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The Wife's Tale

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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  4,286 Ratings  ·  777 Reviews
On the eve of their Silver Anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband Jimmy--still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school--to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary's life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the we ...more
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published February 10th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company
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Pat Herndon
Dec 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really, really did not like this book. Sure, the writer is capable and entertaining. I kept turning pages, but the feeling was more like that of watching a train wreck. I am an obese woman who has been married for over 25 years. To read the descriptions of this main character, Mary Gooch was disgusting. Mary is portrayed to be dull-witted, slovenly, at one point in her life a petty thief, someone who hides beef jerky sticks in the cupboards so that she can gorge on them, and someone who purcha ...more
Diane
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mary Gooch is a 43 year-old, 302 lb woman who has struggled with weight issues for most of her life. She is married to Jimmy Gooch who is still as handsome as he was in high school. For Mary food became her friend and her solace, when things went wrong in her life. With each major disappointment and loss in her life, she packed on more and more weight. The extra weight she gained, keeps her socially isolated. Even when she was a little girl, she heard the doctor whisper to her mother that she wa ...more
Christine
Another lovely, strange story from one of my favourite authors. I liked the way the narrative and subject began so heavily and lightened (somewhat) as the novel progressed, mirroring Mary's experience. I liked Mary a lot, and even though not all of the questions get answered by the end of the tale, I liked that it was really a story about HER all the way through. I also liked that, while it was a story about Mary's (re?)awakening, and (re?)birth, it was not about weightloss. The focus was on her ...more
Dawn
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
I'm ambivalent. Good writing. But this is a book about a fat woman. Not a woman who is fat. She is solely defined by her weight. I look at the author and realize that she just doesn't get what it is to be a woman who is fat and so she falls back on her own prejudices and the usual stereotypes. The woman doesn't begin to live until she begins to lose weight. What crap. Shouldn't authors be more responsible for getting it right?
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I recently took a train trip to Montreal, and in the process, immersed myself completely in this wonderful, wonderful tale.

Mary Gooch is a morbidly obese woman approaching her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary to a husband who met her and married her in the one year of her life where she was pretty and slim.

What Lansens does masterfully is give Mary Gooch a verisimilitude that doesn't hinder your empathy for her. Mary is a woman who has led a life ruled by what she calls her "Obeast" and yet is a
...more
Amy
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 n ...more
Cym Lowell
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Imagine that you were left all alone one night. No spouse, no money, down on yourself, no children, no relatives active in your life, no future, and really no past except for the absent spouse. What would you do? Would you go down in flames? Or would you soar like a phoenix, reborn from the ashes of prior life?

This is the story of Mary Gooch, an obese rural Canadian woman who declared that she would commit suicide if she weighed more than 300 pounds. With that figure in the rearview mirror, she
...more
Jennifer
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I really liked _The Girls_, so I was excited when this author came out with a new book. And I have to say, this was just the kind of book I needed at a time when I am exhausted and craving something easy.

If I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars. I drank the story down like a slurpee on a hot day. The premise is that a sad, middle-aged woman is left by her husband on their 25th wedding anniversary. And for the first part of the book, as the character is coming to grips with her aloneness, the writing is
...more
Jennifer
This is Lansens' third novel. Her last book, The Girls, is one of my favourite and Rush Home Road was a wonderful novel which I loved too. Her new work,The Wife's Tale A Novel, while well written with and interesting main character in Mary Gooch, was not as strong as her previous two works. In this story the author references her other two novels. I found this a bit disconcerting. She is not writing a series although each story does take place in the same county she has invented in south-western ...more
Linda Lipko
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mary Gooch promised herself that if her bulky mass of rolled flesh ever registered a lumbering 300 pounds, she would simply take enough pills to put herself out of misery.

