bookczuk's Reviews > The Wife's Tale

The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
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's review
Mar 12, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: read-for-review, bookcrossing, satisfying, moxie-review, firstreads-goodreads
Read from February 24 to March 06, 2010

This is a novel of transformation. It begins slowly and somewhat ponderously, but this suits, because Mary Gooch, the main character, is somewhat ponderous herself, weighing in at the morbidly obese end of the scale. (Morbidly obese is defined as 100% or more over ideal body weight. Think about it.) Yes, she's big, and yes, she knows it. She loves her husband, but food is her true lover. The love affair is both blatant and illicit. On the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary, her husband does not come home. This pierces even Mary's food-obsessed torpor. She manages to leave her hermit-like existence and goes out into the world (indeed to another country) in search of both her man and answers. Ultimately, she stumbles into self-awareness.

What I liked about this book was Mary's transformation, not so much physical, but in terms of how her mind and heart open and develop. Yes, she does change some habits and transforms physically (though, thank goodness, in a more realistic way than chick lit books, where the fat girl has her heart broken and melts away into a size 2). The more arduous, startling journey is the one that moves her from a stifled, shuttered mind, to one that is aware, alert and active. The small steps she takes add up, whether it's walking up a flight of stairs or discarding pop culture magazines to return to reading books.

The characters that are in the book with Mary were portrayed realistically, even the missing Gooch, who seems like a really nice guy, undergoing his own rediscovery and search. The book didn't end in a predictable, neatly wrapped bow, but still was totally believable. It is, however, true to the title. It tells the wife's tale.

It's funny, but my main qualm was the cover of the book, which is a beautiful photograph, but seemed to me, not part of the book. Yes, Mary makes it to the ocean, but even with her weight loss, during the book she's still a big gal. The toned legs of the woman on the cover don't seem to fit my mind's image. But it's beautiful and will probably sell books, so go for it.

Note: Received this via the Firstreads program on Goodreads and was quite excited as I had read about it in the BookCrossing forums and Newsletter. The author apparently mentions BookCrossing in the book. Yay!

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Reading Progress

03/03/2010 page 213
60.34% "Just passed the part where BookCrossing is mentioned!"

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Wendy The other covers are a bit more appropriate maybe.
The cover of the copy I have is different to any or the editions on here.

message 2: by Dana (new)

Dana Another book to add to the wishlist

bookczuk Wendy wrote: "The other covers are a bit more appropriate maybe.
The cover of the copy I have is different to any or the editions on here."

I like the one where there's a woman with her face lifted to the sky -- once you read the book you may think differently about that cupcake and Mary. :)

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