What if you woke one morning to a phone call from your spouse telling you he or she was in jail? What if the charge was murder? Would you stand by him/her even after they were convicted? How long would be reasonable? A year? Five years? What if you had a child?
These are the questions Patty Dickerson faces in The Good Wife.
Stewart O’Nan offers us this story of the faithful, long suffering wife as she remains true to her ideal of the healthy family even as her husband spends over twenty years in prison. The strength in this novel lies in the superb characterization because as the reader asks what kind of person could live his life this way, O’Nan answers it with credibility. It may not be a road you or I would take, but as we grow to understand Patty Dickerson, the reader can at least appreciate her choices come from her background and her self-imposed limitations.
I highly recommend this novel. O’Nan has done it again.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.