The Wife’s Tale – Lori Lansens

Title: The Wife’s Tale: A Novel
Author: Lori Lansens
ISBN: 9780316069311
Pages: 368
Release Date: February 10, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

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.

Review:

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!

Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to this one as well; great review.

  2. I’m looking forward to this one as well; great review.

  3. I’m reading this one right now. Lori Lansens is a fabulous writer!

  4. I’m reading this one right now. Lori Lansens is a fabulous writer!

  5. This is on my tbr list. Nice review!

  6. This is on my tbr list. Nice review!

  7. This sounds like a great read. However, what turns me off a bit is the fact that while the main character is obviously obese, the woman pictured on the front of the book is, obviously, not. Why can’t we have a true representation of the character on the cover? It’s no wonder there are millions of women out there that feel like Mary when even Mary herself can’t be portrayed accurately because that won’t sell books. Sad.

  8. This sounds like a great read. However, what turns me off a bit is the fact that while the main character is obviously obese, the woman pictured on the front of the book is, obviously, not. Why can’t we have a true representation of the character on the cover? It’s no wonder there are millions of women out there that feel like Mary when even Mary herself can’t be portrayed accurately because that won’t sell books. Sad.

  9. This looks lovely, I’ll have to keep a look out for it (you know, after February).

  10. This looks lovely, I’ll have to keep a look out for it (you know, after February).

  11. I really enjoyed this book and am discussing it with the author for the MMBC this Weds! I do plan to post the audio file, if anyone is interested in listening to our discussion.

  12. I really enjoyed this book and am discussing it with the author for the MMBC this Weds! I do plan to post the audio file, if anyone is interested in listening to our discussion.

  13. I have this one on my Wishlist. It looks like a great read.

  14. I have this one on my Wishlist. It looks like a great read.

  15. Interesting, I hadn’t heard of this one!

  16. Interesting, I hadn’t heard of this one!

  17. I’ve read several reviews of this new book and now yours as well. I’m looking forward to picking it up. I do think I agree with the comment about the woman on the cover.

  18. I’ve read several reviews of this new book and now yours as well. I’m looking forward to picking it up. I do think I agree with the comment about the woman on the cover.

  19. I loved this book too and like you, thought Mary was a fantastic character!

  20. I loved this book too and like you, thought Mary was a fantastic character!

  21. I am glad you liked this. I have owned it since it came out and still have not read it!

  22. I am glad you liked this. I have owned it since it came out and still have not read it!

  23. This sounds like a really good read even though I’ve been a bit hesitant to read it. I’m not sure why though and now I’m thinking I should grab it from the library and give it a go. Great review!

  24. This sounds like a really good read even though I’ve been a bit hesitant to read it. I’m not sure why though and now I’m thinking I should grab it from the library and give it a go. Great review!

  25. sounds like fun- great review! 🙂

  26. sounds like fun- great review! 🙂

  27. Looks like a great book club selection.

  28. Looks like a great book club selection.

  29. I’m usually not into women’s fiction, but this sounds interesting. Great review.

  30. I’m usually not into women’s fiction, but this sounds interesting. Great review.

  31. I agree with Lisa, it does look like a good book club selection. When March comes along, I’ll be looking for this at the library.

  32. I agree with Lisa, it does look like a good book club selection. When March comes along, I’ll be looking for this at the library.

  33. Mar sounds like an interesting character!
    i will look out for this one!

  34. Mar sounds like an interesting character!
    i will look out for this one!

  35. Sounds like this one might be a winner!

  36. Sounds like this one might be a winner!

  37. I loved this book. I felt sorry for Mary at first and then just wanted to cheer her on. I also really liked that there wasn’t a traditional happy ending to this book.

  38. I loved this book. I felt sorry for Mary at first and then just wanted to cheer her on. I also really liked that there wasn’t a traditional happy ending to this book.

  39. I just read and reviewed this one too. I liked it a lot, but what kept me from loving it was that I felt like the two halves of the book were too different. Her transformation in CA was too sudden for me. I liked the first half much better, but found the second a bit predictable. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it. Thanks for the review!

  40. I just read and reviewed this one too. I liked it a lot, but what kept me from loving it was that I felt like the two halves of the book were too different. Her transformation in CA was too sudden for me. I liked the first half much better, but found the second a bit predictable. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it. Thanks for the review!

  41. I just read and reviewed this one too. I liked it a lot, but what kept me from loving it was that I felt like the two halves of the book were too different. Her transformation in CA was too sudden for me. I liked the first half much better, but found the second a bit predictable. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it. Thanks for the review!

    OOPS – comment got saved before I submitted my name!

  42. I just read and reviewed this one too. I liked it a lot, but what kept me from loving it was that I felt like the two halves of the book were too different. Her transformation in CA was too sudden for me. I liked the first half much better, but found the second a bit predictable. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it. Thanks for the review!

    OOPS – comment got saved before I submitted my name!

  43. This is a terrific book!!! just finished it and didn’t want it to end. I also read Lansens first two books and loved them too. My new favorite writer!

  44. This is a terrific book!!! just finished it and didn’t want it to end. I also read Lansens first two books and loved them too. My new favorite writer!

  45. So glad to hear you liked this book and that the character is realistic. I hope to read it soon.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  46. So glad to hear you liked this book and that the character is realistic. I hope to read it soon.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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