June 25, 2013.
Jodi, the eponymous wife, is 45, a counseling psychologist with several degrees. Todd, 46, is a successful entrepreneur, first flipping houses, now undertaking large-scale renovations. They have a golden retriever named, not too surprisingly, Freud. Jodi thinks “In every practical sense she is as married as anyone else.” The immediate problem appears in the guise of Todd’s latest lover, a 20-year-old woman named Natasha, a big part of that problem being that her father and Todd have been best friends since high school. Parenthetically, at some point Todd becomes more hateful to the reader than he is to Jodi (well, female readers anyway). Todd’s two worlds collide when Natasha gets pregnant and demands that Todd marry her; confrontation - - well, confrontations - - seem to be inevitable; the book’s third paragraph seems to indicate that Jodi will be a killer before too long.
This is a beautifully written novel, and not at all what I expected, containing quite a number of universal truths. I find my comfort zone in tales of crime, mystery, and suspense, but those things don’t seem to be present in this book, that is, until very near its conclusion, and then all those are there, in spades. A true psychological thriller, as it is accurately billed, and recommended.
To oversimplify greatly, Jodi and Todd are partners in a highly dysfunctional marriage – well, actually, it’s not even that: they are not really married, it just feels like they are. Living together for over 20 years in a sumptuous, 27th floor Chicago condo overlooking the water, they both apparently believe they are happy. The problem is that Todd is a serial womanizer, and that seems to be something they both take for granted: “He knows and she knows that he’s a cheater, and he knows that she knows, but the point is that the pretense, the all-important pretense must be maintained, the illusion that everything is fine and nothing is the matter.”