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Old 12-01-2019, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevadas (California)
57,962 posts, read 4,290,018 times
Reputation: 18544

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His (Robert) character seemed to be a bit unrealistic, to be so determined as a young man, & then accepting being poisoned, as an older man, didn't really make much sense. Nor did the fact that Catherine & her lover saw Roberts ad & he picked her, from all the applicants. But that is probably a bit nit picky, as many fiction books have unrealistic plots/scenes.

I wasn't sad when the son died, he was a cruel man, as well as self absorbed.

I grew to like Catherine, she redeemed herself, & what a happy ending.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:05 PM
 
2,748 posts, read 2,898,907 times
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If we're going to hash it out now, fine.



As far as the characters go, they were wooden and hollow with not a redeeming member among the bunch. Not even the maid, who at times sought to protect Ralph from Catherine's perceived ill-intentions. For unknown reasons, the maid abruptly disbands her husband after he supposedly went mad and cut off his hand for also no reason. From what I can remember, she never goes to see him after that and seems to be indifferent about it, which was not the case with their partnership earlier in the book.

The two good scenes are when the horse carriage flips over and when Catherine first meets Antonio, but these are short-lived moments. Particularly when she meets Antonio - that is some of Goolrick's best stuff. Ralph may be a business mogul but he is a total wimp in regard to Catherine, so we finally get Antonio telling off Catherine something proper and the way she deserves, basically with a lot of (paraphrasing) "I have no idea who you are! Get the hell out!" It is here that Catherine, after chapter after chapter of Ralph's dimwitted behavior toward this horrible person, with her already known fakery upon their first meeting and her seemingly unknown poisoning plan, finally gets her comeuppance. Goolrick almost had me there and I started to believe that Antonio had no idea who she or Truitt was. In essence, I felt Goolrick knew how to write Antonio's character the best, which is not the case when it comes to the others. That was a great turning point in the story, but did the story really turn? Nope. She bones Antonio too and as soon as Catherine goes back to Ralph, she doesn't make the right choice and the story doesn't become greater than it could've been. She quietly goes right on with the poisoning of Ralph - just straight into the poisoning without a word and no transition time as soon as she returns to him. And he's basically like, "Thank you." What? It's hysterical.

Catherine is not likeable at all. I think Goolrick's intention was to turn a prostitute into a princess, and an erudite one at that. She reads books at the library on every subject under the sun and becomes a pseudo-botanist which ties in at the end when she rides off into the sunset with her "John," so to speak (that was Ralph in his former life), when all is said and done, but it just doesn't work. No one in their right or even wrong might mind is going to accept being knowingly poisoned like that. The imagery I was left with at the end was that there could be a sequel about the demon child they will definitely go onto have.

With all apologies to phonelady61, as I hope this isn't your favorite book, I agree with all of the one-star Amazon reviews, which I actually spent time reading - all of them. As you get older, it is harder to experience new things, but with "A Reliable Wife," I experienced different emotions that I normally do not get from any of my reading material (online/forums/books/manuals, etc.). And that's exactly what I wanted from The C-D Random Book Club. I have never encountered writing like this before - Goolrick's stutter-stop, poetry-inspired, haiku hybrid style or whatever it is you want to call it. At multiple points, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief that the writing could be so poor and I don't think the book should have been published in its current form. But make no mistake, I am grateful for having read it and will smile every time I walk past this book at the library. I wouldn't change a thing as this being the first pick for the book club.

Last edited by Free-R; 12-01-2019 at 01:51 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:16 AM
 
4,052 posts, read 1,865,104 times
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I might agree about the maid except for the fact that it showed a theme running through the book: how stoic the locals were in the face of horrible things. What point that might serve in the book, well, it might be heavy-handed, but it was there.

The characters were secondary to the story line, but this is the author's first fiction novel. Catherine's character was a bit above the others in that she had some introspection, Antonio's was all one shade of black and the least interesting of the three because of it.

