Book Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

I liked this book, but I didn’t enjoy it. It was beautifully written with multifaceted and three-dimensional characters. The plot had unexpected twists and turns and the characters behaved or reacted in unpredictable ways. I picked up this book because my Books-A-Million calendar recommended it. It was also a bestseller with great reviews. One of my favorite publishers, Algonquin Books, published it. So, why didn’t I enjoy it? First and foremost, the characters were self-centered and unlikeable. Only towards the end did they show any measure of humanity. Secondly, I was taken aback by the graphic sexual descriptions. I’m not a prude, but I was disgusted. I was drawn into the story only to find that the characters were despicable and their motivations and desires were disturbing. Their lives were sad and dark. But because I had heard such good things about this book, I stayed with it. Finally, near the end, I found what I think made this book worth reading. Redemption. It was a far cry from a happy ending, but it resonated with me. Do I recommend it? I’m on the fence. It wasn’t to my tastes, but I could see why it was so well-reviewed. It’s kind of like some of those classics that we were forced to digest in high school. It was good literature, but an unpleasant read.