Wife 22

Have you ever wondered if everyone goes through the same marital problems as you?  Let me ease your mind, they do.

Everyone at some point in their marriage feels like a “roommate”, everyone feels at some point that they made the wrong choice, that they should have chosen “the one that got away”, and everyone (yes, everyone) flirts with someone other than their spouse. Don’t shake your head like you never have, because you know you have you just have to be brave enough to admit it.

None of these feelings mean your marriage is doomed, nor do they meaning you are “doing it right”.  All they mean is that you are married.  How you handle all of these instances and how you come through them in the end, that will be the definition of your marriage.

This is the message given to the reader in the new Melanie Gideon novel Wife 22.  Alice Buckle feels her life and marriage slipping away from her, so when an opportunity arises to participate in an anonymous survey from an accredited University, she readily agrees.

It’s when that survey goes to another level and Alice has some real life decisions to make that the book gets very interesting.  From the back of the book:

Maybe it was the five pounds I’d gained that I couldn’t seem to lose. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).

And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.
61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.
67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What you shouldn’t have.
32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, down loader of memories and Googler of solutions.

But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.

I found it interesting but a bit lagging.  I was interested in the characters including the peripheral ones, my only concern was with the layout.  A lot of the book is done in “dialogue” format, i.e. Face Book status updates, survey answers (FYI the questions are listed in the back of the book, wish I had known that when I was reading it) and text messages (using horrible text slang).  But the story is very good and I look forward to future novels by Ms. Gideon.  perhaps something following one of the peripheral characters or one of the Mumble Bumbles so we can also keep tabs on the Buckles along the way.


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  1. WOuld you say this book fals into the category “summer beach read,” Adrienne? In other words, lightweight and easy to read, but able to be put down and go do something else and come back to it later?

  2. Gawd my typos up there. :/

  3. I think it sounds like it brings up serious points in any marriage! Well, maybe in life actually! If you just float through life not really being “present” in the moment you’ll miss key things and get lost in the day to day hustle bustle. My husband and I have been together 16 years, married for 13 and I still feel like we are work in progress. But I think any good marriage has to be worked on – never just taken for granted that it will always be there. Who wants to wake up one day and realize they missed the boat?

    Wow… just wrote a book up there! LOL. Sounds like I should grab a copy of Wife 22 this summer!

  4. Sounds like a good summer read, Adrienne! Curious if you’ve also read “Marriage Confidential” by Pamela Haag – another look at modern-day marriage….

  5. I am a very picky and very critical reader. I might hate this only because leaning on the format gimmicks would annoy me from the beginning. I like the idea of the story, though.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Interesting. Not sure when I’ll be able to read a whole book again, since I fall asleep after two pages these days and have the attention span of a gnat. I can dream of days gone by when I could finish one, though 😉

  7. Shannon Bradley-Colleary says:

    I must say I can’t stand texts in novels. There’s a lot of that going on in the 50 Shades of Grey series (not that I’ve read them!) and it’s just annoying.

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