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The Wife

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  9,898 Ratings  ·  1,289 Reviews

"The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage." So opens Meg Wolitzer's compelling and provocative novel The Wife, as Joan Castleman sits beside her husband on their flight to Helsinki. Joan's husband, Joseph C
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Scribner (first published March 25th 2003)
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Aliki Barnstone
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some reviewers have said they find the wife's motivations unbelievable. They must be younger people, who didn't experience the transformation that feminism brought about for women writers. I'm both glad and concerned that they can take for granted the opportunities that have opened up for women. This book captures exactly the bind women have been in for most of history; in this case Joan Castleman comes of age in the '50s. The book is wonderfully written, engaging, historically accurate, and man ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. The only two drawbacks are that she used some strong profanity in parts and that from the beginning you can figure out the ending. However, the following passage makes up for it (I read it to my husband) "Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to Stop and Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Ao longo de mais de duzentas páginas, ficamos a conhecer as razões que levam uma mulher, aparentemente feliz, a virar as costas ao seu casamento de várias décadas com um renomado escritor, nas vésperas de ele receber um notável prémio literário na Finlândia.
As últimas páginas reservam ao leitor uma reviravolta que não antecipei, uma razão extra ocultada, que justifica muitos dos comportamentos invulgares que alguns dos outros personagens apresentavam.
Um livro feminista, que aborda o papel das m
Patricia Williams
This book was good and interesting but to me, not great. I enjoyed the read and had this book on my "want to read list" for a while but when I saw that it was being made into a movie with Glen Close as the star, I moved it up on my list. I think Glen Close will be perfect in this role. This was a story about a husband and wife where the husband was a famous author. The reviews of the book says it had a shocking ending but I had already figure it out because I've read so much about Zelda and Scot ...more
Nicole Bonia
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
“The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility.”

Joan Castleman is on an airplane accompanying her husband, writer Joseph Castleman, to Helsinki, Finland where he is being honored with the Helsinki Prize in Literature, one step down from the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he knows that he will not get. Over the next four days, Joan revisits their courtship a
♥ Sandi ❣
3.75 stars

Having never read Meg Wolitzer before I was pleasantly surprised. Her mastery of characters is rich and fulfilling. This story, based mostly on two people, progresses slowly in the beginning, like trying to climb a smooth boulder, then turns into something far more subtle and powerful. This novel covers over forty years of a marriage - one, you may say was one-sided. But after a series of disclosures, the novel ends with it's own unique surprise, buoyed by a profound balancing act, mak
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-misc
3 stars - It was good.

What an odd, despondent little book. This was the first book I have read by Wolitzer and I was struck by her unique writing style - very candid and frank, yet at the same time ornate and flowery. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but it is the best way I can describe it. Her distinctive writing style is enough to make me want to pick up another book by her. This particular story, however, became slow somewhere on the back 1/2, and the big "reveal" at the ending was obvious t
Melissa Crytzer Fry
***UPDATE: I saw the movie on Monday and loved it. Thought it was so interesting to see the decisions made by the screen writers regarding what themes to beef up, which aspects of the characters' personalities to highlight or to soften. And even some of the bigger details were changed completely. Glenn Close deserves the accolades she is getting for this performance.***

I picked this book for our book club, as I thought it would be so much fun to have a corresponding “go to the movies night” to c
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
I'm in love with this author's writing. I can't wait to read more of her work. The writing deserves 5 stars. I didn't love where the story went at the end though, so I'm going with 4 stars. Instead of going into the plot, I'm going to leave a quote that says so much about this story.

"Joe once told me he felt a little sorry for women, who only got husbands. Husbands tried to help by giving answers, being logical, stubbornly applying force as though it were a glue gun. Or else they didn't try to h
I'm sick of the lovelorn and unrequited: give me a woman who can't stand her husband, oddly enough, brought to my attention many years ago by my father, who always knows a a good author when he reads one, despite his congenital misogyny.

