A.S.A. Harrison’s “The Silent Wife”

na[1]A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife is a psychological drama that any married couple can relate to. Of course, this is not to say that any wife who is distraught with her husband would plan to murder him, but that’s what this novel is about.

The Silent Wife is reminiscent of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl—both in its theme (husband’s infidelity) and format (chapters alternate voices, Him & Her).

Jodi and Todd have been living in a common-law marriage for twenty years, and they have been quite happy with each other, until Todd hits a cliché midlife crisis and goes astray.

“Two decades of believing that her way of life was secure, and it turns out that she was hanging by a thread all along.” This sentence shows precisely just how grave Jodi’s situation becomes. She’s about to lose absolutely everything. (Which, I think, serves as a warning for anyone living in a common-law marriage. Secure a union with your partner with a marriage license, my friends!)

Jodi, a perfect wife, who has always believed that she’s in charge of her life, now feels lost. That’s why she keeps holding on to the status quo. A therapist, whose job is to heal her patients’ minds and relationships, she is unable to deal with her own problem. First, she is ignorant of it, then she’s in denial, and when she finally faces it, she is…well, as the title suggests, silent.

This woman’s inertia makes you feel so infuriated that you want to grab her by her shoulders and shake her into action, saying, Don’t be such a doormat, for Pete’s sake, do something!

She does something, all right. And it’s not what a sensible woman, with a doctorate degree in psychology no less, would do. She doesn’t confront her cheating husband, doesn’t throw a fit, doesn’t kick him out. She goes for the jugular.

Then again, she does it only when she is “pushed” by someone else. Strangely, even though Todd’s betrayal and their crumbling marriage have been the only things that have occupied her mind for months, Jodi does what she does without thinking it through, without predicting the consequences.

The Silent Wife is a fascinating tale of love, betrayal, cruelty, and revenge. Although the author states right in the beginning that the wife will murder her husband, the suspense is not ruined for us. It keeps us intrigued all the way through. We also keep flipping pages because it’s damn well written.

I’m very sad that A.S.A. Harrison died in 2013. She was a very talented writer.

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