Alice spends a lot of time online. She’s married with two kids and teaches drama to elementary school students, but much of her life is spent online. Because of that Melanie Gideon intersperses Google searches, emails, and social media posts with the regular prose of Wife 22. The format works well here as it brings the reader more thoroughly into Alice’s life. It’s not a life many would aspire to though. Alice is quite neurotic. She obsesses about the sexuality of her preteen son, worries her teenage daughter has an eating disorder, and wonders about the happiness of her marriage. Does she approach her family about any of these things though? Not a chance. She just goes online and finds she has an email inviting her to participate in a marriage study. She readily agrees and Gideon spins the tale from there. Had the characters been less clichéd and the plot twist not so easily guessed, Wife 22 might have been a stand-out in women’s fiction; instead it is a glimpse into an uninspiring life.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Ballantine Books.