"The Wife Between Us" by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Almost as timeless as the tale of boy meets girl is the tale of boy-leaves-girl-brokenhearted.
That’s just the part they don’t show in the rom-coms. You know, after the credits roll.
Also timeless is the tale of broken-hearted-girl-loses-her-shit-because-we-all-know-a-woman-is-nothing-without-a-man.
Okay, maybe not so much that last one.
I love twisty thrillers, so when this book, touted as the twistiest of twisty thrillers, landed on my (digital) doorstep, I jumped at the opportunity to read it.
The description was exceptionally vague, essentially telling you only two real things:
1. The book will in some way involve a complex marriage and/or divorce
2. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
I’m down with expect the unexpected, so I rather anxiously, grabbed a glass of red wine, put on my comfy pants and dove in.
What I was hoping for was a truly…well…twisty experience.
I was hoping for plot turns I would never see coming.
Basically, I wanted, a real mind fuck.
Basically, “Gone Girl” but without the slashing NPH’s throat, because that got really fucking real really fucking fast.
So, did I get what I was hoping for?
Yeah, not so much.
By the time I got to chapter three, I was pretty certain that I had figured out “the twist”.
I kept reading, hoping that I would be wrong.
But I wasn’t wrong.
In fairness, as I would come to find, the book was divided into three parts. So while I had accurately forecasted the Part I twist, there were two other parts, each with their own twists.
And, also in fairness, some of the twists, specifically the last twist, revealed in an epilogue, were actually a bit surprising.
But was it the “You’ll never guess what’s going to happen” thrill ride I’d been promised?
Were it just for the fact that the plot points weren’t quite as surprising as I had hoped, I would probably still rate this a four cocktail read.
I did enjoy my reading of it – especially after a glass or two of pinot noir.
(But I would enjoy reading almost anything after enough pinot)
Unfortunately, my enjoyment was hindered by some relatively serious (IMO) technical issues… most specifically, those pertaining to fertility treatments.
I happen to know a lot about fertility treatments.
Not only am I the mom of a Clomid baby, I also ghostwrite for a giant fertility clinic. So… you know… technical inaccuracies in this area are kinda a thorn in my side.
If you haven’t read this book, and don’t want any plot points given away at all, read no further because discussions of these details could be ever-so-slightly spoilerish.
So, when our couple first experiences fertility issues, the reader is told that the advising doctors made the decision to test the sperm first – because that’s less invasive.
So, yeah. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.
Regardless of the results of a semen analysis, any doctor worth his or her salt would also need a comprehensive picture of the woman’s fertility before developing a treatment plan. Even if the semen analysis showed a male factor issue (ie, his sperm isn’t ideal) if they don’t also assess female fertility, there is nothing to say that there isn’t a female factor as well.
And, also, assessing female fertility just isn’t that fucking “invasive” so let’s stop scaring people, mkay?
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only fertility-treatment-related issue.
As we proceed further, the writers constantly bring up the ramifications of the protagonist’s ongoing Clomid use (mainly, that she’s gaining some weight – because NOTHING could possibly be worse than gaining 5-10 lbs… SMH. And, also, only 1 in 100 people who use Clomid report noticeable weight gain so, there’s that).
But here’s the thing – Clomid isn’t an ongoing medicine.
You literally take this medicine for five days... That’s it.
Sure, you may have to do a couple of rounds of Clomid before you get pregnant – so you might end up taking it for five days, it doesn’t work, and then THE NEXT MONTH you take it for five more days.
But you would never.
Be taking Clomid on the daily.
Also, slip on some fucking yoga pants and get over yourself with this “weight gain” BS.
And, before I step off the soapbox, there is one more issue.
This one is the MOST SPOILER-Y. So, I warned you.
As we get pretty far into the book we discover that, by some miracle, her husband lied about getting a semen analysis in the first place (as in, he didn’t get one… ever)
So, how exactly did this work?
The fertility doctor would have required a report directly from the lab detailing count, motility and morphology.
It’s not like the husband could just walk in there and be all, “Oh, yeah, Doc… They say my guys are great.” And the doctor would be all, “Oh, okay. I will take this oral confirmation of your fertility as gospel and proceed.”
Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.
Sure, I can believe our asshole husband, Richard, being the kind of guy who couldn’t own up to issues with his fertility. But I don’t believe that he could have just gotten away with literally not getting a semen analysis.
It’s just not. Fucking. Possible.
Here’s the thing – While these issues might seem—and maybe they are—petty, I find it surprising that, in a book where the inability to conceive a child plays such an essential role, there wasn’t more attention to technical detail.
*End of Spoilers*
All the nitpicking aside, this book was a relatively well-paced thriller with some reasonable surprises. Ultimately, however these issues act as stumbling blocks, slowing my reading and substantially reducing my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
I give it 3 out of 5 cocktails.
Don’t avoid it like the plague, but it’s not one you need to run out and add to your shelf today, IMO.
As I type this review, I’m already half-way through my next read. Want to see what it is? Follow me, here.
How important is technical accuracy to you when it comes to fiction? Does it bother you when you see things that you simply know aren’t correct? Tell me about it in the comments, below.