The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens

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This is the second book by Lori Lansens that I have read, and like the other The Girls, I was not disappointed in The Wife’s Tale

This is the story of Mary Gooch, a morbidly obese Canadian woman whose husband leaves her on the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary.  When she reads his note, she learns that he had won the lottery, left her some money, and went off to think things through.

Mary doesn’t accept this, she goes off to California, to where his mother lives in the hopes of finding him.  My only qualm with the book is all of the things that happen to her in California and how she handles them.  Some of the things just seemed a little too pat, a little too planned out, and even a little too over the top.  But then I thought about it, and really this book reads like a fairy tale.  Only instead of the princess finding her prince at the end of her long journey, she finds herself.

Because that’s what this novel is, it is the story of Mary Gooch finding herself.  I found strength and encouragement reading this book, it made me want to be strong like Mary.  I am not obese (or obeast, which is what she thought it was called when she young) and I don’t have the kind of relationship with food that she has.  I imagine though, that if I was (or did), I would find even more in this book that spoke to me. 


This is the perfect book for Food For Thought, because this whole book is about food and how we relate to it.  Though once again, in typical me-fashion, I have stretched the thin thread between the book and my food.  My food is sushi.  What???  Yeah, I know.  But when I think of sushi, I think of the ubiquitous California roll…and Mary went to California…see.  Pretty genius.  Sort of. 


And I didn’t make this sushi, it was some I picked up at Publix!  Grocery store sushi!  But it was surprisingly good as was this book!

One last thing…has anyone noticed that I wrote an entire book review without copying a paragraph from Amazon? 

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  1. says

    This sounds like it could be one of those books that is hard to put down. Those self-discovery books keep me reading and reading to find out what happens.

  2. says

    Kudos for not copying; I have to write reviews of sort (a.k.a. shameless advertisements, ahem) for my job at the library each day. I always end up…um…”paraphrasing.”

  3. says

    So glad you mentioned this book again. I meant to write it down the first time. . . !

    When my husband is left to fend for himself, he would much rather go to the supermarket for sushi than a fast-food place. He says it’s quite good. (And he’s sure as heck not going to cook anything!)

  4. says

    Hooray for original book reviews! Hooray for great food we don’t have to cook! Hooray for a good read! (And maybe even hooray for TGIF, right?)

  5. says

    I actually tried to read “The Wife’s Tale”. It was left in the seatback on the plane and it was a long flight and I was bored. You’re right though. I found it too whiney!!! It’s not like she couldn’t see there was a problem before there was THE problem. I don’t know… But you are SO right about sushi from Publix! It’s pretty good!!!

  6. says

    I noticed right away :-). You’ve made me curious about the book. I’ll have to see if I can get a “talking book’ version of it at the library. I’m a huge fan of sushi, by the way.

  7. says

    Best book review so far! And the pictures of sushi…. my weakness. Also from California there is nothing better than a good California Roll. I’m on a sushi binge at the moment in an attempt to eat as much raw fish as possible before I am no longer allowed it due to pregnancy.

    Only thing that made me sad was the title of the book… Guess I’ll have to think of something else for my novel! Joking… 😉

  8. says

    Perhaps I will pick up a copy for my plane ride next week…only appropriate considering my destination. But do you think the airport will have good sushi rolls? Probably not. Will have to wait until we land in SFO.

  9. says

    FRACK! yeah Publix comes THIS close to us in Tennessee and can’t get to Knoxville yet? Grrrrrr

    Having grown up in Florida and being a competitor of Publix for 17 years, I know them well and they are a top notch grocer. Maybe soon they’ll be here….maybe soon.

  10. says

    I think I would like this book alot. Did you read “Night Swimming?” Same idea, kind of, and I loved it.

    The premise is: Overweight girl living in NH gets terminal cancer diagnosis so she robs the bank she works for and hits the road to finally live. Problem is the diagnosis was a mistake and a tenacious cop is on her tail…all the way to California. Hmmm…

    It had the same unbelievable, yet appealing, fairy tale quality.

  11. says

    Soon you’ll be reviewing for the NYTimes. I can feel is 😛

    From what you described, this book does seem very fairy tale-like. Not that that’s a bad thing! Sometimes we need a little bit of that.

    Oh sushi. How I love it. This was the perfect excuse to pick some up.

  12. says

    It sounds like a good read and the kind of book I like. I am a fan of the brown rice sushi at Whole Foods but will grab sushi at any decent supermarket when I get a craving. 😉

  13. says

    i am glad to read both her reviews today, what a treat, mary did the girls and now you this~ i love the sound of this book, being rather beasty i am sure it will hit a few chords… ok make that a symphony!

    i am cracking up at the california roll… get it, she takes her rolls and rolls into ca? of course you don’t get it, you have no rolls in sight… as a heavily rolled californian i think its hysterical :-)

    fabulous shots!

    thanks so much for playing at food for thought, and for not plagiarizing amazon, this book is on my thick list!

  14. says

    Terrific book review! I’m not a sushi fan, but my husband would definitely enjoy this spread. Both The Girls and this book sound like books I’d enjoy reading. I’m adding them to my list. Thanks again!

  15. says

    I found it odd that Mary’s husband doesn’t make an appearance. I kept waiting for it, and really wanted him to see the ‘new Mary’. I found it rather anti-climatic that they never had closure.

    I agree with the comparisons to ‘Night Swimming’, also reminded me of Wally Lamb’s ‘She’s Come Undone’. Not her best novel.

  16. says

    See, you can write book reviews!! You even convinced me to get a copy of this book. Not so much the sushi, though. 😉

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