Book Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

“In asserting that people don't change, what she means is that they don't change for the better. Whereas changing for the worse, that goes without saying.”

― A.S.A. Harrison, The Silent Wife

A spine-tingling psychological thriller that explores the breakdown of a marriage to its fatal conclusion—the moment at which killing your husband seems like the only rational course of action—depicts this process. A.S.A. Harrison wrote the psychological suspense novel The Silent Wife. It was Harrison's debut and only book. In 2013, shortly after its release, she passed away at age 65 from cancer. More than 20 languages have been used to translate The Silent Wife, which peaked at number two on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2016, production on a movie starring Nicole Kidman got under way. The Silent Wife is a story about a marriage that is on the verge of breaking apart, a pair destined for disaster, impossible compromises, and unfulfilled promises.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Todd Gilbert and Jodie Brett are in a bad place in their relationship. They've been together for twenty-eight years, and with no children to worry about there has been little to disrupt their affluent Chicago lifestyle. But there has also been little to hold it together, and beneath the surface lie ever-widening cracks. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. When it becomes clear that their precarious world could disintegrate at any moment, Jodie knows she stands to lose everything. It's only now she will discover just how much she's truly capable of.

My reaction to this novel...

As I've also read that the author has passed away, I want to express my sympathies and respect to her before I begin my review. I'll make an effort to hold back on making several negative remarks, as I like to do when I don't like the book, but I'll undoubtedly offer my one and only sincere assessment of the story.

Okay, so to start things off, I got this book because, according to some reviews, it has a plot that is somewhat reminiscent of Gone Girl's, which convinced me to buy it since Gone Girl is my all-time favorite book. When I first read the book, I believed that the author had utilized dull, profound words and sentences that had failed to fully hold my interest. Because the author used so many words to tell a long and tedious plot, I find it difficult to concentrate on reading it. I tried my best to get through it, but reading it was sort of taxing and heavy.

Additionally, I saw that each chapter was lengthy, which gave me the need to jump forward, but I refrained. I've read a lot of instances when the male character wishes he could continue his life with Jodi. I've read it several times, but each time I do, I see that the male character is acting in ways that are incongruous with Jodi's comfort, making it difficult for Jodi to live the good life. It was incredibly jarring and conflicting. I made several comments about how the male character should get on with it. I thought of him as a spineless, brainless guy. He is a conniving scoundrel who has no idea what is going on in his immediate surroundings. Both characters' emotions were absent from the story. Their connection and this entire plot lacked any sense of suspense or tension.

I also want to express my dissatisfaction with Jodi. She should have known better because she did not consent to the marriage to begin with; she should have understood that she had no ownership or legal claim to whatever Todd obtained while they were together. It was as if she were acting out of character. She is a therapist, which implies that she has a broad mind, thus she should think better regarding it, so I was extremely disappointed. Even a simple person can comprehend that if you are not married and the person you live with wants to call it off, even after living together for a decade or even century, you have no right to all that person has amassed. It's as straightforward as that.

In terms of the plot, I didn't really think it counted as a thriller, in addition to being monotonous. It doesn't feel like you're on a roller coaster ride. Even in pieces, it didn't come as a shock to me because the female character's murder of her partner was plainly stated in the book's premise, thus I already knew that it would happen. And the method of death is not very startling. In actuality, it ultimately just led to uncertainty. I had much higher expectations when this book was compared to Gone Girl, but I think they just got it wrong. Additionally, I anticipated that the story of Jodi's brothers would have more to it. My initial assumption was that she was simply hallucinating and would awaken in the psychiatric unit, which I felt would make for a richer narrative and maybe add a surprise to the story. However, in my opinion, there is no such twist in the story—only false expectations on the part of the readers. I was also curious about the story's title, The Silent Wife. There is no such thing as a silent wife in the story. I believe that nothing there is silent.

Although I feel like I've already given away a lot of the plot, I still want people to get more out of reading it than I did. I'm not sure if I'll suggest it to everyone, but if you're looking for a book with a lot of twists and turns that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, this is probably not the one. This is, I believe, simply another random anecdote of partners who ended their relationship in a bad way.

My Overall Rating: ⭐✨(1.5/5)

“The experience you’ve had may be unwanted, may amount to nothing but damage and waste, but experience has substance, is factual, authoritative, lives on in your past and affects your present, whatever you attempt to do about it.”

Many of us have had various life experiences. Some people could have happy memories that they want to cherish forever, while others might have unpleasant recollections that they would like to forget. But we must keep in mind that these encounters shaped who we are today and taught us valuable lessons. 


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.