By Meg Wolitzer
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594487880, April 2011, 288pp.)
The Short of It:
The Uncoupling takes relationships to a whole new level. One where everything bright and shiny is stripped away to reveal the dull, scratched-up surface of what’s underneath. Funny and wry but dead serious at times, The Uncoupling pokes fun at what couples hold dear.
The Rest of It:
When a new drama teacher comes to town and decides to put on a production of Lysistrata, the women of Stellar Plains suddenly turn against their significant others by withholding sex. Although the play is about just that, the women do not consider this fact as a cold wind rolls through town, taking their sexual appetites with them.
This was an interesting read. It’s a satire with a bit of magical realism tossed in. Wolitzer takes a topic that has been discussed many, many times before and somehow makes it fresh. Because let’s face it, women have been turning men away for years. Especially married women. No need to be secretive here but with kids, work and the day-to-day stuff that goes on, it happens all the time.
Except, these women can’t figure out why. They are confused and don’t understand how one day you can be lusting after your husband and the next day…poof! As each character goes within herself to find out why, insecurities and frustration come flooding out.
This is one of those novels where characters are well-developed and likable but don’t really matter. I should say, that their names don’t really matter. These characters are universal and can be found in any town and I think Wolitzer purposely wrote them that way. In fact, the town…neither big nor small could be Anytown, USA. It’s a “slice of life” story. The kind of story that allows you to take what you want from it.
I will say this, towards the end of the book, a political statement is made regarding the war in Afghanistan and although I can see why Wolitzer thought it would tie-in, it didn’t and actually pulled me right out of the story. The magical elements disintegrated and I was quickly brought back to reality.
In summary, I liked the story and how the characters meshed with one another and I liked how generic the characters were. It allowed me to easily escape into their world. I found the writing to be beautiful and although the ending sort of threw me, it didn’t affect my overall feeling towards the book. I am not a fan of magical realism but it was very subtle and handled well. Overall, a quick but engaging read.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.
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