The Silent Wife
by Amanda Clark, BCPL adult programming supervisor
There are many similarities in the two novels. Both are psychological thrillers about relationships that are doomed, told in alternating viewpoints. The main difference between the two is that in “Gone Girl”, I spent most of the novel trying to figure out if Nick killed Amy. I didn’t even have to open “The Silent Wife” to find out that Todd dies and Jodi is the killer.
Why read it if you already know how it ends, you ask? I’ll tell you; it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey. Here’s the description from the book itself. Jodi Brett “is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience – which her 20-year marriage to Todd has been slowly eroding – is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her.” Harrison’s novel outlines just how Jodi Brett goes from part-time psychologist to killer.
Jodi and Todd live in a wonderful waterfront condo in Chicago. Jodi sees patients on a part-time basis and is very selective in the patients she chooses. Todd is an affluent developer. The two have lived together for two decades, but never felt the need to legally marry, and have built a life of routine and complacency. They have no children, so they are able to do whatever interests them. For Jodi, it’s taking care of Todd. For Todd, its having affairs with other women, knowing that Jodi will ignore and forgive his philandering. For twenty years, this worked for them. Then, it happens. The thing that makes Jodi a killer. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you, did you?)
Harrison, like Flynn, tells this story in alternating voices, “Her” and “Him” are the chapters throughout the novel. Because both characters tell the story, the reader is privy to each all of their thoughts and emotions every step of the way. The back and forth structure of the novel played a huge role in moving the story along.
I didn’t find Jodi or Todd particularly likeable. Neither was a person I could see myself being friends with. At times, I was pretty sure Todd deserved whatever Jodi had waiting for him, so I guess perhaps I liked him just a little bit less. At others, I wanted Jodi to face reality. When she refused to, I found myself defending Todd.
Likeable or not, the characters drew me in. I wanted to get to the place where Jodi finally decides to kill Todd. I wanted to know what it was that finally put her there.
For me, knowing what was going to happen made the urgency to get to the end that much greater. The conclusion did not disappoint. This year’s “Gone Girl?” Maybe. I’ll let you decide for yourself. In my opinion, “The Silent Wife” is a quick and easy read that will entertain and thrill you. Borrow a copy today from BCPL!