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The First Wives Club

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  18,676 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
Don't get mad. Get everything.

When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband's career. But now that the men are successful, they've traded in their wives for newer, blonder models.

Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chan
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 18th 1993 by Arrow (first published 1992)
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Don't get mad. Get everything.

When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband's career. But now that the men are successful, they've traded in their wives for newer, blonder models.

Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chanel. Painstakingly, inexorably, they plan the downfall of the men who've wrecked their lives - and know that revenge has never
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trigger warnings: Donald Trump. Also suicide and racism and misogyny, all of which go hand in hand with that first one...

I tried really hard to love this one, because I know that my dear friend Wendy loves it. Buuuuuuut reading this in 2017 is a lot like reading a 470 page book about Donald Trump. Because seriously. Every single one of the male characters in this book is basically Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is name dropped multiple times. All the male characters basically aspire to be Donald Tru
April Hamilton
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of the grandmothers of the chick lit genre. Funny, if a bit mean-spirited at times, though it's hard *not* to empathize with the long-suffering first wives who are tossed aside like yesterday's leftovers when their husbands decide it's time to bag trophy wives. The story of how they work together to wreak vengeance on those cads, and improve their own futures and that of their community at the same time, is an entertaining read.
Isabella Banner
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought this book was well...unfortunate. I was interested in reading the books because I had seen the movie first and loved it! But I was very disappointed in the books. I thought the transitions from character to character were a bit rough, the plot was ALL over the place, the characters were either overly developed to the point that we were still learning things about them up until the very last chapter of the series or they were underdeveloped to the point that made me wonder why the autho ...more
Stephanie Moran
Jul 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2016, movie-better
I decided to read this book because it has a movie connection and I wanted to watch the movie again as I didn't really remember it...
This has to be one of the most annoying books I have ever read! I wish kept a tally of how many times I rolled my eyes or said aloud, "I hate this book."
This book is about a bunch of self-absorbed divorcees that come together after a friend of theirs, whom it seems they pretty much ignored or shunned, commits suicide. The seek revenge on their snobby husbands, who
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A sublimely satisfying read! If you've only seen the film, you owe it to yourself to read the book! While the film was a terrific screwball comedy, the book goes so much deeper. Not only are there belly laughs-a-plenty, but Goldsmith's novel has its touching moments, its scathing moments, its moments of satisfying and poetic justice!

The book is a completely different experience than the film. If you enjoyed the film - or even if you didn't - pick up the novel and give it a try. I will avoid spoi
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hace poco más de un año, en una feria del libro de Albacete, me tropecé con el texto en el que se basa una de mis películas favoritas de los 90': El club de las primeras esposas, aunque quizás sea un poco injusta esta apreciación, ya que mis películas favoritas de esta década se pueden contar por decenas. Se trata de una edición del Círculo de lectores, en cartoné, con la sobrecubierta de papel verjurado en casi perfecto estado de conservación y a un precio que podría catalogarse de ridículo. No ...more
Lydia Hale
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually read books quicker than this, however, I started an online course in early September, and wasn't able to read as often as I usually do. The length of my reading this book is not an indication of how much I liked it.
The book is about 3 divorced women, who decide to get back at their ex-spouses.
I loved how the main characters - Elise, Annie and Brenda - are portrayed; how their characters grow in character and strength throughout the book, overcoming personal challenges (eg. Elise with d
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I've always been mad at what that stupid movie did to this awesome book. The movie made these characters into idiots, when in the book they were smart, strong women. But hey, isn't that what life in our society likes to do to strong, intelligent women - try to take their power from them by turning them into charicatures - if you're ambitious, you're a witch, if you're angry you're just being emotional.... UGH

It's really a great read.
Dec 01, 2008 added it
Shelves: pre-2000
I liked this book because the premise was that men underestimated their wives and their wives showed them that one should never underestimate anyone. I liked the attitude that the first wives take. It has a bit of man-hating in it, which I don't agree with.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not the best written book, but I enjoyed the characters and the storyline.
Most readers would be familiar with the film of the same name starring Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler, but the novel delivers a more complex portrait of these characters and their realities. Discarded for younger women after years of supporting their husbands’ careers and reeling from a mutual friend’s suicide, three women collaborate to plan their revenge. This is the empowering story that we don’t often hear about the aftermath of mid-life crisis divorces and first wives deciding ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
entertaining story, just not sure why I had to read every two pages about Brenda being fat. I got it.
Jessica Workman Holland (Tales Between the Pages)
Read the full review at Tales Between the Pages

This book surprised me. I came into it having watched the movie, which was very light hearted. The first half of the book was quite a bit deeper than I expected. There were moments of beauty and heartache and despair. Annie's story resonated with me more than any of the other women, which surprised me. Her emotions felt the most real to me. Her husband was the most despicable out of all of them (even the megalomanic/woman beater). Annie's husband on
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, chicklit
Cosa succede quando un gruppo di amiche si rende conto di essere state usate, scartate e gettate dai loro ex mariti? Nella vita normale, le donne in questione si sfogherebbero parlandosi, mangiando e uscendo insieme.
Nel mondo di Olivia Goldsmith le cose sono un po’ diverse.
Tutto inizia con il suicidio di Cinzia, che prima di togliersi la vita spedisce una lettera alla sua cara amica Annie, che però non ha visto per lungo tempo. In questa lettera, Cinzia racconta i continui soprusi subiti in sil
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those in the Mood For a Bit of Male-Bashing and Girl Power
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
If you've seen the film based on this, well, this is quite different in a lot of the details, and is much raunchier, darker, crueler, meaner and more vindictive. It's a breezy fast easy read despite its thick length, but although light in that sense, I'd hardly call it fluffy.

