Holy depressing books, Batman: The Chocolate War
Education books: Jonathan Kozol's "Death at an Early Age."

Holy depressing books, Batman: The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison


Third and last in our series of fiction books I read, three in a row, that kicked me in the gut.

Today's book is A.S.A. Harrison's novel The Silent Wife, and I'm telling you, if you haven't yet read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (or even if you have), kick that one to the curb and read this one instead. In all fairness, I think Gone Girl was meant to be just a thriller, whereas this one is a thriller with a bit more literary style behind it. This is how it begins:

"At forty-five, Jodi still sees herself as a young woman. She does not have her eye on the future but lives very much in the moment, keeping her focus on the everyday. She assumes, without having thought about it, that things will go on indefinitely in their imperfect yet entirely acceptable way. In other words, she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience--which her twenty-year marriage to Todd Gilbert has been slowly eroding--is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her." (pp. 3-4.)

Now, that makes you think this is going to be a straight-up thriller. But it's not. And in their own "imperfect yet entirely acceptable way" (I love that phrase), the main characters here are both somewhat sympathetic and likable.* For a long time the story just moves along, making you think it is one thing (quite skillfully), but then...in the middle, there's a couple of sucker punches that I was completely not expecting. Maybe you will--there are hints throughout the book. But I did not, and the punches were very sad ones.

I think my one-sentence review to Mr. CR was, "this book is horrifying--in a good way." And that sort of sums up how I felt about all three of these depressing books. They made me think; I thought they were good books; but can I, in all conscience, actually RECOMMEND them to others to read? I just don't know. What do you do when you want to suggest scary or depressing books to others?

*Unlike in Gone Girl, where I found the husband and wife both to be completely uninteresting, unlikable people. Which hampered my caring about them, or the story, in any way whatsoever.