I did find all the themes heavy handed: good over bad, love over evil, life (signified by summer, the garden, and Catherine's pregnancy) over death (the winter, the characters' states of mind in the beginning), but a better writer could have done quite a lot with the same plot line.

I read quite a lot of popular mainstream fiction and temper my expectations to it. I read a lot of fiction in translation and a lot of UK fiction, which is far better written even if it's sometimes pure drek. If you go in with your eyes open, and put the obvious aside, it's just up to whether or not you like what the author is trying to say.

In hindsight I can't really say that the book I suggested was any better written, possibly it was worse, but it had an impact on me that lingered after I read it and that was why I suggested it. Maybe PhoneLady will tell us what touched her in The Reliable Wife.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:48 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
14,492 posts, read 20,136,106 times
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Im sorry im speechless and not much to say really and im sorry you all thought this book was such a disappointment which means I will refrain from suggesting books in the future should I decide to come back to this book club . This book did not touch me in any way , shape or form . I just had read it a while ago and thought this book might be a change sorry it was such a disappointment . Have a great evening .
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:30 PM
 
2,748 posts, read 2,898,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Im sorry im speechless and not much to say really and im sorry you all thought this book was such a disappointment which means I will refrain from suggesting books in the future should I decide to come back to this book club . This book did not touch me in any way , shape or form . I just had read it a while ago and thought this book might be a change sorry it was such a disappointment . Have a great evening .
No!!! Please come back! I said it was a great experience. You're a five-star poster excited about a book club. The book is not a reflection on you at all. I don't look at people's book choices that way. Please share your thoughts (only if you want to, not out of pressure). Even if the book did touch you, that's okay, too. There is no peer pressure here to think a certain way. If you liked it, tell us what you liked. If you didn't like it, tell us why - that kind of thing.

I wanted to go last for this reason but the conversation timeline got mixed up. Your participation was definitely appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:56 PM
 
4,052 posts, read 1,865,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Im sorry im speechless and not much to say really and im sorry you all thought this book was such a disappointment which means I will refrain from suggesting books in the future should I decide to come back to this book club . This book did not touch me in any way , shape or form . I just had read it a while ago and thought this book might be a change sorry it was such a disappointment . Have a great evening .
I wasn't disappointed. I was discussing different facets with different people. I also don't want you to go or be afraid to recommend things.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevadas (California)
57,962 posts, read 4,290,018 times
Reputation: 18544
Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Im sorry im speechless and not much to say really and im sorry you all thought this book was such a disappointment which means I will refrain from suggesting books in the future should I decide to come back to this book club . This book did not touch me in any way , shape or form . I just had read it a while ago and thought this book might be a change sorry it was such a disappointment . Have a great evening .
Oh don't do that, it is part of the fun of being in a book club, that you will read different types of books. I am in a RL book club, & sometimes we all love a certain book, & sometimes we mostly dislike a book, but it is no reflection on the person who chose the book. In fact, we are all glad we read a book, that is not part of our regular reading. `Sometimes only the person who picked the book will like it, & that is Ok too. We don't all have to like meatloaf.
I enjoyed the book, & I am glad I read it. Hang around
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
2,518 posts, read 4,143,438 times
Reputation: 4605
Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Im sorry im speechless and not much to say really and im sorry you all thought this book was such a disappointment which means I will refrain from suggesting books in the future should I decide to come back to this book club . This book did not touch me in any way , shape or form . I just had read it a while ago and thought this book might be a change sorry it was such a disappointment . Have a great evening .
I will echo others....I wasn't disappointed at all. I had not heard of this book and would not have read it other than this thread. And I did find it a good read....the first part clow but really great writing masde it easy to get through. Then it picked up and I found myself interested in the characters. I thought it was an interesting mix of having somne predictability with some unpredictability. And as I mentioned in an earlier post I find the timeframe of thi story really an interesting one, and not as commonly portrayed. Very glad tlo have read it.
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