Title: My Wife’s Affair
Author: Nancy Woodruff
Release Date: April 15, 2010
Publisher: Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
My Wife’s Affair is the chronicle of married couple Peter and Georgie (and their three sons) as they move from New Jersey to London for Peter’s job. Georgie feels compelled to find something to fill her time, and decides to return to the stage in a play. This seemingly innocuous action unleashes a chain of events that will threaten Peter and Georgie’s marriage.
My Wife’s Affair is basically the story of the slow and steady deterioration of a marriage. It probably won’t come as a shock that the the book centers around an affiar – after all, it’s in a title. But what Woodruff does beautifully is explores the reasoning behind the affair, as well as the repercussions it has for a marriage. All the mistrust, all the doubt – is it possible to fully forgive something as heinous as infidelity, even if you truly want to? And can someone be unfaithful to a marriage and family, but with a job (or in Georgie’s case, a part) rather than a lover? If so, where is that line?
Woodruff also does an excellent job putting the relations between a husband and wife into perspective. How, even if you want to protect your young children, they will still pick up on the interactions between their parents and realize something is amiss. Sometimes the children are more important than the squabbles between their parents, but how do you know what’s best for them and when? And while it is important for everyone to have their own purpose, how do you know when that purpose is interfering with your ability to be a good parent?
The writing in My Wife’s Affair is beautiful, clear, and precise. Woodruff’s prose is crisp and easy to read. Her narrator, Peter, tells the story in a way that almost seems dispassionate, while also being full of rage. It makes the novel difficult to put down because it flows so well.
I also loved the way Georgie’s detachment from her family mirrored her character’s life. As she became more and more involved with her part and the person she was playing, she distanced herself from her family and didn’t really see herself as a part of that unit anymore. It was an intriguing parallel that I would love to explore more fully on a second read-through.
I highly recommend My Wife’s Affair for those people who love to really think about a book after they put it down. Additionally, this would make a great book club selection – people will revel in discussing Georgie and her motives. It was an intriguing and enjoyable book, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for what Woodruff does next.