The Monday Book: THE WIFE’S TALE by Lori Lansens

monday bookThis book landed in the shop a few week ago and one day I picked it up as a potential bedtime book because I liked the cover photo.

It’s not true, that old saying; you can TOTALLY judge a book by its cover.

This story circles Mary Gooch, a 25-years-married 304-lb. woman whose husband walks out on her just before the Silver Anniversary celebration. My friend Carolyn Jourdan often talks about “Queenagers,” and the character of Mary is something between an indictment and a celebration of that concept.

But it’s not a typical “he done her wrong” or one of those “my weight problems started with my mother” sagas. Nope. Gooch (as the husband is known) leaves Mary quite a bit of money in the bank before splitting, and leads her on a bit of a trail through history as she tries to find him. Mary travels as much through her own heart and memories as she does from Ontario to California, and from heaviness to light in more ways than one.

Don’t get the impression that this is a simple book about losing weight to gain everything else. The book has subtle language, simple ways of packing meaning into compact phrases, and of twisting assumptions just a little bit to keep actions from devolving into stereotypes.

I’d love to offer you a quote to show you what I’m talking about, but I hand- sold the book to someone who was visiting the shop after reading Little Bookstore, who said how much she’d liked the Monday Book posts, and asked what was coming up. And of course I grabbed The Wife’s Tale and started talking fast in enthusiastic tones, and now I don’t own the book any more.

But I bet your local bookshop or library has a copy. And it’s a lovely read, a beach book for the literary set, perhaps, but not even so easily pinned down as that. The writing is magnificent, the subject interesting and not dealt with in any trite way, and the outcomes are …… lively. You won’t regret the time you spend with Mary Gooch.