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Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Review: Wife in the North by Judith O'Reilly


ISBN: 978-1586486396
Publisher: Public Affairs
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Memoir
First Line: As we drove out of the city's fabulous sprawl last night, I wondered whether I could kill my husband and plead insanity.
One Word Review: Charming

Publisher's Description:

Perhaps it was because she was pregnant and hormones had eaten her brain that Judith O'Reilly was persuaded by her husband to leave London for the northern wilds. But pregnancy hadn't addled her enough not to have a back-up plan: If life in the country didn't measure up, the family would return to the city.

Far from home, Judith, a journalist and mother of three young children, discovers just how tough an assignment making a new life is. In the heart of the country, with no decent coffee in sight, Judith swaps high heels for rubber boots and media-darlings for evangelical strangers and farmers' wives in an effort to do that simple thing that women do - make hers a happy family.

Her headlong foray into the country invites adventure at every turn. As she adjusts to the lay of the land and searches for her own true north in an alien landscape, her story offers a hilarious, heartfelt reflection of how to navigate the challenges and rewards of motherhood, marriage, and family.

I had a difficult time coming up with my one word review for Wife in the North. Not because it was hard to think of one word, but because I couldn't decide how to narrow it down from the many - wonderful, entertaining, amusing, fantastic, clever, heartwarming - it is all of those things and more. I'm not a huge fan of memoirs, but something about this story spoke to me on a personal level. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I have been displaced to the wilds of rural Vermont for what seemed at the time to be a never-ending prison term (we were paroled last year, when my husband got a transfer to Virginia, Hallelujah!). I wasn't near the trooper that Judith O'Reilly is, though. She tells her story with wit and humor, but you can see the heartache behind her words. I adored the little glimpses into her life. Like this one which, along with others, had me laughing out loud:

"When I am king,' said my four-year-old tonight, fork in hand, pasta sauce on
face, "everyone will wear underwear on their head. Apart from
Granny. I love Granny."
Her honesty is refreshing, and truths she speaks about motherhood and life in general had me cheering for her and for mothers everywhere who've sacrificed without thanks so that their family can find happiness. I truly loved this book. It is one of the best books I've read all year. Read it! I mean it. You'll thank me later.

Book Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Buy this book on Amazon.

6 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This one looks good - even the cover appeals to me.

iubookgirl said...

just wanted to let you know I linked to your review from mine.

Sunny said...

Adding it to my list! Thanks!

...and especially after that "teaser" the other day. I'm still laughing about that!

wife in the north said...

hi traci, thanks so much for the review. The big has done really well in the UK (it was top 10 for five weeks, number 3 for a month)but I'm struggling to make headway in the US, so very cheered to see that you "got it". It is my diary but it is really about what it is to be a wife, mother and daughter. Thanks again, best, judith

J. Kaye Oldner said...

WOW! What a great review. So glad you like this one. :)

Dawn said...

I won *Wife in the North* in a giveaway, and can't wait to get to it.

This is a great interview (moving *Wife in the North* up in the TBR stack!)