May 212012
 

*I received this book from the publicist Big Honcho Media through Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other. But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101). And, just like that, I found myself answering questions…

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.

61. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.

32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.*

At his business dinner one night, William, Alice Buckle’s husband, makes an offhand comment in front of his coworkers about Alice’s “smaller life” – he doesn’t intend to hurt her, but Alice, already uncomfortable in the business suit that doesn’t feel quite right, is thrown. Her life is already off kilter. Alice’s birthday will mark her as the same age as her mother when she died. And Alice’s life may be small, but it’s not inconsequential. She directs school theater. She raises two children. She meets with her grief support group. But her husband, the man she fell madly in love with, sees her life as small. Going online becomes Alice’s solace, so when she receives the survey on marriage, the questions allow her to open up and relive the closeness and love she once felt for her husband. But in sharing the answers with Researcher 101, she becomes fascinated by his position as anonymous reliquary for her deepest secrets and desires, and the further she feels from her life with William.

My thoughts: Alice is so funny. Wife 22 has been compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary, and I can see why. Alice is just a bit older than Bridge. She thinks her son may be gay and is a little overzealous in her acceptance. Her daughter is slim and hoards junk food, so she’s afraid she’s bulimic. Alice is so concerned that her mother’s death left her without the proper tools to be a mom, that she fails to see that she’s doing it and has done it and is ok.

And I know people bemoan the Internet, but right or wrong, it’s there for Alice in those moments when no one else is or can be, and watching Alice connect…to the Internet, with her husband, and with her children/friends is a humorous, fun, heart-rending ride. I absolutely raced through this book. I loved it. I’m not married, and I don’t have kids, but I can relate to Alice. She is completely imperfect. She can be selfish and negative and really silly at times, but let me tell you. Last week on Twitter I was complaining because my new jeans are too big. Too big. This is a problem I was begging for a month ago. So Alice? High five right here.

She, too, is self aware. She knows that she can be unreasonable and selfish, but unlike many of us, she owns it. She feels as though her life is converging on her, and she doesn’t apologize for it. Instead, she confesses, “When I’m in pain I want everyone I love on the island with me, sitting around the fire, getting drunk on coconut milk, banging out a plan.” I can get on board with that. Is it inconvenient? Selfish? To hell with it. Alice wants what she wants, and for the first time in a while, she’s not afraid to say it. Double high fives.

Annnd…Random House has generously offered up two copies of Wife 22 for two U.S. readers of the blog. All you have to do is ‘fess up…what’s the last romantic gesture someone made for you that made your knees go weak? [Giveaway runs until midnight central time on Friday, May 25, 2012.]

GIVEAWAY RESULTS: Congrats Debbie and Con! Check your email for details. Thanks to everyone who commented. :)

Preorder this (out 05/29/12) from Indiebound or for your Nook.

* Alice’s answers are listed sporadically, and the questions are at the end of the book. I never flipped and didn’t feel the need to. In fact, I think Gideon would have been better off leaving them off entirely, allowing the reader to wonder instead what Alice is saying with each response. In other words, don’t peek. Just leave it and enjoy the story.
P.S. Check out my post on Afterwards to see if you won the giveaway!

May 012012
 
  • So my iPhone bit the dust a few weeks ago. We had a great relationship, we really did, but after a few years of intimacy, he just started staring off into space when I talked and freezing up when I wanted to do anything together. In other words, I had to go spend wayyyy too much money trading up.

The salesman at AT&T took one look at my phone and started laughing. Apparently, all those audiobooks are kind of big files, so yeah, I had no memory left. But Siri!

Wow – she can supposedly do a lot of things, but I have used her mostly for things like this:

Siri! Remind me to write a blog post about your hook book!

Siri! Remind me to dig out my copy of Othello to compare notes to I, Iago!

I know. I’m ridiculous, but it’s really like having a personal assistant. I even asked Siri to remind me to write a blog post about how I use Siri to write blog posts. ;)

  • Teachers! So I know it’s the end of the semester and all, but Edmodo sent me an email last week, and apparently now they have apps. So I had to share with you Pixton.

Pixton is an available app on Edmodo, but it’s also an independent website where you can create comics – so I guess not just for teachers! You can choose how many panels as well as the style. From there, you choose your background, characters, props, speech clouds, etc. You can manipulate the images as well, and there’s even a way for you to record voices and play them, too. I had a lot of fun playing around with this and actually assigned my students to work on a comic this week. Here’s how I presented the assignment:

  • Yvette posted her 101 favorite mysteries and/or thrillers, and it’s a fabulous list she spent quite a bit of time formulating, complete with synopses. Check it out!
  • After last week’s World Book Night success, I wanted everyone to know how to stay in the know for next year. World Book Night actually has a mailing list signup, so if you’re at all interested, I’d get on board now.
  • Andi fell in love with Outlander, and her gushing really makes me want to revisit the Fraser family.
  • If you haven’t seen The North Avenue Irregulars, do yourself a favor and watch it. Loved it as a kid, still cracked up laughing as an adult. (And yes I know this has nothing to do with books. But couldn’t you use a good old-fashioned laugh?)
  • If you haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey but wonder what all the fuss is about (I feel like I have read it from all the buzz), take a look at Buzzfeed’s “The 15 Best/Worst Lines from Erotic Bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey'” [NSFW].
  • Then watch Ellen Degeneres try to narrate. It’s pretty fantastic.

Randomness.
What to look for this week? Two new books with reviews. I promise there will be a Fridays at Home post, and if you guys ever want to see the bookish advice column again, I NEED QUESTIONS. Tell your ma, pa, sis, bro, bff and send them my way via thepickygirlblog@gmail.com. Now I’m off to read Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon because I am totally engrossed. Can’t wait to talk about this book!
Peace up, B-town.
 

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