Review: The Uncoupling — Meg Wolitzer

Read: 19
To Go: 81

Book List:
11. Behaving Badly — Isabel Wolff
12. The English Patient — Michael Ondaatje
13. Atonement — Ian McEwan
14. One Fifth Avenue — Candace Bushnell
15. Daughters-in-Law — Joanna Trollope
16. From the Secret Files of J Edgar Hoover — Athan Theoharis
17. Casino Royale — Ian Fleming
18. Into the Heart of the Country — Pauline Holdstock
19. The Uncoupling — Meg Wolitzer

When the elliptical new drama teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School chooses as the school play Lysistrata — the Aristophanes comedy in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war — a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one, throughout the community, perfectly healthy women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don’t really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion, and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history and their sexual selves in a new light.

Despite the fact that I adored this book, I’m weirdly without words so this “review” will be a little lacking in actual coherent thought. Disappointing, I know.

I will say that The Uncoupling got my attention immediately, and kept it until the very last word. There were a lot of characters in the book, all of which got a little bit of focus time, but Wolitzer did a good job of juggling them — no one got left by the wayside or felt particularly undeveloped, which I liked. I also appreciated the choice to focus more strongly on Dory and Robby Lang, the “cool” married English teachers; they were characters you could fall in love with.

The Uncoupling lived up to — and exceeded — the expectations I’d had for it (when I bought it on Wednesday I kind of did so impulsively, and wasn’t totally sure I’d enjoy it). But I did feel that, in comparison to the strength of the rest of the novel, the denouement was a little weak, and a bit too “easy.” But I was otherwise very satisfied.

If you see it in stores, pick it up. The Uncoupling is funny, interesting, and worth a read.

Next book: The Far Side of the Sky — Daniel Kalla

– Kelsey

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