Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Spare Wife” as Want to Read:
The Spare Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Spare Wife

2.58  ·  Rating Details ·  406 Ratings  ·  75 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
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Spare Wife, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Spare Wife

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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.
Mar 27, 2008 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 05, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2010 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 19, 2010 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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.
Light, chick lit. But I found myself wanting to read it in one sitting.
Lisa Ahronian
Another book about people with tons of money and too much time on their hands.
May 16, 2009 Peggy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Laura Christoffersen
Dumb book. I wouldn't waste my time.
P Bright
Jul 01, 2017 P Bright rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have a problem with the basics of this book. The heroine is a serial adulterer and the antagonist is the young idiot who decides to write an article about her uncovering her affair with a married man. They are both small and despicable so................who cares? It was supposed to portray the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous of Manhattan. It should have been written ironically mocking the whole ridiculous social structure. Now that might have been fun!
Kelly Parker
Never a good thing when you find yourself reading just so you can get to the end and start a new book.
Mar 08, 2011 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 06, 2009 S rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 22, 2008 William rated it did not like it  ·  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.
Feb 21, 2008 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  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!
Mar 23, 2015 Carolynne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Review of AUDIOBOOK. Within a few minutes of listening to this book I was having difficulty following the narrative. Don't know if the reader was poor, or if the author was just cramming too many ideas into a sentence. At any rate, it was too much rambling, (fictional) namedropping, and cattiness to follow while driving a car.
Feb 11, 2008 Anita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
May 03, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Mar 24, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, june
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.
Dec 27, 2011 Donette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2013 Deane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
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.
Jul 22, 2008 Kijuana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Despite what other reviewers have said, this book isn't terrible. It's just inhabited by terrible people created in glowing color by the author and is reminiscent of other better books set in New York society. Worth listening to in the car but not much more.
Feb 25, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  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.
LInda L
A sexy story of rich New Yorkers and the things people will do to "get ahead". There are many less-than-sterling characters in this book, but some really good ones as well. AND most people get what they deserve. I enjoyed it.
Sasha Strader
Jun 14, 2010 Sasha Strader rated it really liked it  ·  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).
Feb 17, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ny-times-review
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • We Are All Fine Here
  • The Recruiting Officer
  • Plan C: Just in Case
  • The Innocents Club
  • Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes
  • The Perfect Manhattan
  • Surfing Through Hyperspace: Understanding Higher Universes in Six Easy Lessons
  • The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5)
  • EarthRise (Sauron, #2)
  • Limestone Gumption (Brad Pope and Sisterfriends Mystery #1)
  • High Before Homeroom
  • The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb (Berger and Mitry, #10)
  • The Truth About Dating
  • Looking on Darkness
  • Looking for Mr. Goodfrog
  • Here Was a Man
  • Bought
  • The Strangling on the Stage (Fethering, #15)
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 124 likes
More quotes…