The Senator's Wife
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The Senator's Wife

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  7,132 ratings  ·  1,194 reviews
Once again Sue Miller takes us deep into the private lives of women with this mesmerizing portrait of two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love.
Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation. Delia Naught...more
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Published January 8th 2008 by Books on Tape (first published 2008)
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The first word that comes to mind is 'uncomfortable.' This might have to do with reading it on the absolute most hellish plane ride ever, but it also had to do with the general content. This book was one of those - wow it would be so good if she would just x,y,z and the rest of the alphabet ...
The plot was set up well enough - couple moves next to aging woman who has been 'the senators wife' for ages, in that she has watched her senator husband cheat on her repeatedly and stuggled with standing...more
Sue Miller honestly drives me crazy. I love her writing, it's very personal and raw. This is the third book I have read of hers, and while the books have all kept my interests, their endings either leave me unfullfilled, or freak me out. The Senator's Wife falls into the latter category. I didn't really know what to think of this book. What was it trying to say? You have poor dedicated Delia, stuck in this love trap with her philandering husband. You have Meri-who I just couldn't figure out. Who...more
Life Doesn't Change in its Fundamentals"

I've read enough work by Sue Miller to say with complete confidence that she's a brilliant writer, and a master at character development. The Senator's Wife is a gray tale of two couples, neighbors sharing an east coast duplex in an upscale neighborhood. In the story, Miller brings in the focus so tightly, that it feels a little voyeuristic prying into the everyday thoughts, feelings and actions of these characters. Said characters are ordinary, but at the...more
Alex Templeton
Oh, literary women's fiction. So much of you feels so much the same. You drip with relationship drama and way overly descriptive language. The way someone peels an orange and then sits on a chair and feels the wood beneath her and smells the air and etc etc etc does not tell me much about her character. But I tend to devour you anyway, you literary comfort food, you. You are a cup of tea in bed on a cold day, or maybe those Oreos I treat myself to after a healthier dinner.
Joy H.
Re: _The Senator's Wife_ by Sue Miller

CAUTION: I think it's best not to know too much about this story before you read it. So beware of reading the reviews until after you've read the book. With that in mind, I've tried not to over-tell anything about the story in my review below. Instead I've given my over-all impressions of the story and the writing as a whole.

I wouldn't call this book compelling, but for some strange reason I wanted to keep reading it. I usually don't like books which describ...more
After finishing this book, I realized I didn't really like any of the characters. At first Delia, the senator's wife, seems to be an interesting person. She appears to be a graciously realistic, secure older woman. As the book progresses, she becomes less so. Cracks appear in her seemingly flawless presentation, and in the end, she crumbles.

Meri never seems to have it all together. She is more real with her doubts and insecurities, but after what happens in the end, it's hard to like her. She i...more
I've had the same experience with both of the Sue Miller books I've read... this one and While I Was Gone. It starts out great, and I really do like Miller's handling of language, and then it all just goes wrong.

Another reviewer put it best... "uncomfortable". That's where these books take you -- to an uncomfortable place. And not the kind of uncomfortable where you think, "Oh, this is good for me, I need to learn something." No. It's just wrong somehow.

In both cases I've ended up completely d...more
I'm not totally sure why Sue Miller doesn't get the credit she deserves. Or maybe she does and I'm unaware of it? I feel like she gets classed in that genre of books that includes Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher and Jodi Picoult. Snob that I am, I've never actually read any of these authors. They are published as mass market paperbacks and their covers always involve a lot of pastel and flowers and seem destined for airport bookstores. (There is, of course, a related genre that is directed at...more
The senator's wife, Delia, is faithful to a fault. After her adultrous husband has embarrassed and humilated her numerous times, she still lives in a la-la, fairy tale land of denial. Delia is delusional in thinking that by running away to Paris for a few months, it puts everything into perspective. Add to that, the fact that she is a raging alcoholic. Her three kids, in varying degrees of disgust, offer some advice to Delia, which she categorically ignores. Meri and Nathan, Delia's next door ne...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I enjoyed the overlapping stories of two women addressing conventional problems in their own ways; their lives are at the heart of this novel. Delia and Meri, through whose voices the story is told, are complex and believable characters who face external marital and familial issues while also dealing with questions of their own identities--how much of themselves is defined by the people in their lives, and what do they determine about themselves? The quirky relationship between the two women is...more
Jun 17, 2008 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women
Recommended to Jenny by: A lady in the library
Disregard all my other 5 stars for this one. It was amazing. If you are a woman, read it! It was my first Sue Miller book and she is a very talented writer. I felt that the characters were very real. It was an extremely peaceful read and sometimes when something catastrophic is about to happen, an author will go into ridiculous detail right before it happens (ever notice that?) And a couple times she goes into extreme detail and you find yourself holding your breath and then you slowly let it ou...more
I always like Miller's writing style and this was book was no exception to that. Also, I've always liked her perspective on the minds of women who are disinterested in traditional women's roles/expectations.

