How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: October 15th 2013
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How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows
Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector's aloof mother on their wedding day.
But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can't recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta's visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it's unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.
Have you ever watched a movie and through most of it you are sitting there wondering what the hell is going on? Well, if you have, then you know the way I felt as I read How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman. I spent most of the book trying to figure it out. And this doesn’t in any way mean that it is a bad book, it just that it kept me guessing through most of it.
The book is about a woman named Marta. She has been with her husband Hector for so long that she feels she can not remember a time when she was not with him. And then we have her son, Kylan, who is off at University and whom she absolutely adores. The book reveals how Marta is a housewife whose husband Hector is an overbearing pig. (In my humble opinion that is..) I could not STAND this man who treated her like she was a child and was set off by the littlest things. She is lonely for her son Kylan who is away and who is also planning to marry soon. She misses him so badly and feels totally lost without him.
We also find out that Marta supposedly has taken medicine for quite a long time and then decides that she is going to stop taking it. She throws it in the trash bin, and is always worried that Hector is going to find out. It seems to me that he is constantly pushing the medicine thing. “Did you take your medicine Marta?” “You know what happens when you don’t take your medicine.” I wanted to jump in the book and tell him to SHUT UP! ( Can you tell how much I despised this character??)
Anyway, Marta starts to have these visions of a girl in a white nightgown. The girl appears at different ages, but is always wearing the same white gown. This is when I started getting confused. Is Marta hallucinating because she isn’t taking her meds, or is something becoming clear to her now that she isn’t medicated?? Then I kept wondering if she is just dreaming…
So we get to a point where Marta finally tries to talk to her son about her visions and her thoughts behind them, but he doesn’t really show any concern. I guess he just figured since his mother had always had “issues” that it was just happening again. It is at this point that I can’t really say anymore without giving spoilers, so you really need to just read it for yourself.
Bottom line….would I recommend this book? Yeah, I think I would. It was definitely a psychological thriller, so if this is a genre you like to read, I say go for it. I have to admit that I had a hard time in the beginning with trying to stick with it as it was rather slow, but then it picks up and got to where I did want to figure out what was going to happen. I really think this was a decent read, I personally just had a bit of a challenge wrapping my head around it.
Grade: 3 out of 5