Friday, October 25, 2013

#BookReview: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The great Zora Neale Hurston once said, "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."   For 22 years, Jodi Brett has lived in silence, never addressing her long time partner's indiscretions.  It's easier for her to pretend they've never happened.

Todd Gilbert appreciates Jodi's silence.  He sees it as strength.  Her silence allows him to live with the choices he makes without recrimination.  She doesn't yell, she doesn't make scenes.  He finds her silence to be powerful.  But he also takes her silence for granted.

Though the characters never come out and say it, Todd is a weak and arrogant man.  When his latest affair goes further than anticipated, he makes the decision to leave Jodi as easily as someone would pick a restaurant for dinner.  Even hastier is his decision to cut her off financially, at the insistence of his new girlfriend, as if she hadn't been the one supporting them in the early years of their relationship.  Yet at the same time, he wonders if she might not allow him to drop by occasionally for food, sex and such.  It takes a mighty arrogant man to even suggest that.

As much as I found myself disliking Todd, I felt like Jodi was just as much to blame.  By remaining silent for so many years, her silence became consent.  And in that silence, she built up resentment for Todd, whether she realized it or not.  While Todd moves on with his new life, Jodi uses her silence to plot his demise.

Publishers are quick to capitalize on the popularity of last year's Gone Girl, always claiming that a new book is the new Gone Girl, this is not that.  While Amy carefully plotted against Nick over the course of a year, Jodi acts with little forethought.  Jodi is an educated woman, but her education in no way compares to Amy's natural instincts and cunning ways.  Harrison makes a lot of Jodi's education, delving deep into the world of psychology, and bogs the reader down with paragraphs of the many facets and schools of psychology. It takes away from the overall story and is an unnecessary distraction, making what could have been a great read just average.

Published: June 2013
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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