Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens

First line: Alone in the evenings, when the light had drained from the slate roof of her small rural home, and when her husband was working late, Mary Gooch would perform a striptease for the stars at the open bedroom window: shifting out of rumpled bottoms, slipping off blousy tops, liberating breasts, peeling panties, her creamy flesh spilling forth until she was completely, exquisitely nude.

From the inside cover: 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 she beings a desperate search.

She boards a plane for the first time in her life and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary learns that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she discovers fills her with an inner strength she's never felt before: perfect strangers who come to her rescue, an aging, sometimes hostile mother-in-law who needs her help, friends who enjoy her company. And through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.

With the generosity and delicate grace that had readers falling in love with her best-selling novel, The Girls, Lori Lansens brings us another moving and beautifully wrought story, this time of a woman taking small, yet courageous steps toward her authentic self.

My thoughts: This was a powerful story of a woman's coming of age. It was so easy to get caught up in Mary's life. She comes across as a real woman, with real fears and real hopes - her story isn't one that's tied up with a little red bow. She shows us how our own inner strength can give us the power to change our lives, by taking a chance and doing something new when the old way is no longer working for us. This is an insightful read into the world of those with eating disorders/addictions - it is fascinating that Mary can trace all her weight gains to significant events in her life. Lansens seems to possess a keen insight into the world of the seemingly damaged among us and how they are perceived by society. I really enjoyed the author's unique voice. The writing makes it feel like Mary Gooch is a real person that you know. A lot of time is spent revealing her thoughts, imperfections, changes. It's not a plot-drive story, but rather about a character and her quest for self-discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to picking up more of Lori Lansens' books.

(I won this book from Bookin'with Bingo.)


  1. I REALLY want to read this book. It has been on my wish list for quite a while. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I want to read this one, and have her first book (The Girls) sitting as-yet-unread on my shelves. Thanks for the interesting review- it makes me want to move "The Girls" up in my queue!

  3. Julie - it was really good - I had a hard time putting it down.

    Jonita - I just put The Girls on my tbr list.

  4. Great review, I have The Girls on my Wishlist and realise that all her books get good reviews, I want to try one for sure.

  5. I absolutely loved this book and I'm a huge fan of Lori Lansens! Have you ever read Rush Home Road? SO GOOD!

  6. This book is one I have been interested in for awhile - thanks for the review!


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