Review: The Wife Who Got a Life by Tracy Bloom

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 2021
Pages: 384


Cathy Collins is left open-mouthed when her husband hijacks the family’s New Year resolutions and throws in a midlife bombshell, so after years of school drop-offs and housework, Cathy decides it’s time to take control of life before it takes control of her. She makes a list of monthly goals that she hopes will set her up for the coming of middle age.

Can she Ditch Cooking by spring?
Or Get a Life Outside the Family by summer?
Will her husband still be listening in October when it’s time to have a Really Important Chat?
And can she FALL IN LOVE AGAIN by December?

Cathy soon realises that nailing the list isn’t quite as easy as it seems, but she’s a mum on a mission and nothing’s going to stop her now…

My Thoughts…

The Wife Who Got a Life is a light-hearted read following 48-year-old Cathy as she sets out to reclaim her life over a year-long period. I liked the journal/diary form this book used, and I found it particularly helpful to get to know Cathy and understand her reasoning, her fears and her dreams.

This is clearly meant to be a light-hearted read and, even though I didn’t find most of the humour particularly funny, I definitely noticed the multiple attempts and can see how other readers might find this a laugh-out-loud read. Maybe I just wasn’t the target audience for this, but while a lot of the issues Cathy faced felt very realistic, I was often quite irritated by her attitude and that of the people around her.

None of the characters were particularly likeable, nor did they feel very well developed. In fact, most came across as embodying a specific stereotype (e.g. “rebellious teenager”, “selfish younger sister”, “supportive friend” and so on) and barely ever moved from that.

Cathy also came across as extremely passive-aggressive, complaining about people not behaving like she’d like them to but never actually telling anyone what she expects. And, surprise surprise, basically all of the problems she identified with her life at the beginning are solved by having actual conversations with people. I also really didn’t like her constantly shifting the blame on others for things she could have honestly proactively tackled herself.

Her conversation with a GP was a prime example, where she tried to make it out as it being the health practice’s fault for her not knowing about the pill until she was 48 years old. Now, I’m all for having a serious conversation about the multiple ways health systems globally fail women and do not account for their specific needs, but this is taking it one step too far, seeing as this book is set in a place and age where all this information is available if one only were to look for it and the main character is a middle-class, educated white woman.

Overall, this was an underwhelming read for me at best. I definitely appreciated the effort that went into trying to tell this story in a light-hearted yet reflective way, but sadly it just fell flat for me.

Rating: 2/5

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