Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Book Review: Wife Support System

By Sara Steven

We’ve got the balance all wrong. Instead of living with our partners, struggling to do everything by ourselves and only seeing each other now and then, we should do it the other way round. We should live together and see them now and then.

Erica knows her suggestion sounds extreme, but when her nanny leaves without notice, she’s extremely desperate. Polly and Louise aren’t convinced, but when circumstances force them to move into Polly’s enormous but run-down house, they have to admit that life’s much easier when the childcare and workload is shared.

At first, communal living seems like the answer to all their prayers - childcare on tap, rotas for cleaning, and someone always available to cook dinner (no more last-minute pizza delivery!). But over time, resentment starts to grow as they judge each other’s parenting styles and bicker over cleaning, cooking and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls.

And as one woman has her head turned by a handsome colleague, one resorts to spying on her husband and another fights to keep a dark secret, they need each other more than ever. But can Polly, Louise and Erica keep their friendship and relationships strong? Or will their perfect mumtopia fall apart? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

This was an entirely unique story, particularly where familial living and friendships are concerned. After reading Erica’s suggestion on moving in with her friend Polly, while also convincing their friend Louise to join in on that decision, I couldn’t help but wonder what my own life would be like had I decided to forgo tradition and move in with some of my closest girlfriends. I think it would be equal parts fun and chaos, which is exactly what these three women experience!

Told from all three perspectives, we learn that Erica has continual guilt over being a working mother. She feels torn between a job she’s spent years cultivating and the relationship she has with her daughter. Then there’s Louise, who doesn’t feel secure in her marriage or in her own skin, period. Polly has secrets that she’s kept hidden for so long, she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep up the facade. They are all hurting in various ways yet have a difficult time coming to terms with that, or sharing those feelings with one another. I appreciated that each character lets the reader know their internal thoughts, so we fully understand what they’re up against, and really, it’s a lot.

The home that Polly shares with her friends felt like another character within Wife Support System, representing the inhabitants under its roof. From Erica’s shaky foundation to Louise’s lack of care when it comes to her appearance, or Polly’s need to hide asbestos (badness) within the walls, there is so much more than what is seen, but on further inspection, the home has good bones and potential. I felt that way about these touching characters who have a lot of fumbles along the way, or often feel stuck and that there is nothing more than can do to change their situations. Even when there are lifelines, they are overlooked.

Wife Support System focuses on change. Change within relationships, change within one’s self, the ability to see something for what it is and do what needs to be done to survive life. I appreciated the romantic moments, the parental ones, too, yet it was the sisterhood between Erica, Louise and Polly while facing change that really sealed the deal for me, watching them navigate through choppy waters and having each other’s backs as much as can be, given the situations that are thrown at them. It was a uniquely touching experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Kobo * Apple

Kathleen Whyman is a writer for Writers’ Forum magazine, a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her second book was recently long-listed for the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Comedy Novel prize. Visit Kathleen on Twitter.

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