Mary reached 302 the day before her 25th wedding anniversary. Years earlier and hundreds of pounds lighter, she married her high school sweetheart. Young and pregnant, she justified both the added pounds and the nagging sense that she tricked Jimmy into a commitment to be with her instead of following his dream of college and a
...more
CuteBadger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book. I really did. It was just okay for me. So here's the story, the main character is morbidly obese (she calls the constant hunger within her the obeast.) She has reached 302 pounds and those 2 pounds are important--she had decided if she ever hit 300, she would kill herself. (But she doesn't.) On the eve of her 25th wedding anniversary, her husband does not come home. She goes after him. Through the story, in flashbacks the reader realizes that her husband LOVED ...more
Kathy
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-authors
Even after reading and loving The Girls, one of my favorite novels in which I learned that conjoined twins were indeed relevant to my life, I admit I wondered at the relevance of a 300 pound woman. Well, shame on me for ever doubting that Mary Gooch in The Wife's Tale: A Novel would have a story with which I could connect. Reflections, self and wordly discoveries, transformations--of course we relate. Lori Lansens is a master at taking what appears to be a somewhat extreme character(s) and provi ...more
Ann
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of this book was painful to read. Lansens does a marvelous job of illustrating how much emotion is attached to obesity or the "obeast". Having been a large woman for much of my life, I connected only too well with Mary Gooch.

After persevering, the story becomes amazingly uplifting. Gooch, Mary's husband, disappears on the eve of their 25th anniversary and her life becomes increasingly fraught with complications. Mostly negative. Okay, all negative.

But, without conscious planning,
...more
Rebecca
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
Mary Gooch has lived her whole life in Leaford, Ontario. Life is not perfect. She has no clothes that fit her to wear to her father’s funeral and the outfit she bought just three weeks ago to wear to her silver anniversary dinner is now too tight. She has a part time job she hates, a house she has lived in her whole married life, a truck with a sunroof that will not close and her closest friend is her Kenmore refrigerator. All that aside, she is still in love with her high school crush, now her ...more
Rumheadsbakery
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it


As usual, a very strange but enlightening story. It starts out as a sad and shocking look at the misery of someone's addiction and what it has cost her. You follow as she searches for her lost husband, finding herself as she goes. I saw myself in many of those pages.
Amy Brack
This book did weird things with my emotions. Mary Gooch has struggled with compulsive/unhealthy eating habits most of her life, which is something I have struggled with. During the parts of the book where she detailed her eating habits, I could really relate to the sense of helplessness she felt, and it stirred up a lot of old feelings.

I was glad when the book started to take a more productive turn, but I still felt like Mary Gooch wasn't quite as developed or finished out as I wish she would ha
...more
Jlaurenmc
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I don't remember reading Lori Lansens's second novel The Girls. The title and her name sound so familiar, but in reading the summary for it, nothing sounds like a book I've read. Many readers will remember her from that bestselling novel, but she writes a very different story in her latest release. In The Girls, Lansens explored the story of a set of conjoined twins. In The Wife's Tale, Lansens has a single narrator, one who is isolated from the world around her.

Mary Brody Gooch is a housewife.
...more
Sensitivemuse
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
I found this book to be a touching read. Not touching in a sad sense, but more of a feel good touchy feeling. When I first started reading this book I just felt this wretching pity for Mary. She's grossly overweight, her husband just left her, and she was so dependent on him so obviously she's lost and doesn't know what to do at first. I wanted to just take her by the shoulders and shake her. The pity and sadness just deepens further when Mary goes to California to her mother in law's place thin ...more
Brittany
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of smart chick lit...or stuff like How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Recommended to Brittany by: BookLounge.ca
How I Came To Read This Book: I think BookLounge.ca sent me an advance reader edition for answering a survey.

The Plot: Mary Gooch is a morbidly obese woman with a pretty face, a husband of 25 years, and a small bubble of a life that she's content to go on living in. That is, until her husband disappears on the eve of their 25th anniversary. Mary is then challenged to go on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to pop her bubble, and figure out how to move forward with her life, for her.

Th
...more
Alayne Bushey
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was a wonderful feeling to say that I knew from the second page of this book that it would be good. Not having read Lansen’s earlier novel, The Girls, I now feel envious of those who have, since talent like hers as shown in The Wife’s Tale makes me believe all her writing must be wonderful.

