When a book is adapted into a film, fans of the novel will often ask how close the film is to its literary predecessor.
Earlier this year, The Wife, based on the book by Meg Wolitzer hit theaters starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. Published in 2003, the book is about the breakdown of a marriage and a woman’s courage to step away from said marriage.
Joan and Joe Castleman have been married for decades. Joe is one of the preeminent writers of his generation. Joan’s writing abilities is equal to her husband’s, but she decided long ago to abandon her own dreams of writing professionally and support Joe in his career. While flying with Joe to Europe so he can receive an award for his work, Joan makes the decision to walk away from the marriage.
The narrative takes place in two different time periods: the 1950’s when Joe and Joan met and the present time, when the secret of Joe’s success and their marriage is revealed.
Full disclosure, I saw the movie before I read the book. Not surprisingly, changes were made from the narrative in the book to the narrative in the film. That being said, the book stands on its own as a testament not only to a woman’s abilities, but also the unfortunate innate inclination in heterosexual women to subvert their needs, abilities and desires to please their male significant other.
I recommend it.