Review: Like Being a Wife by Catherine Harris

Like Being a Wife

by Catherine Harris

Smart, funny and surprisingly subversive.

Daisy is married to her job, Shirley de Young is engaged to Jack but would as soon be married to herself, while Joannie has left her husband for a fling with the movie star Ralph Fiennes. Brad is inspired by the Eureka uprising to break up with his girlfriend, and unexpected influx of babies – two thousand of them – makes Jenny question the meaning of her life.

Flitting from Sydney to Melbourne, Canberra to California, this loosely linked collection of stories shines a bright fluorescent light on family, friendships, work, love and loss.

I have read this book twice, and for me the stories where better the second time around, I got their connection more, when the publishers say ‘loosely linked’ they mean loosely connected by their bad behaviours and subconscious nastiness, not by their relationships, although some of the characters in each short story do know each other, either as friends or acquaintances.

It was a book that I managed to read really quickly (in 2 days the first time around but I took my time and read each short story on its own merit the second time around.)  The writing itself was enjoyable, with a lot of a tongue in cheek humour, with a not so subtle go at human nature, the characters are brutally honest – even if only with themselves!, so therefore is not a warm fuzzy book, but more a stocktake for our own development and actions.

It’s not often that I read short stories and have decided that this is a genre that I need more exposure to, as I have discovered that I am a reader who needs the character development and story complexity that a novel brings. 

If reading this book then be sure to approach it as novella’s only connected by the common theme of discontent and unfulfilment with their lives, within a common cover, rather than a complete story – which is how I started reading it the first time.

With thanks to www.mamamia.com.au for providing this book to review.

Recommended Retail Price $24.95

Published by Random House

Recommended Age: 18+

My Rating: 3/5

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One Response to Review: Like Being a Wife by Catherine Harris

  1. Catherine says:

    Hi. Thanks so much for reading my book, though I’m so sorry that you didn’t enjoy it. Such a shame. I think maybe you were looking for more connections between the stories than were actually there. Just to defend myself, it has actually had a lot of positive reviews. But taste is taste and obviously peoples’ tastes differ. That said, I would be delighted to answer any questions you might have about the book, particularly if it clears up any misunderstandings. Some of the stories are intended as wry, but others not so much. It can be tricky when the styles change like that. Also, the stories are deliberately unsentimental and that can throw people off. With a short story format, readers are often looking for neater resolutions. It’s so great that you’re such an active reader and I really appreciate your comments even if this one wasn’t your cup of tea. All best, Catherine.

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