Title: The Wife’s Tale: A Novel
Author: Lori Lansens
Release Date: February 10, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Mary is completely set in her ways living in her small town in Canada with her husband, Gooch. Insecure about herself, she finds her comfort in food and is morbidly obese. However, she can’t stop eating. Everything changes, though, when Gooch doesn’t come home one night. Shocked and worried, Mary isn’t sure if she’s been abandoned or if her beloved husband has met with tragedy. The answer inspires Mary to go on a journey where she rediscovers herself and what she is really capable of.
The Wife’s Tale is an unpredictable and tumultuous journey that the reader will really get involved in. Mary is an incredibly written character. Lansens really gets the reader into the mind of this obese woman. She makes Mary’s overeating sympathetic rather than repulsive. Mary is insecure because she’s overweight, and she keeps gaining weight because of the way she eats, a mechanism to cope with her insecurity. It’s very sad without being pathetic. While the reader never feels pity for Mary, they certainly empathize with her feelings.
Mary’s journey is an inspirational one, considering at the beginning of the novel she had never been on a plane. Her refusal to travel is another symptom of her insecurity – she is afraid people will laugh at her because she is overweight. As a result, she sticks close to home, not taking chances. It makes her trip all the more extraordinary and hopeful.
One thing I appreciated about The Wife’s Tale is the fact that there wasn’t a “magic” story – Mary is morbidly obese when the novel starts. No amount of depression, grief, or sadness is going to turn her into a size 0 by the end of the novel, unless the novel takes place over months or years (which it doesn’t). It is frustrating to read novels where the overweight main character magically melts off all their weight just because they make certain realizations about themselves. Mary is much more realistic. While she does definitely lose weight, there’s nothing magical about it.
The twists and turns that The Wife’s Tale takes are unexpected, yet very welcome. This isn’t your typical women’s fiction novel, with the expected happy ending. This novel is much more about reality, and also more about Mary coming to terms with and accepting herself, rather than about a marriage or a relationship. That being said, I’m still processing the ending and, while I’m not sure I loved it, it certainly was a welcome change of pace.
The Wife’s Tale was a great women’s fiction novel, even for those who don’t usually enjoy the genre. Lansens’ writing is beautiful and Mary’s journey is a difficult one. At the end, though, it leaves the reader feeling hopeful and bright about the future. It’s a light novel with some deep realizations; I definitely recommend it!