Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WIFE 22 by Melanie Gideon

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

WIFE 22 picks up where BRIDGET JONES left off.  Alice Buckle is a 40-something mother, wife and part-time elementary school drama teacher.  Her life seems full but something just isn't right.  When Alice receives an e-mail from a research company looking for participants in a study on marriage, she jumps at the chance to participate.  At first, it seems that the financial compensation is her main incentive.  But as Alice answers the surveys that keep popping up in her inbox, she finds herself become addicted to this anonymous unburdening of her thoughts on her life and marriage.  For the purposes of the study, Alice is designated "Wife 22" and assigned to "Researcher 101."  Alice finds it far easier to reveal her innermost thoughts to this anonymous researcher and starts to get personal with him as she reveals things to him that she doesn't reveal to her husband, family and friends. The study begins to make Alice reevaluate everything in her life from her marriage to her job.

The story is interspersed with details from today's multimedia social networking culture such as Google searches and Facebook posts as well as Alice's answers to survey questions.  Part of the fun for me was trying to figure out what the questions may have been just by reading Alice's answers.  (the questions are listed at the back of the book but I recommend ignoring them until you have finished the book)  I think Alice's story will resonate with many women who are at a similar place in their lives.  Alice can be goofy and self-deprecating which makes her charming in her confusion and sometimes poor choices. I found myself laughing out loud several times in the story and empathized with a lot of Alice's confusion.

This would be a fantastic beach read or book club selection.  It is a very quick read and is often quite charming.  The ending was a little bit anticlimactic. For me, it felt very obvious what was going to happen.  Still, it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

BOTTOM LINE:  Recommended. A fun read about one woman's mid-life crisis as revealed through various forms of social media and modern forms of commuication. Perfect for fans of BRIDGET JONES looking for a new heroine.

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