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How to Be a Good Wife
on 16 September 2014
“Make your home a place of peace and order.”
This book narrates the story of Marta as told by her. It starts off as she is a woman aged in her 40s, her only son grown up and now moved away. She misses him, and has a rather aloof relationship with her husband. At least, that’s how it seems. She seems in her narration at times to be rather dismissive of her husband Hector, and at other times to be unsure of how she came to be married to him; memories are deceptive, or perhaps she’s only now starting to question them. Is that because she’s no longer taking her medications? And what were the medications for? Slowly the reader starts to piece together things from what Marta says, or doesn’t say. Our own conclusions starting to be drawn, we read on to find out if we may be right, or if we have perhaps been misled; by our own emotions/thoughts, or by Marta’s uncertain narrative. Throughout, we read snippets from the book given to her by her mother-in-law on her wedding day, How To Be A Good Wife. Again, we are unsure; are Marta’s relationships the cause of her uncertainties, or are they a result of Marta’s nature?
One thing I found a little odd was why the book was set in what seemed to be a Scandinavian country. Given that the author appears to be English, and living in Australia, I thought there must be a reason for the book’s geographical setting, but there really didn’t seem to be. Perhaps just a whim of the author.
Overall, a pleasant read; very well written, and well paced; but I felt the plot was underdeveloped. There needed to be another edge to the story to make it memorable. As it was, it remains a well written, but forgettable modern nove