The Doctor’s Wife
By Brian Moore
Cape Publishing 1976
ISBN: 0 224 01322 X
Well, what a pickle this lady got into! A story of the older, married lady, emotionally abandoned by her husband, who finds love(?) in the arms of a younger man – or boy really.
This story or plot line has been told many times over the years, exploring the real cost of a five minute fling. In this particular instance, it was over a fortnight, on holiday. I have to say, I began to feel very sorry for the main protagonist, Mrs. Redden. She was digger herself deeper and deeper in trouble, ably assisted by the young man, who seemed to be easing her into his manner of thinking throughout.
It is a very quick book to read in that it is quite a page turner. I found myself thinking for her, on her behalf. I began to offer her advice. It reads as if you want to shout at her to point her away from what is the inevitable. She is quite a dunderhead for not seeing the most obvious problems with her urge to find emotional and sexual comfort. I must point out here that the part of the book that recounts the young man’s conquests are graphic, and leave nothing to the imagination. It is very explicit. However, once that section is finished with, it doesn’t return to it, and we concentrate on the after events and the conclusion. Bearing in mind this story is over 35 years old; I wonder if the author was stretching the literary boundaries of the day? It made me smile that whilst they couple were down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of the events, the author kept referring to her as Mrs. Redden, where she had been known previously, and subsequently as Sheila. Perhaps a relevant and subliminal point was being made there too.
Anyway, a story that begins at the end, with the following chapters that tell how we get to that conclusion, it is told in a pithy way, with just the right amount of humour, loads of self pity and a awful lot of anger from Sheila. She is very believable as well; I imagine a difficult thing for a male author to do. But it is carried off well. It will be difficult for you to decide what will happen before you get there, and most of you who do read this book will feel sadness for her, (and him, perhaps), but how many of us will take it as a timely reminder of the results of neglecting your spouse, or the dangers of ‘playing away from home’?
BookerBookBloke Verdict 8/10 (except the naughty bit)