Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: The Silent Wife

Summary: Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go. -- Penguin

There was so much buzz over the summer about THE SILENT WIFE by A.S.A. Harrison that I decided to pack it for my beach vacation. (Yes... I'm still catching up on reviews from almost two months ago!) I had seen in more than one place that THE SILENT WIFE was being compared to GONE GIRL; and quite frankly, that set my expectations pretty high... probably unfairly so.

THE SILENT WIFE does have a few similarities to GONE GIRL. It is a psychological thriller told in alternating chapters by the "husband" and the "wife," and their "marriage" is far from sound. However, it didn't quite have that same shock value that the first half of GONE GIRL did. It's not that I didn't enjoy THE SILENT WIFE. I actually thought it was a very good book. I just think it might have been a disservice to compare it to the mega-hit GONE GIRL.

In THE SILENT WIFE, the reader is introduced to Jodi and Todd, a couple who have been together for twenty years. Their relationship is strained to say the least, partly because of Todd's serial cheating and Jodi's ability to deny. However one day, Jodi gets fed up and decides to do something. Both sides of the relationship are presented in alternating chapters in Jodi and Todd's voices, and it's clear that the couple is headed towards something big -- namely Jodi deciding to murder Todd!

I really liked THE SILENT WIFE. It is a very well written novel and I thought the author did a wonderful job of capturing the individual stories of both Jodi and Todd. I especially appreciated getting Jodi's story because it became rather "twisted," and I liked seeing how her character evolved from the point of denial to the point of murder. Talk about a woman scorned! Having said that, I also enjoyed getting Todd's view on their relationship. I think presenting both the "him" and "her" sides of the story was the ideal way to tell this story.

I think what I appreciated the most about THE SILENT WIFE was how smart it was. The story was clever, as was the writing, but I most enjoyed the psychological insight into the characters. I found the path towards destruction of their relationship to be extremely interesting, and while I didn't really like either of the main characters, I found their interactions (and lack thereof) to be almost humorous given the resentment each one was harboring towards the other.

THE SILENT WIFE would make a great book club discussion. Truly, Jodi and Todd are fascinating and it would be a lot of fun to dissect their relationship over a glass of wine or two. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a discussion guide but I doubt that one is necessary. Some of the themes you might want to explore include love, betrayal, resentment, infidelity, and revenge.

It wasn't until I finished THE SILENT WIFE that I realized that the author passed away just months before the publication of this novel. Such a tragedy for so many reasons....

While I hesitate to compare THE SILENT WIFE to GONE GIRL, I do think readers who appreciate psychological thrillers will enjoy this novel.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


Beth F said...

Great review. This one wasn't even on my list until I read your thoughts.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I bought this one on Kindle based on Ti's review. I will make sure I go into it without "Gone Girl" expectations!

bermudaonion said...

I agree that this shouldn't be compared to Gone Girl. They're both terrific books but very different, in my opinion.

Amy said...

Based on your review, I ordered this book and Gone Girl this morning, as neither one of them are in my library. Looking forward to reading them!

KRS said...

Great Review! I admit that book reviews that provide comparisons to past blockbusters make me nervous. But you have set the platform for me to read The Silent Wife for The Silent Wife only.

Karen White said...

Great review. I recorded this book for Blackstone Audio - well, half of it, I only read Jodi's POV. It was a fascinating experience because I read the whole book the first time through, as preparation. But when recording, I only read her parts. For that reason, as well as the quality of the storytelling, I found her actions quite justified!
Glad this book is getting attention on its own merits, and sad that we won't be hearing more from this author.

Anonymous said...

I could use another great book for our books club. we are just finishing up To Sleep...Perchance to Die by Don Grippo. We weren't sure how it would be for our group but it turned out to really work well so I recommend that one. where you can find information in it. I think The Silent Wife might really be good for our next read! Thanks for the review.