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Book Review: A Reliable Wife

March 16, 2011

In a word: horrible.

It’s been awhile since I read a book this bad. In fact, I may never have read a book this bad.

Such things happen.

A Reliable Wife starts out slow and never picks up speed. The contrived, implausible, paper-thin plot took about 70 pages to develop. A wealthy, unhappy middle-aged man advertises for a wife. The rest of the story is filled with wordy sentences, rambling narratives, stumbling dialogue, plot inconsistencies and one-dimensional characters so undeveloped and uninteresting as to almost be stale. And sex. Lots of sex. This is a lurid romance trying to pass itself off as literary fiction. There’s no mystery here, there’s no drama here, no thrills or suspense, no passion or intrigue. Worst of all, there’s no story here. I’ve read bad books before, and A Reliable Wife will takes its well deserved spot on that list, but I’ve never been as bored reading a book in my life as I was with A Reliable Wife.

Such things happen.

I think A Reliable Wife started out as a short story, maybe a novella, and then someone suggested the author should add (only) another 100,000, or so, words to his short story and he’d have a complete novel. It’s in those extra 100,000 extra words where the story really crashes. I’m not going to cite examples because, even though they’re on every page of this overlong book, that would mean I’d have to go back and read those passages again and I have no plans on handling A Reliable Wife again until I try and sell it at the used bookstore. I’m hoping they have a new employee working on that day.

The best thing about A Reliable Wife from my perspective is that if this book can get published then there’s hope for anyone who enjoys writing to eventually see their work in print, so keep writing!

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