I'm in love so far, complete love, like a Philip Roth novel if Philip Roth weren't so flawed and frustrating. Bad analogy perhaps but she has the same comfort with describing male0-female interactions, a biting sense of humor, a lack of shame regarding human wea
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fantastic. I love the unique perspective of the protagonist: an introspective and talented woman who grew up in the 50s who spends her life married to a famous novelist who is really nothing more than a big kid. She makes a decision that historically stymes feminists, but this book gives her perspective in a fresh and convincing new way.

She's got fresh, beautiful ways of looking at things that are so perfect and sharp and spot-on that it leaves you wondering why you hadn't come to t
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Podia ter gostado muito deste livro, mas acabou por deixar-me um pouco desiludida. Todas as preocupações feministas que estão por detrás do enredo (e muito interessantes) ficam prejudicadas por uma construção algo deficiente e previsível. Ainda assim, vale a pena ler, sobretudo a primeira metade, por aquilo que tenta trazer à discussão.
Meg Wolitzer tornou-se conhecida dos leitores portugueses depois da publicação de Os Interessantes (Teorema | 2014), ainda que este não tenha sido o primeiro livro da autora a sair por cá; na verdade, A Mulher, agora publicado igualmente pela Teorema, já tinha conhecido uma edição portuguesa em 2009, pela editora Caleidoscópio.

A Mulher é narrado na primeira pessoa por Joan Castleman, uma sexagenária casada com o famoso escritor Joe Castleman. No início da narrativa, encontramo-los num avião rum
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich habe mir "Die Ehefrau" als eAudio von der Bücherei ausgeliehen, weil mir "The Interestings" von Wolitzer schon sehr gut gefallen hatte. "Die Ehefrau" ist die Geschichte der Ehe von Joe und Joan Castleman, die allmählich zu Ende geht.

Das Buch war ganz interessant, aber für mich nicht fesselnd genug - hätte man mich nach der Hälfte gezwungen, das Buch abzubrechen, hätte mich das wahrscheinlich kurz geärgert, mich aber auch nicht groß aufgeregt. Die Geschichte plätscherte irgendwie so dahin, d
This book was interesting, and I can see it being good as a movie (hopefully). I definitely had a disguest for Joe throughout the entire book, and it was definitely realistic in a marraieg where someone doesn't want it to end becuase they don't want change, I think that happens too much. It was told well in some shorter flashbacks and all around a single present time event for an award. A quicker easy read, but nothing spectacular. Solid 3.5 stars.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this one. I ended up giving the author the benefit of the doubt and went with three instead of two. The main character, Joan, was almost unbearable as her older self. I found her much easier to deal with as her younger self. The beginning of the book was about the older characters and I nicknamed them Joe (which, coincidentally was actually the husband's name) and Wendy after Joe and Wendy Whiner. These two were a perfect match for each other. Sh ...more
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the most accurate portrayals of marriage I've read. And my favorite line: "Everyone needs a wife. Wives need wives." That really resonated with me. So true!
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I had such high expectations for this and yet here we are.

The premise: a wife decides she wants to divorce her husband after a life of continuous misery. She’s a white educated woman who married her slightly older husband in the 50s so her decision to persist in a relationship that has for nearly its entirety made her unhappy is understandable. At least the book asks the reader to understand, and the reader does. To be fair, it’s not so far-fetched; marriage in the 50s and 60s was a diffe
Joan Castleman was very witty, which hinted the outcome in the end. Especially in the beginning which helped me breeze through this book. And then we get to the stories of her husband's earlier life, intermingling with her own and the day they met, at which point her tone is sobering bit by bit. By then, you're already curious about what will happen to even consider letting go.

She was a strong character and I am a bit ambivalent about the time it took for her to bring up separating with her husb
It is easy for many of us today to forget the limitations placed on women in the very recent past; for those who wanted more than the traditional marriage and children, the options were very limited, the exceptions to the rule very few. It is also easy to overlook, until we are somehow confronted in a way that catches us up short, the challenges that remain, and the very real danger of losing all that has been gained. Meg Wolitzer’s book “The Wife” can remind us of both, and it is rather telling ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
"In her [daughter's] worldview, bad marriages were simply terminated, like unwanted pregnancies. She knew nothing of this subculture of women who stayed, women who couldn't logically explain their allegiances, who held tight because it was the only thing they felt most comfortable doing, the thing they actually liked. She didn't understand the luxury of the familiar, the known: the same hump of back poking up under the cover in bed, the hair tufting in the ear. The husband. A figure you never st ...more
Azita Rassi
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful prose, memorable descriptions, amazing characterization, and a fascinating twist. It was a slow read for me but a delightful one. Unique in many ways.
Nancy K
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I always read a handful of reviews before I make my own comments, just to see where others are coming from.

