.
Kijuana
Fun, like a viewing of TMZ...entertaining to read about the rich and famous (fictional people, of course) in New York City. I like the overall message that cheaters never win in the end and that embracing our flawed friends is the right thing to do.
Dougtammy
A soap opera book which I could not keep track of who was who at the beginning. They all end up sleeping with each other, or so it seems at some point. And if a book is going to be that way I want the steamy sections to be steamy. They were not.
Stephanie
Like the Post's Page Six Witchel derides -- full of marginal writing describing obscenely rich people you really don't care about... and yet, you keep reading it. Great for the beach -- but when you get home, you'll feel guilty that you finished it.
Sasha Strader
Jun 16, 2010 Sasha Strader rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cathy, Brittany
Shelves: chick-lit
The back of this book is actually a pretty good summary (for once) without giving away any crucial surprises. I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the amusement of their solutions (although I found them rather unlikely).
Jennifer
May 20, 2008 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: The New York Times
Should go under the heading of high end trash--a fun, unmemorable, guilty pleasure of a read that you can devour in one sitting at the beach or, as in my case, on jury duty, and then will probably forget as soon as you put it down.
Janet
May 17, 2009 Janet is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Totally mindless stupid book, but you know me, the word "wife" in the title ensures I will read it. Why am I on this particular trip of reading wife books? If the answer is too scary, don't tell me. Anyway, skip this one.
Anita
A disappointing book. The best that can be said is it is an easy read. Fine for a day at the beach or trip to the spa. The storyline and characters lack authenticity and do not connect with the reader.
Lisa Cruz
I felt there was a disconnect of the characters' relationships to one another. As if the author had some things in mind about how they all related to one another but didn't share that with the reader.
Heidi
I couldn't get passed the first 10 pages. There are too many books out there that I want to read to go through a book about a divorced woman that lost her wealthy husband and thus her expensive lifestyle.
Sharon
I really like the character development and I enjoy the look into their wealthy, twisted world. It kind of reminds me of "Elements of Style" by Wendy Wasserstein and it's fun to read.
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Alex Witchel is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and also writes "Feed Me," a monthly column for the Times Dining section. The author of the novels The Spare Wife and Me Times Three, she lives in New York City with her husband, Frank Rich.
More about Alex Witchel...
Me Times Three All Gone Girls Only Io per tre

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“The older I get, the more I see there are these crevices in life where things fall in and you just can't reach them to pull them back out. So you can sit next to them and weep or you can get up and move forward. You have to stop worrying about who's not here and start worrying about who is.” 114 likes
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