I m not totally sure why Sue Miller doesn t get the credit she deserves Or maybe she does and I m unaware of it I feel like she gets classed in that genre of books that includes Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher and Jodi Picoult Snob that I am, I ve never actually read any of these authors They are published as mass market paperbacks and their covers always involve a lot of pastel and flowers and seem destined for airport bookstores There is, of course, a related genre that is directed at men in airport bookstores that uses of the color blue and features spy symbols Sue Miller s covers this one excluded put her in this genre, but her fiction doesn t it s excellent, tackling really difficult questions with nuance and subtlety That said, it is almost always about women, though clearly also women s interactions with men, and that alone probably destines her not to be taken as seriously as she should be The Senator s Wife is about Meri and Nathan, who move in next door to Delia, the married but separated wife of an ex senator Delia is in her 70s and she and Meri, in her mid 30s, strike up a friendship The novel is also as much about their respective marriages as it is about the friendship itself And that s where Miller is great, exploring Delia s marriage to Tom he cheated repeatedly and while they live apart, they do not divorce, and remain occasional lovers Miller complicates our picture of sexual infidelity and the fidelity of feeling that might continue on despite it The twist at the end, while hovering at the line of implausibility, manages to pull itself off All in all, the book is a testament to Miller s ability to grapple with difficult and vexing questions without giving pat answers Her characters are flawed they do bad things while still being good people, much in the way we all do.
Sue Miller honestly drives me crazy I love her writing, it s very personal and raw This is the third book I have read of hers, and while the books have all kept my interests, their endings either leave me unfullfilled, or freak me out The Senator s Wife falls into the latter category I didn t really know what to think of this book What was it trying to say You have poor dedicated Delia, stuck in this love trap with her philandering husband You have Meri who I just couldn t figure out Who did she want to be She was not a born mother, or even a born wife She seemed so selfish, and twisted Freaking out about not having her husband find her sexual while nursing their son So instead gets that feeling from giving the invalid neighbor a peep show The conclusion of the books, puts Meri in the present She reflects on her relationship with Delia and its eventual end when she sees her obit in the paper But through it all she says she did it out of love Love for herself For Delia So she could finally see that her husband was never going to love her the way she wanted That he would be a cheater till his dieing day Overall an interesting read, with characters that make you want to tear your hair out Oh, literary women s fiction So much of you feels so much the same You drip with relationship drama and way overly descriptive language The way someone peels an orange and then sits on a chair and feels the wood beneath her and smells the air and etc etc etc does not tell me much about her character But I tend to devour you anyway, you literary comfort food, you You are a cup of tea in bed on a cold day, or maybe those Oreos I treat myself to after a healthier dinner.
After finishing this book, I realized I didn t really like any of the characters At first Delia, the senator s wife, seems to be an interesting person She appears to be a graciously realistic, secure older woman As the book progresses, she becomes less so Cracks appear in her seemingly flawless presentation, and in the end, she crumbles Meri never seems to have it all together She is real with her doubts and insecurities, but after what happens in the end, it s hard to like her She idolizes Delia and learns so much about her, but then does something stupid that really hurts this woman she admires The men in this novel are caricatures Nathan, Meri s husband, is perfect He s gorgeous, can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan Tom, the senator, is terribly handsome, wealthy and a cad to the end This book was okay, but left me wondering why I stayed up late on a work night to finish it It wasn t worth losing sleep over.
Re The Senator s Wife by Sue MillerCAUTION I think it s best not to know too much about this story before you read it So beware of reading the reviews until after you ve read the book With that in mind, I ve tried not to over tell anything about the story in my review below Instead I ve given my over all impressions of the story and the writing as a whole.
I wouldn t call this book compelling, but for some strange reason I wanted to keep reading it I usually don t like books which describe the mundane details of everyday activities The author, Sue Miller, does this throughout the book In spite of that, I was still propelled forward I kept wondering why Perhaps it was a slight sense of mystery behind the words, a slight feeling of suspense I don t know how Miller manages to project that atmosphere, but she does Perhaps it s through her character development The plot is very slow paced So I wouldn t say the story is plot driven I would say that the story is driven by the relationships between its characters That might be the reason I kept reading I do like to read about relationships between people, how they connect or don t connect.
The story deals mainly with the lives of two different couples You see each life separately and then you see how they come together to affect one another The author managed to make that interesting in a very gradual manner.
