For the first time in over four years of book reviewing, I am about to give an in-between rating. I’m not going to make a habit of doing this, but this particular novel did not deserve to be rounded up or down to either whole number. So A.S.A. Harrison…your newest book forced me to do something against my blog rules!
First, do not for one minute listen to those people who are comparing this to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. That does not continue to be a bestselling phenomenon just for the heck of it; it’s an extremely well-written tale of a marriage gone horribly wrong and gave me a cloying sense of claustrophobia while reading it. As I stated in my December 2012 review, “I strongly suggest to Ms. Flynn that she lock herself in a room with puppies, rainbows, apple pie, and other happy things.” I am not in any way comparing the writing of Flynn and Harrison, as they are both very strong. However, Flynn knew when her trainwreck (in the best possible way) of a story was done; Harrison fills her tale with needless psychobabble, a pointless delve into the main character’s past, and an ending that just won’t quit (in a not-so-good way).
The Silent Wife is told in two viewpoints, HIM (being Todd) and HER (being Jodi). Todd and Jodi have been together for decades, never marrying or having kids, until Todd begins to have an affair with his friend’s daughter. When he learns that he is going to be a father, he “leaves” Jodi, coming back once or twice for the night only when he misses her. The final straw is when he sends her an eviction notice, forcing Jodi to think about her future. Even though Jodi is “The Silent Wife”, not standing up for herself until Todd leaves, the reader learns that she is actually astonishingly calculating. Her emotionless, horrifying actions made my blood run cold.
I couldn’t put The Silent Wife down…until I could. Harrison would have earned a solid 4 if not for filling her pages with things that didn’t need to be there. This book would have been excellent if Harrison whittled things down about 25 pages.