The Good Wife

Yesterday I finished with "The Good Wife," by Stewart O'Nan. I liked it, but it left me wanting more from the story — I think it could have been longer without suffering (my edition was 308 pages). The novel tells the story of Patty, a woman in a small town whose husband is sent to prison for close to 30 years. He and a buddy break into houses occasionally, and one night someone is home. An old lady is somehow killed, but O'Nan never makes it clear whether Patty's husband, Tommy, or his buddy killed her. Patty is pregnant as the story begins, and she raises her son alone, with the help of her sister and mother. We see everything through Patty's eyes.

I enjoyed the story and the writing, but about halfway through something started to bug me: I wanted more character development.

Maybe it was the fact that the story takes place in upstate New York, and I kept thinking I was reading a Joyce Carol Oates novel. Whatever it was, I wanted to learn more about the characters. I know how Patty feels about the situation. But what about Tommy? What about their son? O'Nan spends a lot of time on Patty wondering about what her husband and son are thinking and feeling, but we never really get much of a glimmer from either.

Obviously, we do see a lot of development of Patty — her strength and determination to hold her family together almost never wane, and I liked seeing her grow throughout the novel.

My recommendation? If it's been on your list, get it. If you're looking for some decent beach reading, you might want to take a look.

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