In terms of the story, though, several parts of it were left unresolved, in my mind at least. For example, Meri struggles with the above throughout the story, but by the end is enjoying domestic bliss and is seemingly a different person---how or why this transition took place isn't clear to m...more
Sep 19, 2013 Debby rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: maybe soap opera junkies?
My initial reaction to this book when I finished it was VERY negative! The final line in the book is something close to "What she did, she did for love." Are you kidding me? That's CRAP!!!!! That's like saying Judas' berayal of Jesus was done in love.

I admit I am having an emotional (over)reaction to this book. Yes there are triggers in this book that hit home for me. Maybe in a while I "might" come back and at least give this a 3 star rating b/c this story definitely pushed buttons and probabl...more
Apologies for stating this bluntly, but this was a dumb book. None of the characters were likable at any point, and while that shouldn't be the basis for my opinion, they didn't even become slightly more likable as the book progressed. The two women in the book are just plain stupid and the senator is a caricature of a slimy politician who becomes more and more repulsive. Dumb.
You know you have run into trouble when you finish a 320 page book and it only takes you two sentences to summarize the plot. The-Whole-Entire-Blooming-Thing. For those who don’t have the time to read this book, here is the Sparksnote version:

“…Inexplicably devout wife of philandering former senator learns that a massive stroke will not prevent a playa from remaining a playa. Meanwhile, next door, an ordinary couple in their mid-30s, awaiting the birth of their first baby, bore each other to the...more
I’ve read a string of two-star books lately…I’m starting to wonder if it’s me. Like the previous ones, the writing in this story is strong but the story did not capture my attention at all. This is about two neighbors, a young(er) married woman and the eponymous Senator’s Wife. The story started out very, very slow. Granted, if you’re reading Sue Miller you can’t exactly expect high stakes action. It’s interesting because the cover copy says “soon Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely...more
Ok, let's just skip to the parts that take this book from 3 stars to one.

1) It drove me CRAZY to hear about how Tom cheated on Delia over and over and over and she always accepted him back into her life (and bed). He had a long-term affair with their daughter's friend! Gross! Delia's character was portrayed as so wise, worldly, and independent, so why on earth would someone like that allow themselves to be used like a doormat?