I'm seeing a lot of discussion about unlikable characters (I agree) and the author not giving the married partners a chance to demonstrate what made the marriage fail in the way of dialogue and daily interactions (also true).

But to those who say that Joan was a spoiled, stay-at-home mother who made the choice to give up her career, I say that's not fair.

Women didn't have the same opportunit
Ayelet Waldman
This novel is about the wife of a famous writer. Hmm. I wonder why I bought it. It was tremendous fun to read, but I didn't like the ending. I thought the dramatic surprise sold the novel short.
I finished The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. I chose this book as a "twofer"- it works for Author of the Month and Off The Shelf, Books on the cover for my Goodreads Book Club.

Earlier this week I read LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson, so I was surprised and excited to read the following quote in THE WIFE:-
"'How can I just have this one life?' I used to ask my mother incredulously when I was twelve and sat at the dining room table in our apartment..."
There were no more surprises or excitement.

I underst
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, audio
I listened to this as an audio book and the narrator was really excellent. I didn't think so at first but as the story progressed I realized that the way her voice was constantly teetering on the edge of anger was absolutely perfect. Listening to audio books makes me realize that there are sentences in books that I might pass my eyes over on the page with out much notice but when there is a certain inflection in the narrator's voice you hear it a whole different way and it grabs your attention. ...more
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
It's weird, because this book frets over competence vs. brilliance and the scope of the female writer vs. the male writer, and... it's, in my opinion, a competent book by a female writer. Awkward.

Not to be flippant. I was really engaged and think Wolitzer is a tremendously thoughtful writer, word to word. It's just that I needed to believe that the Castleman novels that had received such accolades and moved the plot forward so many times actually existed and had been conceived by this great mind
Sunny Shore
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this 220 page book in one evening and one morning. It's chick lit at the highest level and so well-written. The author sets you up for the twisted ending - that's all I'll say, but you don't really see it coming. I had to give it a 5 - it was that good. The narrator is a little too giving and her husband is a little too much of a macho pig, but it works here and you understand everything at the end. Read it - you won't put it down.
3.5 stars
‘The Wife’ by Meg Wolitzer was very readable; a slow down and think kind of book. Joan Ames is nineteen, an English major at Smith College in 1956, when she meets Joseph Castleman. He’s the Professor of Joan’s Creative Writing class. His wife Carol has just had their baby girl, Fanny. One of Joan’s stories catches the Professor’s attention and he commends Joan for her literary talent. Joan ends up babysitting Fanny while the Professor and his wife go out for the evening. Joan is besotte
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For Love of a Book: The Wife - Buddy Read August 12 26 Sep 03, 2018 03:50PM  
Pasadena Bookies ...: The Wife by Meg Wolitzer 1 3 Aug 31, 2018 09:10PM  
Screen & Page: The Wife 1 3 Jul 23, 2018 03:34PM  
Goodreads Librari...: New page count 2 15 Sep 11, 2017 03:10PM  
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Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.
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“Everyone needs a wife; even wives need wives. Wives tend, they hover. Their ears are twin sensitive instruments, satellites picking up the slightest scrape of dissatisfaction. Wives bring broth, we bring paper clips, we bring ourselves and our pliant, warm bodies. We know just what to say to the men who for some reason have a great deal of trouble taking consistent care of themselves or anyone else. “Listen,” we say. “Everything will be okay.” And then, as if our lives depend on it, we make sure it is.” 11 likes
“I’ve always had a fear of being small and ordinary. “How can I just have this one life?” 6 likes
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