Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Released: May 2012
Rating: 5/5


Alice is all about social media, and the web; she checks Facebook and Twitter constantly. After she attends a work function for her husband, she hears a quick comment about her “small life” that causes her to examine and evaluate her life. It hurts to have someone say your life is “small,” it’s certainly not what she expected, career wise. She’s a part-time drama teacher who’s wanted bigger and better things, but they didn’t fall into place. Alice is now forty-five years old, a mother of two, and she’s been married for twenty years. She’s the same age as her mother was when she passed away, and this causes her to contemplate the kind of things she missed out on. She can’t help but notice that her husband has begun to drift away, they simply don’t connect the same way they use to. His Facebook messages have become cryptic. When she receives an email about a marriage study, she jumps on board to participate. Alice Buckle becomes anonymous “Wife 22” responding to anonymous “Researcher 101.” She simply has to fill out portions of a survey each week and communicate with her researcher. Alice quickly realizes that she has no problem describing the beginning of their relationship when it was fresh and new, when they couldn’t be away from each other but now she barely has anything to say. The decision to participate in the survey changes her life in many ways.


First, I want to say this book is not sad and depressing. Melanie Gideon has written an incredibly witty book that deals with real life. Although I don’t believe I am the target audience, I fell in love with Alice and understood where she was coming from. The book is filled with snippets of Facebook status’, text messages, and tweets. She has a teenage daughter who comes with her own set of obstacles, perhaps an eating disorder. Why else would she have cupcakes hidden in her closet? Her young son is so sweet, he’s her go-to guy when it comes to beauty tips, and she’s convinced he might be gay. She wants to support him in any way possible. Alice is that friend who is always panicking about everything, the one you want to want to calm down, and tell her to “relax.”

I couldn’t put this book down, I opened it every chance I got until I finished it! I loved Alice’s character, her quirky behaviors and her emotional struggles. I thought she was very easy to relate to, despite her being older than me. The survey really makes her question her life, and I really enjoyed her responses. The questions are omitted within the story, and only her answers are provided however, at the end of the book we are provided with the questions. I found myself flipping back to read her responses once again.

I think this one would appeal to many women, especially those who are evaluating their lives, have been in long-term relationships, or have children who make them worry. Alice is a loving, humorous, and emotional character. If this one sounds interesting, you should definitely pick it up! Please keep in mind this one releases in May.


  1. I just finished this one last week and I really liked it a lot. I am in my 40s like Alice so I related to a lot of the things she was going through. Her son was adorable!

  2. I am glad you stated it wasn't sad, because right away, I thought this isn't for me. It sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing it with me.

  3. I'm so glad you liked this one! I haven't had a chance to read it but have been very curious about it. I'll make sure to read it if the opportunity comes up! Thanks!

  4. What a clever topic for a novel. The book is on my wish list now!

  5. This does sound like a really unusual premise for a novel, and like something that I would really enjoy. I think that a lot of us are consumed by social media, so it would be interesting to find out how this aspect of the novel turns out. I am also interested in the way that the research study makes Alice reevaluate her life. Very cool review today. I think I need to read this one!

  6. I've seen this one mentioned before and the premise sounds interesting. I'm glad you liked it. I'll have to give it a try.

  7. Sounds really good. And oddly fascinating. Like getting to be a fly on a wall.

    Side note, it's funny how the term "small life" bothered her. I think I have a small quiet life and I love it. I find simplicity to be zen like to me.

  8. Sounds like this is such a great read! I love fun, witty books, and now that you mentioned cupcakes I really want some:) It's always nice when you can't wait to get back to a book after being forced to return to real life, glad that was this type of read for you!

  9. I've been seeing this title everywhere and didn't know if I wanted to read it because I thought it would be sad and depressing. Thanks for the great review. Adding to my list right now. Can't wait for May.

  10. Hi Jennifer,

    Oh dear! This sounds like a book that I really should be reading.

    Since I started blogging, I am finding that it consumes more and more of my time, together with twitter.

    Hubbie spends all of his spare time locked in front of his PC also.

    After 33 years of marriage, this is not a good sign, when i read the synopsis of this book.

    Perhaps a re-think is in order, after I read the book and make sure that everything turns out OK for Alice, of course!!

    Thanks for sharing, it's on my list.


  11. That sounds excellent! I need to know more about Alice.

  12. I love the concept of this one because it sounds intriguing and DIFFERENT! And wouldn't it be something if the researcher was her husband trying to glean information on how she feels about him and her marriage now. The kids sounds like interesting characters too. I think I could really like her boy. Nice review.

  13. This is a book I want to read! I'm older, married and we are soon to be empty nesters. Between blogging, FB and twitter, I am one busy woman LOL! My mother just died and I have been evaluating my life - what's important, what do I want to do with this last third of my remaining years on the planet. Hopefully have a sense of humor about it too and not just panic that my life hasn't been everything I thought it would be but appreciate that it's a wonderful life anyway!

  14. I love books that you can't put down until you finish them and can't stop thinking about even long after! Even though they are really bad for days when I have a ton of homework, that's how you know it's an amazing book: when you're so addicted you can't stop! x) And this seems like the perfect, sweet, and totally witty book to read in between those dark ones -- I love it!

    Awesome review, Mrs. Q! :) <3

  15. This one does sound really good, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope the tweets, etc., aren't distracting though.

  16. This book sounds so fascinating to me!

  17. This sounds fun! I like the idea of the format, too, with the questions.

  18. I think I'll be able to relate to this book.