2) The graphic pregnancy and labor scenes. As if I wasn't h...more
I think the book cover for The Senator's Wife says it all - boring and unimaginative. Miller's latest tells the story about Delia, the wife of a former Washington senator, who hasn't lived with her philandering husband for decades. But, it is also the story of Meri, a newly married 38-year old who is pregnant with her first child. Meri and her husband Nathan move in next door to Delia, and Delia and Meri strike up a seeming friendship. My initial difficulty with the characters is that Meri is wr...more
Karen A.
Jul 19, 2008 Karen A. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my girlfriends
Shelves: general-fiction
I enjoyed this book immensely. It is a dually narrated story that goes back and forth between the two lives of Delia and Meri. Delia is an older woman who is the wife of the well known Senator Naughton. She lives alone on one side of an old New England duplex. Meri and her husband, a professor at the local College, move into the other side of the duplex. Meri is instantly intrigued by Delia and wonders as does the reader where her husband resides if not with his wife. Both women's stories unfold...more
Sarah Pace
Sue Miller dives deep into the personal lives of two women - neighbors is all they are -- to reveal a whole world of surprising parallels, needs, and desires that allows the reader (but not always the characters themselves) to appreciate that each woman's thoughts and experiences align with, overlap, and even sometimes threaten the other's. The book is also a portrait of two marriages, and it does a nice job of capturing the difficulties inherent in making peace with a situation that is, in some...more
After finishing this book, I realized I didn't really like any of the characters. I hated the author's choice in the end. In an attempt not to give away secrets, I'll say only that the final plot point is not entirely outlandish in terms of the storyline, but it nonetheless left me feeling tricked and that the some of the book's messages were suddenly and sharply undone.But I still think it was cheap, and I hated it.
Mamasoo Reichert
Jun 16, 2008 Mamasoo Reichert rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Probably no one
Recommended to Mamasoo by: Saw it in the Library
A book appropos of the political times- politicians cheating on their wives, destorying families and their careers. If more of these women left their cheating husbands and made examples of them, maybe the next philanderer would learn. My frustration grew with Delia. I don't understand the "stand by your man" attitude.

And please don't get me started on Meri.

This is the first book I've read of Sue Miller's. Are all her characters this shallow, whiney and self-absorbed? Let me know...I have The Go...more
I got into this book from the first page. I was mesmerized by the senator's wife as much as the character of Meri was. I wanted to talk to her, invite her for white wine in the back yard overlooking some beautiful purple flowers. I wanted to stare at her beautiful features and wonder at her secrets. I don't know if I would have invaded her privacy as Meri did. I hated Meri for doing that but I was thrilled to be privy to the deeply emotional love affair between the senator's wife and the senator...more
Donna Barnes
I picked up this book when my book club decided to read books with the word "wife" in the title, and this was the last one I read for that project -- actually, Blair Brown read the audio book to me, and that's one of the reasons I picked it up ---- I am a fan of Blair Brown. Anyway, this book followed two women and different times of the lives: one is Delia, the senator's wife, who is in her 60s and who has discovered her husband, a senator, was sleeping with her daughter's roommate. The other w...more
Mar 18, 2008 Kim rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
melanie (lit*chick)
This is one of those books that I need to talk about with someone to figure out exactly what I think. I am surprised by how much I liked it, even though I really disliked one of the main characters. Even more so by the end.
It's the story of a newly married couple that move in next door to the wife of a former senator. The story of their relationship and the senator's wife unfold through alternating chapters.
Robert Palmer
It is 1993 , Meri and her husband Nathan are looking at a house that Nathan really wants to buy in that it is next to the home of Senator, Tom Naughton,which is the only reason Nathan wants to buy it,Nathan has just a got a good job at a good collage in Williston in a department that will put him on the fast track to tenure. While Nathan and the real estate agent are looking through the house ,Meri stay's outside on the porch to smoke one of the four cigarettes she has per day.while sitting on t...more
Lady Di
I just finished The Senator's wife. I enjoyed the first of the book more than the end. I started skimming to get through it. I guess I just really can't sympathize with the whole affair thing. The neighbor in the book has a baby and calls it an alien. Not a good mother. Not very uplifting.
Overall, this book was okay. I felt that the ending was not realistic. However, one thing that did strike a chord with me was a passage talking about how a mother gets through her day ~ meal to meal and I really related to that. I know that is a random thing to pick out but so be it!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sue Miller (born November 29, 1943 in Chicago) is an American writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. Her duties as a single mother left her with little time to write for many years, and as a result she did not publish her first novel until 1986, after spend...more
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While I Was Gone The Good Mother Family Pictures World Below The Lake Shore Limited

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“Do you remember when everyone thought Bush (sr) had a mistress too"" he asks in the course of a Clinton era conversation. "But she was rumored to be someone wealthy and Waspy, of course...The problem here is the goddamn Democrats, who sleep down, you see. They love that white trash...And white trash loves publicity,so the Democrats are the ones who get into all the trouble. As opposed to the Republicans. They sleep up...Up, where all is Episcopalian and quiet as death itself, and no one ever has to hear a thing about it” 1 likes
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