"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review #54: The Spare Wife, by Alex Witchel

Ponce Morris is known in her New York socialite circle as the "spare wife". Loved by all, she can plan a luncheon with her girlfriends, and then sit courtside at the Knicks with the husbands, and nobody's jealous. Babette Steele, a social-climbing hungry journalist, spies Ponce kissing a very married man, and sets out to destroy her.

That's pretty much the novel. There are other subplots - the married man's wife is a paragon of virtue, Ponce's best friend's husband is having an affair with none other than Babette, someone else is falling apart in the wake of his wife's death - but all that really happens is people run around having lunch, having sex, and lying to each other. I didn't find a single character to like.

The story had potentail, but it fell flat. I couldn't get past Babette's name, or Ponce's for that matter. And I struggled with believing that Ponce's friendships with the husbands never cause any ripples among any of the them. The male characters were especially one-dimensional; they were portrayed as over-sexed, over-moneyed, over-Viagra'd weaklings. I wondered at how they possibly made their fortunes if they were this dumb at life.

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