Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book 24 - The Wife's Tale

One of Mary's first memories is of going to the doctor and being told that she is obese. In her young mind this sounds like a terrible word, like a monster in a fairy tale. She calls it the "obeast" and it controls her life for many years to come.

The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens was in some ways a very good book, but in other ways it let me down as well. It is the tale of Mary Gooch, morbidly obese and depressed, who's husband leaves her suddenly right before their 25th anniversary.

In some ways, you might think that her husband left her because she is fat, but really that is rarely the case. Often the weight is merely a symptom of larger problems. Mary's husband was very popular in high school, and they are married shot-gun style although they later lose the baby. Mary is incapable of dealing with this or any loss and turns to the fridge for comfort. She was only ever able to become thin through unhealthy ways, and never learns how to properly nourish herself.

After her husband leaves, Mary is finally forced to wake up and take some sort of action. Although she is still unable to take her health seriously, she becomes unable to eat at all, almost afraid of food. Still, desperate to find her husband and repair their marriage, she follows what few clues she has. This takes her all the way from a small town in Ontario, through Toronto and then to her mother in law's home in Golden Hills California. Along the way she meets many new people, has adventures and difficulties and learns that there is more to life than just existing and eating.

However as stated before, I wasn't entirely pleased with this tale. I felt that there were a great deal of loose ends left at its conclusion. It was really close to being very good, but sadly fell short. I did find myself taken in quite a bit by Mary Gooch, and was sad to see this one end. I guess I am to use my imagination to know how she ends up, and while I appreciate that an ambiguous ending is a narrative device, it is not one that I enjoy.

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