The two wives are an older woman, Delia the Senator s wife , and Meri, a younger woman The chapters alternate between the lives of the two women and tells how they come to get to know each other and affect each other s life.
If you can keep reading despite the mundane details of everyday life which you have to endure throughout the book, it s worth staying with it until the end There s some thought provoking stuff in there.
God, this was depressing Do I really have to summarize Meri is married to Nate, and they buy a house next to Delia Naughton, who has been married to Senator Tom Naugton for decades Tom is unfaithful, again and again, and though Delia loves him and continues to spend time with him, they live far apart him in D.
C and her in New England Then the senator has a stroke and, rather than live in an assisted living facility, moves back in with Delia.
This is a commentary on marriage, but otherwise it s hard to describe How do we define love Is marriage something to celebrate, or is it a burden Is marriage simply what we make of it What role does honesty and forgiveness play in a working marriage Then there s the ending Senator Naughton has had a stroke, and Delia has taken him into her home Meri babysits while Delia is out and, as a new mom, brings her baby with her She nurses and, you guessed it, the senator ogles her breasts while she feeds her baby until, finally, she gives up any pretense of it being about nursing and just straight up flashes him, gushing breastmilk and all I was appalled that something natural and lovely became perverted and sexualized Absolutely appalled And, of course, Delia discovers them and storms out, finally At the end, several years later, Meri is thinking back on what happened Her last words I did it out of love Wha I ll give this two stars, since the book occasionally had me thinking about how I define marriage and parenthood and forgiveness But all that s left to say is that I m glad this was a library book and that I didn t spend money on it.
Apologies for stating this bluntly, but this was a dumb book None of the characters were likable at any point, and while that shouldn t be the basis for my opinion, they didn t even become slightly likable as the book progressed The two women in the book are just plain stupid and the senator is a caricature of a slimy politician who becomes and repulsive Dumb.
Alternating chapters from the perspectives of Delia, a grandmother who is the Senator s Wife, and Meri, a woman in her mid 30s who is fascinated by the quiet glamour of Delia, move the story from 1993 to present day Meri and her husband Nathan, a college professor, move to the split house The decision to purchase their portion of the dwelling is based on his fascination with Delia s husband, a notorious senator, now retired The senator is mysterious and although he is rarely seen, he is very much a part of the story Delia s excerpts explain their complicated relationship in detail But the thrust of the story centers on Meri s fascination with Delia, hence the title, and how the relationship between the women leads to the climax.
The Senator s Wife is a fundamental look at life It s a look at young marriage and an aged marriage lived side by side It s a look at long process of raising children from birth to middle age, and at finding one s place as a caregiver It s not action packed or even very exciting, but for fans of Sue Miller and for those readers who appreciate strong character development, I do recommend reading this novel.
Once Again Sue Miller Takes Us Deep Into The Private Lives Of Women With This Mesmerizing Portrait Of Two Marriages Exposed In All Their Shame And Imperfection, And In Their Obdurate, Unyielding Love The Author Of The Iconic The Good Mother And The Best Selling While I Was Gone Brings Her Marvelous Gifts To A Powerful Story Of Two Unconventional Women Who Unexpectedly Change Each Other S LivesMeri Is Newly Married, Pregnant, And Standing On The Cusp Of Her Life As A Wife And Mother, Recognizing With Some Terror The Gap Between Reality And Expectation Delia Naughton Wife Of The Two Term Liberal Senator Tom Naughton Is Meri S New Neighbor In The Adjacent New England Town House Delia S Husband S Chronic Infidelity Has Been An Open Secret In Washington Circles, But Despite The Complexity Of Their Relationship, The Bond Between Them Remains Strong What Keeps People Together, Even In The Midst Of Profound Betrayal How Can A Journey Imperiled By, And Sometimes Indistinguishable From, Compromise And Disappointment Culminate In Healing And Grace Delia And Meri Find Themselves Leading Strangely Parallel Lives, Both Reckoning With The Contours And Mysteries Of Marriage, One Refined And Abraded By Years Of Complicated Intimacy, The Other Barely BegunHere Are All The Things For Which Sue Miller Has Always Been Beloved The Complexity Of Experience Precisely Rendered, The Richness Of Character And Emotion, The Superb Economy Of Style Fused With An Utterly Engrossing Story That Has A Great Deal To Say To Women, And Men, Of All Ages