Alayne Bushey's Reviews > The Wife's Tale

The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
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's review
Jan 04, 2010

it was amazing
Read in January, 2010

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 happy, and carefree, and skinny. It’s about her secrets and her husband. Her husband of twenty-five years who she married when she was young and svelte and pregnant, before she gained the weight and lost the baby. Her husband who disappears the night before their anniversary, saying and doing nothing, just leaving. Leaving her with her secrets and hunger until the day she wakes and realizes she doesn’t need food. She wakes from her life and chooses to take a step in a new direction, to embark on a journey. To become someone other than the woman who only wears dark navy scrubs, the woman from Leaford who is incredibly obese. To be the woman who solves her own problems. In the journey she takes to find her husband, she finds herself: the Mary without the food.

This story was heartbreaking and sad, but also incredibly beautiful and lyrical and literary and uplifting. Lansen weaves Mary’s memories into the story which help us to understand her pain, weight issues are something to which most of us can relate. Brutally honest and blunt, occasionally fresh and funny, but always true and real from the perspective of an overweight women who feels helpless, this was a touching message of hope and the power of change and strength in us all.

I loved Mary Gooch. I loved her for being honest with me about who she was and the secrets she has. The chocolates, the binges, the tabloids, the obsession. And I loved her for making a choice, for leaving Leaford, for going after her husband, and then changing direction on the way. For following her father’s old advice to “take a drink from the hose and push on.”

5 stars

(I received this book from the Hachette Book Group)
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Reading Progress

01/04/2010 page 48

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