Dear Great Book Guru, This week a group of friends and I saw a fascinating movie “The Wife” starring Glenn Close. When the credits began to roll, we realized that the movie was based on a recent novel. My book group plans on reading and comparing it to the film. Any thoughts on this plan?
Dear Movie Maven, I think this is a great idea. After seeing the film, I read the book THE WIFE by Meg Wolitzer and thoroughly enjoyed both: the differences, the similarities, the overall theme. The book is narrated by Joan Castleman, the wife in question; it opens as she and her husband, a world renowned author, are headed to Helsinki where he will receive yet another prestigious literary award. We learn in the opening paragraphs that Joan plans to end the marriage when they return home. The novel then shifts back to the couple’s first meeting in the 1950’s when Joan was a freshman at Smith College and Joe, a young instructor- husband to Carol and father of an infant daughter. Joe and Joan leave Smith in disgrace, moving to Greenwich Village where he begins his writing career with a hugely popular, autobiographical novel. Wolitzer shifts back and forth over forty-five years- from their courtship and marriage and then back to the present. What we learn about them and the world we all share is shockingly familiar, especially with recent revelations of women’s struggles in multiple arenas. Highly recommended!