Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

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“A skillful blend of pop-culture references, acidic humor, and emotional moments. It will take its rightful place . . . alongside Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, Anna Maxted’s Getting Over It, and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It.”—Library Journal (starred review)

Alice has been married to her husband, William, for twenty years.  Though she can still remember the first time they met like it was yesterday, these days she finds herself posting things on Facebook that she used to confide to him. So when she’s invited to participate in an anonymous online survey on marriage and love, she finds that all her longings come pouring out as she dutifully answers questions under the name “Wife 22.”

Evaluating her responses is “Researcher 101,” who seems to listen to her in a way that William hasn’t in a very long time, and before she knows it, she finds herself trying hard not to e-flirt with him. Meanwhile, her elderly father is chatting on Facebook, her fifteen-year-old daughter is tweeting, and everything in her life is turning upside down.

Wife 22 is a hilariously funny, profoundly moving, and deeply perceptive novel about the ways we live and love in this technological age, from a dazzling new voice in fiction.

“An LOL Instagram about love in a wired world.”—People
“Vibrant, au courant, and hilarious . . . brilliant!”—Adriana Trigiani

BONUS: This edition includes a Wife 22 discussion guide.

About Melanie Gideon

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Melanie Gideon is the bestselling author of The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, which was named an NPR and San Francisco Chronicle best book of the year. She is also the author of two young adult novels: Pucker and The Map That Breathed, both New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, More, Shape, The Times, the Daily Mail, and Marie Claire. She was born and raised in Rhode Island. She now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.
Published May 29, 2012 by Ballantine Books. 418 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Erotica. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wife 22

Kirkus Reviews

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A domestic romantic fantasy for maturing but computer-savvy Bridget Jones fans, Gideon's first adult novel (The Slippery Year, 2009) concerns a wife torn between her uncommunicative, grumpy husband and the charming stranger she flirts with online.

May 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Publishers Weekly

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In her superb first novel, Gideon (The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, a memoir) artfully traces the contours of a dull marriage in the age of Facebook. Alice and William Buckle sta

Apr 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Publishers Weekly

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Dubbed “Wife 22” and assigned a caseworker called “Researcher 101,” Alice begins answering his probing questions (though readers are usually privy only to her responses), rendering Alice and her marriage in impressionistic strokes vibrantly textured with succinct, revealing details: “15.

Apr 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Book Reporter

Beyond all the usual concerns and fear about aging, Alice is also struggling with what her bereavement group calls the "tipping point year" --- when she will become the age that her mother, who died when Alice was a teenager, never reached.

Jun 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

RT Book Reviews

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The Bookbag

Some of the chapters were solely devoted to Alice's answers to specific survey questions and it was delightful reading about their courtship but then very sad to read how, from her point of view, the marriage was disintegrating.

Feb 03 2015 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

USA Today

Not Alice Buckle, the protagonist in Melanie Gideon's debut novel, Wife 22.

Mar 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

San Francisco Chronicle

Best friend Nedra - divorce lawyer, domestically partnered, lesbian mom - is making plans to marry her longtime lover, thereby providing a compare, compete and contrast device between Nedra's passionate, lively love and the slow, sad demise of Alice and William's.

Sep 20 2013 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Look At OKC

The researcher's thoughtful questions and responses become more and more personal as she begins to unearth memories, and the correspondence takes an unexpected turn.

May 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22


Whether Alice can extend her gracious and optimistic nature toward her husband is the crux of Wife 22, and thus this reviewer will remain mum, to avoid spoiling the novel’s exquisitely unexpected ending.

Jun 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Portland Book Review

Alice Buckle has been married 20 years and feels like she has lost who she is, and the romance she once shared with her husband, William, has vanished.

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Open Salon

A native New Yorker born to Puerto Rican & Sicilian parents in Spanish Harlem's El Barrio, Literanista is a Social Media Strategist, a published poet/writer, formerly worked at in the Hachette Book Group Online Marketing Dept, and now scouts the web for multicultural literary news, trends, innova...

Apr 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

Red Online

She starts answering an anonymous internet questionnaire about 'Marriage in the 21st Century' - where she is assigned the label Wife 22 - and finds herself falling in love with the guy on the other end of her answers - Researcher 101.

Jul 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22


Watching Alice pause and reflect before she chooses a path is what makes Wife 22 such a fun read, which sometimes hit a little too close to home.

Sep 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Wife 22

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