The novel follows three women: Elise Eliot Atchison, Annie MacDuggan Paradise and Brenda Morrelli Cushman are seemingly very different people. Elise, born to a WASPy rich, high society family, was a glamorous movie star in
Eletta0925 Fouche
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing like the movie, which was more of a woman's empowerment theme. The book is empowering but much more. It is a page turner too. I am surprised that they made some of the changes that they had in the movie from the book. Brenda realizes she is a lesbian, Chris is Annie's middle son, and Elise is a former movie star (not still acting, like in the movie)
In the movie they don't get back at Cynthia's ex Gil. And the implication is she's a drunk. But her death is much more sinister in the book.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Goldsmith’s characters are lacking in depth and maturity. The plot is over simplistic and a bit emotionally manipulative. You HAVE to root for the first wives because their exes are presented as truly horrible people. Don’t believe me? A greedy sadist, a narcissist attracted to YOUNG girls, a selfish man who illegally breaks a financial trust for his disabled daughter, and a ‘self-made’ millionaire who bamboozled his first wife out of a decent divorce settlement. The first wives are portrayed as ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Don't get mad. Get everything. When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband's career. But now that the men are successful, they've traded in their wives for newer, blonder models. Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chanel, Painstakingly, inexorably, they plan the downfall of the men who've wrecked their lives - and know that revenge
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing. Engrossing. Definitely not like the movie - which appears to have been only loosely based on this book. The blurb on the front says it's 'hilarious' - it's not. It had some ironic bits and some humor - kind of like life. But it was harsh and hard in places, too - again, like life. The cover also says something about 'couldn't put it down'. That's something I can agree with. As long as this book is, I inhaled it. Don't start it if you have other things to do in your life. Take a weeke ...more
Jordon Hensley
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I love the movie, this book is really transcendent. Annie, Brenda, and Elise jump off the page as feminist icons. There is something so much more female about the characters in the book verses the characters in the movie. You really feel they are out to help themselves rather than just act as a response to the men (although that's obviously a part of it.) All three women end up finding something in themselves that they didn't have before and it just made my heart and soul soar. Defini ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book before the movie came out. I think if I had seen the movie first, I would have never read the book. The movie was horrible! This book is way more interesting. The characters had much more emotion & substance. Don't get me wrong... this is not going to be a literary classic, but in the book you get to see them much more vindictive, angry, sad, and hurt; and the revenge that they achieve is much more fun (and cruel) than the movie allowed you to see. Again... if you're looking ...more
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: done
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were engaging and showed considerable growth throughout. Caution--if you have seen the movie, the book is very different. They emphasized the comedic aspects of the book and softened the characters considerably. While the book does have some comedy in it, it was much darker than anything in the movie. Loved the revenge aspect--it was totally appropriate.
this is the perfect book to read by the pool when you are in florida with your lady friends.
also i like revenge stories.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was an interesting read with a new take on revenge. I laughed and felt myself get angry at times. The book is very different from the movie, with only the basic idea and main character traits remaining the same. I enjoyed the book, but it had slow periods of unnecessary details. This is not a book I can see myself reading again. Once was enough.
kriszeth sthemphick
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
i confess that what made me take up this book was the feeling i loved the movie when i was like 12, i think, though i didn't remember the plot at all anymore.

i loved how these women grew and bloomed over adversity and despair to become strong and independent and realized, and how you can always begin again, and reach a better place.
Heather Sabian
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was dark, funny and nothing like the fluffy movie that was inspired by it. Three very different women brought together by by being left by their husbands. These women are strong despite appearances. my favorite this about the story was each women was allowed to be herself and in the end all of her apparent weakness were actually strengths.
Lisa James
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stellar! I'd seen the movie & laughed my ass off, because it was indeed funny as hell, & with the cast in it, how could it NOT be? However, the book was SO much better! In turns I was sad, as well as laughed out loud! It's a light read, a great "summer read", & you cannot help but admire these ladies, especially if you are a woman of a certain age, like I am!
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! It is so much more than just getting even, these women find themselves and happiness after divorce. They do get justice though, and oh is it sweet.
I was completely engrossed in this book and I wish there was more. I am definitely going to read other books by this author.
This book is highly recommended to anyone and everyone! :)
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Skip it and see the movie instead! 2 23 Apr 15, 2014 02:05PM  
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Olivia Goldsmith (January 1, 1949 - January 15, 2004) was an American author, best known for her first novel The First Wives Club (1992), which was adapted into the movie The First Wives Club (1996).

She was born Randy Goldfield in Dumont, New Jersey, but changed her name to Justine Goldfield and later to Justine Rendal. She took up writing following a divorce in which she said her husband got almo
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