The Wife's Tale
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Joan Burton
ary Gooch has been married for twenty-five years. Her husband Jimmy, or Gooch, as he is known to everyone, is a handsome, easy going man. Mary often looks at him and wonders why she has been so lucky as to have him in her life. She has known Gooch since high school, and she has seen the way other women look at her husband. Mary works at the local drugstore in the small farming town of Leaford, Ontario where they live, and Gooch drives a truck, taking him on the road making deliveries - he's sometimes gone for days at a time.
ow in middle age, Mary feels her life unraveling. It seems that she and Gooch are drifting apart. Mary has a problem, one that she has battled her entire life. She is obese, and turns to food for everything. She isolates herself from other people, tired of the stares, finger pointing, and laughter. She takes no interest in anything but what she wants to eat next. Food comforts Mary when she is lonely, and distracts her from the memories of her childhood, and the heartache of miscarriages.
n the eve of their twenty-fifth anniversary Gooch disappears. He has been out all night, not returning home for their anniversary dinner with friends. Mary can only reach his voice mail, and she fears he may have been in an accident. After a visit from Gooch's boss she learns they have found his truck abandoned in town. With no reports from the local hospital or the police, Mary is confused and frightened. Days later, Mary finds a note from Gooch that she has overlooked. He apologizes but tells her he has to get away and spend time by himself. Mary turns to food for comfort and soon starts to panic. Gooch has done everything for her, sheltered her from life, and now she does not even know how to use their bank card.
fter days of thinking over her situation, Mary makes a choice to go after Gooch and fight for her marriage. And so begins Mary's journey of self discovery, as she starts realizing she has the power to change within herself. She boards a plane for California and discovers a world she never knew existed. She finds help, support and kindness from total strangers, willing to aid her on her quest. From Big Avi the limo driver, to staff at the bank, a mother-in-law she never really knew, Mexican farm workers down on their luck, to a young mother struggling with her own problems, Mary finds not only comfort, power, and peace, but true friends.
he Wife's Tale
is a story of self discovery, and Mary is a very real, believable character. As the story unfolded I was cheering her on and amazed by her transformation. Once again Lansens has delivered.
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