“A skillful blend of pop-culture references, acidic humor, and emotional moments. It will take its rightful place . . . alongside Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, Anna Maxted’s Getting Over It, and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It.”—Library Journal (starred review)
Alice has been married to her husband, William, for twenty years. Though she can still remember the first time they met like it was yesterday, these days she finds herself posting things on Facebook that she used to confide to him. So when she’s invited to participate in an anonymous online survey on marriage and love, she finds that all her longings come pouring out as she dutifully answers questions under the name “Wife 22.”
Evaluating her responses is “Researcher 101,” who seems to listen to her in a way that William hasn’t in a very long time, and before she knows it, she finds herself trying hard not to e-flirt with him. Meanwhile, her elderly father is chatting on Facebook, her fifteen-year-old daughter is tweeting, and everything in her life is turning upside down.
Wife 22 is a hilariously funny, profoundly moving, and deeply perceptive novel about the ways we live and love in this technological age, from a dazzling new voice in fiction.
“An LOL Instagram about love in a wired world.”—People
“Vibrant, au courant, and hilarious . . . brilliant!”—Adriana Trigiani
BONUS: This edition includes a Wife 22 discussion guide.
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May 28, 2012
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Excerpt from Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
GOOGLE SEARCH "Eyelid Drooping"
About 54,300 results (.14 seconds)
Eyelid Drooping: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Eyelid drooping is excessive sagging of the upper eyelid . . . Eyelid drooping can make somebody appear sleepy or tired.
Eyelid Drooping . . . Natural Alternatives
Speak from the chin-�up position. Try not to furrow your brow, as this will only compound your problems . . .
Droopy Dog . . . eyelid drooping
American cartoon character . . . drooping eyelids. Last name McPoodle. Catchphrase . . . "You know what? That makes me mad."
I stare into the bathroom mirror and wonder why nobody has told me my left eyelid has grown a little hood. For a long time I looked younger than I was. And now, suddenly all the years have pooled up and I look my age--�forty-�four, possibly older. I lift the excess skin with my finger and waggle it about. Is there some cream I can buy? How about some eyelid pushups?
"What's wrong with your eye?"
Peter pokes his head into the bathroom and despite my irritation at being spied on, I am happy to see my son's freckled face. At twelve, his needs are still small and easily fulfilled: Eggos and Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs--�the ones with the cotton waistband.
"Why didn't you tell me?" I say.
I depend on Peter. We're close, especially in matters of grooming. We have a deal. His responsibility is my hair. He'll tell me when my roots are showing so I can book an appointment with Lisa, my hairdresser. And in return, my responsibility is his odor. To make sure he doesn't exude one. For some reason, twelve-�year-�old boys can't smell their underarm funk. He does run-�bys in the mornings, arm raised, waving a pit at me so I can get a whiff. "Shower," I almost always say. On rare occasions I lie and say "you're fine." A boy should smell like a boy.
"Tell you what?"
"About my left eyelid."
"What--�that it hangs down over your eye?"
"Only a tiny bit."
I look in the mirror again. "Why didn't you say something?"
"Well, why didn't you tell me Peter was slang for penis?"
"It is not."
"Yes, apparently it is. A peter and two balls?"
"I swear to you I have never heard that expression before."
"Well, now you understand why I'm changing my name to Pedro."
"What happened to Frost?"
"That was in February. When we were doing that unit on Robert Frost."
"So now the road has diverged and you want to be Pedro?" I ask.
Middle school, I've been told, is all about experimenting with identity. It's our job as parents to let our kids try on different personas, but it's getting hard to keep up. Frost one day, Pedro the next. Thank God Peter is not an EMO, or is it IMO? I have no idea what EMO/IMO stands for--�as far as I can tell it's a subset of Goth, a tough kid who dyes his hair black and wears eyeliner, and no, that is not Peter. Peter is a ro�mantic.
"Okay," I say. "But have you considered Peder? It's the Norwegian version of Peter. Your friends could say 'later, Peder.' There's nothing that rhymes with Pedro. Do we have any Scotch tape?"
I want to tape up my eyelid--�see what it would look like if I got it fixed.
"Fade-�dro," says Peter. "And I like your sagging eyelid. It makes you look like a dog."
My mouth drops open. You know what? That makes me mad.
"No, like Jampo," he says.
Peter is referring to our two-�year-�old mutt, half Tibetan spaniel, half God-�knows-�what-�else: a twelve-�pound, high-�strung Mussolini of a dog who eats his own poop. Disgusting, yes, but convenient if you think about it. You never have to carry around those plastic bags.
"Drop it, Jampo, you little shit!" Zoe yells from downstairs.
We can hear the dog running manically on the hardwood floors, most likely carting around a roll of toilet paper, which next to poop is his favorite treat. Jampo means "gentle" in Tibetan, which of course turned out to be the complete opposite of the dog's personality, but I don't mind; I prefer a spirited dog. The past year and a half has been like having a toddler in the house again and I've loved every minute of it. Jampo is my baby, the third child I'll never have.
"He needs to go out. Honey, will you take him? I have to get ready for tonight."
Peter makes a face.
"Thank you. Hey, wait--�before you go, do we have any Scotch tape?"
"I don't think so. I saw some duct tape in the junk drawer, though."
I consider my eyelid. "One more favor?"
"What?" Peter sighs.
"Will you bring up the duct tape after you've walked the dog?"
"You are my number-�one son," I say.
"Your only son."
"And number one at math," I say, kissing him on the cheek.
Tonight I'm accompanying William to the launch of FiG vodka, an account he and his team at KKM Advertising have been working on for weeks now. I've been looking forward to it. There'll be live music. Some hot new band, three women with electric violins from the Adirondacks or the Ozarks--�I can't remember which.
"Business dressy," William said, so I pull out my old crimson Ann Taylor suit. Back in the '90s when I, too, worked in advertising, this was my power suit. I put it on and stand in front of the full-�length mirror. The suit looks a little outdated, but maybe if I wear the chunky silver necklace Nedra got me for my birthday last year it will mask the fact that it has seen better days. I met Nedra Rao fifteen years ago at a Mommy and Me playgroup. She's my best friend and also happens to be one of the top divorce lawyers in the state of California who I can always count on to give very sane, very sophisticated $425-�an-�hour advice to me for free because she loves me. I try and see the suit through Nedra's eyes. I know just what she'd say: "You can't be bloody serious, darling," in her posh English accent. Too bad. There's nothing else in my closet that qualifies as "business dressy." I slip on my pumps and walk downstairs.