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Carissa Green Reads

I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.

Currently reading

The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor
John Barth
Chicago Poems
Carl Sandburg
Chekhov Four Plays
Anton Chekhov, David Magarshack
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche
A Kierkegaard Anthology
Robert W. Bretall

Literary Mysteries: The Case of the Unsatisfying Ending

The Wife - Meg Wolitzer

Yesterday, I finished "The Wife," by Meg Wolitzer. Or - I thought I finished it. 


The book was really good. Compelling story and excellent sentence-level writing. I enjoyed it a lot. Until I got to the end. The ending was a let-down, frankly, and disappointing compared to the rest of the book. It ended on a quote. Which if you've read as many novels as I have over the years is odd, but not unheard-of. But the quote, although cutting, did not resolve the situation between the characters arguing. But there you go: The end. No more pages. Literally. 


Literally.No.More.Pages. It ended at the bottom of a page - which sometimes happens - and there were no more pages in the volume. Page 192, if you're keeping track at home. No more endpapers. No advertisements. No author bio. Odd, but I suppose it's a quickie movie tie-in, so whatever. 


But it bugged me: Why did the book end so unsatisfactorily? I Googled some reviews today, and everyone talked about the "big twist" at the end. Big twist? Hmm. There was no big twist. A bunch of clues, but what I thought those clues were leading to didn't happen. And then I got suspicious . . . 


Maybe I really didn't get to read the whole book.


So I went sleuthing. The internet tells me the book should have been more than 200 pages. Mine (the Public Library's, actually) was 192. Hmm. But the book cataloging site is notoriously inaccurate much of the time. Still not proof. I needed to see another copy of the book. 


After work. Campus bookstore = no copies. Local bookstore = no copies. Target. Bless you, Target. Had the book. 219 pages of story. An author bio. The usual useless book club questions. So I bought it. 


And finished the book. And the "twist" I saw coming WAS there. (Really, if you've ever read Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own," and paid attention to the clues Wolitzer gave throughout the manuscript, you know it's coming. But it's a double-twist. The end-end is sort of predictable. It could have gone two other ways, but it went the way it went. Much better. As a reader, I didn't love the ending, but I was satisfied that the story was over. Wrapped up and finished. Good job, Meg Wolitzer. 


So what next? I'm going to take the bad copy and the Target copy to the library later this week. I hope the library can get a refund from their distributor, and I will offer them my copy, if they wish to have it. I don't have a lot of storage space for books, and this one isn't a "keeper" for me. 


I'll update you if anything interesting happens!