I have waiting far to long to do a full-length review any sort of justice, so this is what you get. That’s beauty of being the author of this blog.
Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Source: Personal Collection
I thought this was a beautifully written novel. I thought the plot was interesting even if I had no empathy for any of the characters. And I loved the dark side to it. But (and here is the big BUT that caused my rating for this book to plummet) there was simply too much focus on sex. And now the review is going to digress into a general rant.
I don’t think I’m a prude (although maybe I am given this post) but I kind of feel that books are better than sex. I understand that it is a part of life and I don’t mind it being in a book. But I do mind when it is so much of the book. And when it seems entirely unnecessary. I don’t need to know about Ralph’s inner desires. I just don’t. And I don’t think people in general are as driven by sex as the characters in this book are. We fill our music and movies and television with sex. Can’t we have one medium that remains above this?
If there had been less…what’s the right word…desire?…in the book, I think I could have really liked it. But that just turned me off (ironic?) so much that I just couldn’t get into it. I know a lot of people out there LOVED this book so don’t let me stop you from reading it. In fact, I am going to leave you with some gushing reviews since this post really isn’t any kind of review at all (and now after reading those, I think I must have missed something).
- Michelle’s Masterful Musings
- Literate Housewife
- The Book Lady’s Blog
- S. Krishna’s Books
- There are actually a bunch more. These were just the four most recent in my google reader. Everyone else except me and my book club) loved this book.
I usually don’t like sex in books, but it didn’t bother me as much in this book, because to me it seemed so informed by their psyches, and not completely gratuitous like in so many books (and movies, and tv shows).
I think you’re right – that it seemed like an important part of the characters, but I guess I just don’t think people are as driven by desire as these characters were.
I’ve read a lot of reviews for this book and I don’t think anyone else has mentioned the sex issue.
Personally, I don’t mind it being there either as long as it has a purpose and serves to move the story along. If not, then you have to wonder what the point of it is.
It definitely affected my reading but then when I went to book club and everyone else felt the same way, I think it became the main thing I remembered about this book.
But we are apparently the only 4 people who feel that way. 🙂
I felt exactly the same way. It wasn’t even the sex itself, it was the fact that it seemed to be the ONLY thing they thought about. It normally never bothers me in books, but this was just constant. When they weren’t doing it, they were thinking about the last time or the next time. They thought about how evil it was or wonderful it was. It was over the top.
A kindred spirit. Hooray!
Sorry to know that you didn’t like the book. I wish you had written a little bit more about the story though 🙂 I love the book’s cover – it is beautiful.
Well I did confess that this wasn’t really a true review. 😉
Oh, do I get where you’re coming from! Too much sex in novels really gets on my nerves, especially when there’s a constant focus on either very explicit sex-scenes or on the sexual desires of people. Surely, there must be more interesting things about a character?
Personally I really don’t mind sex scenes in books, but I don’t think you’re a prude at all. There are definitely times when less is more.
I haven’t read this book yet, but I definitely know what you mean. Unless I’m reading a romance novel (which, I don’t intentionally do – nothing against those who do, but it just isn’t my genre of choice) sex just for sex’s sake is just distracting. I don’t mind when it is included because it contributes to the story in some manner, but too much of a good thing is…well, no longer a good thing!