It used to be a source of amusement for me that my parents could go to the video store, return home with their pick, pop it in the VCR, and 5 minutes into viewing realize they had already seen this exact movie only months before. It’s only because karma is a huge bitch that this same phenomena is now happening to me with books.
I read the jacket on the inside cover of “A Reliable Wife” and was instantly taken with the plot. Not to mention my obsession with novels that have the word “wife” in the title. (If you’ve been reading my previous blogs you already know this tidbit about me and if not, catch up, you’re missing some good shit.) So I said to myself, “I mustn’t delay in securing my spot in line for this literary masterpiece, post haste”. Yes, that is how I talk to myself in my head. Especially when I’m in a library. After waiting months for my turn on the dance floor with Robert Goolrick’s fiction I promptly realized I was taking my own sloppy seconds for a spin. And I knew it the second I laid eyes on the main character’s name. How is it that I can remember a single character name over a New York Times #1 Best Seller title? Maybe author’s should just name their books after the main character and save me this problem in the future. I mean, who can forget that they’ve previously read Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, or The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar?
I have to admit I didn’t re-read the book once I realized the duplication. But I do remember loving it. Sure, now my remember-er is working. I remember liking how Mr. Goolrick doesn’t come right out and tell you what’s going on but through the feelings and conversations between the two main characters he paints a vivid picture. Since I did dive right in to the beginning of the book I can attest that it starts with a splash. Lonely Mr. Ralph Truitt has placed an ad for a simple, honest wife to take care of him and his household as they both age, but gets duped by the woman who responds as she is anything but. The seductive, and slightly evil, Catherine Land has plans to poison poor Ralphy and make off a wealthy widow. And then there’s like 275 more pages! As each twist and turn of truth shows itself in the novel you flip flop over who you sympathize with, until you feel like you’re the one who’s been poisoned. This book has everything you could ask for; passion, obsession, madness and murder. Everything you could possibly want in a wife.
I believe it says something about this reader that even though I may be suffering from old timers disease (an early onset I assure you) at least I can still rely on my same great taste in books.