The Wife’s Tale is a novel about Mary Gooch and her life. Her constant battle with food and her body, her ever-present hunger, her ghosts from the past reminding her of better times. Times when she was happ
...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mary Brody has battled her weight all of her life, except for one year of high school when she had an intestinal parasite. The slimmer Mary has more self confidence, gets a part-time job and begins a romance with Jimmy Gooch. When Mary discovers she’s pregnant, they decide to get married.

Mary goes into the marriage with a lie eating away at her conscience which causes her to eat everything in sight, so she gains all of her weight back, plus more. She is embarrassed by her weight, but doesn’t see
...more
Deborah
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Lori Lansens is a gifted writer. She can lift the heart out of human emotion and psychological distress and translate it onto paper as if she had a magic wand. That's a gift. It translates, as well, to her readers as we are kicked full force in our hearts by her "wife" in "The Wife's Tale."

Mary Gooch, the wife in question, is a youngish, married woman....childless...who is obese and not altogether upset about it! She relishes her mounds and crevices. She's proud of her beautiful face that's full
...more
★Loredana★
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non so cosa mi abbia spinto all'acquisto di questo libro... sarà quella strana alchimia che spesso si crea tra pagine e persone... la trama mi ha ricordato un po' quella di "La metà di niente" di Catherine Dunne (che tra l'altro non mi era nemmeno piaciuto), qui in più c'è la componente (o l'aggravante) obesità, che la protagonista chiama obestia, con un'efficace metatesi linguistica che sarei curiosa di leggere in lingua originale.
Ammetto che mi aspettavo un ritratto frivolo e autoironico alla
...more
RNOCEAN
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
On the eve of their silver anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband, Jimmy — still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school — to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary’s life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband’s disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and sh ...more
Louise
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is Lori Lansens' third novel. The first two being: "Rusholme Road" and the ever popular and bestseller; "The Girls". This third offering is as good as "The Girls" and kept me reading long after the lights were out and everyone else gone to bed. The endearing Mary Gooch is a woman we can all relate too on one level or another and can find kinship in her honesty within and about herself. The slow dawning that she can change her life, how she lives it, and how she sees herself she realizes, ha ...more
Amy
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
When I discovered that Lori Lansen’s latest book, The Wife’s Tale (Little, Brown & Company), featured a character who is morbidly obese, I know this was a book for me. Often I read books about skinny woman (who fret about their weight), so a plump heroine resonates with me…and probably many other women. But you don’t have to be fat to enjoy The Wife’s Tale, which is a story about taking chances for the one you really love.

Mary Gooch reminds me of Susan Boyle, the formerly dumpy spinster feat
...more
Allison
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it depicted the destructive relationship between an obese woman and her drug of choice, food. Mary Gooch has really got an addiction problem and it is destroying her health, her psyche, and her marriage. Have you ever wondered what exactly an obese person eats and more fascinating, why they eat it? This book describes it all in detail, holding nothing back. And I just fell in love with Mary Gooch. She is so endearing and realistic as she faces all the belittling insults ...more
Roberta
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, canada
Mary viene abbandonata dal marito il giorno del suo venticinquesimo anniversario di matrimonio. Jimmy, o Gooch come lo chiama lei, oltre a un biglietto di addio le ha anche lasciato una somma considerevole nel conto corrente cointestato, frutto di una vincita al gratta e vinci.

Mary è una donna obesa, e ovviamente questa caratteristica ha un certo peso nel romanzo (se non altro per le ovvie implicazioni pratiche e per lo stretto legame tra disagio psicologico e disordine alimentare) ma non è que
...more
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Lori Lansens was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, a small Canadian town with a remarkable history as a terminus on the Underground Railroad, which became the setting for her first three bestselling novels. After living in downtown Toronto most of her adult life, she moved with her family to the Santa Monica mountains near Los Angeles in 2006. There she shares her backyard with bobcats, rattle ...more
More about Lori Lansens...
“If you don't like something about yourself, change it. If you're OK with it, you gotta own it. There's nothing in between.” 9 likes
“The beach was empty and dark but she couldn't hear her fear over the call of the surf.” 1 likes
More quotes…