Three out of four stars.
The Pocket Wife follows the murder of Dana’s neighbor, Celia, shortly after Dana left her house that afternoon. Detective Jack Moss is assigned to the case and has to separate fact from fiction in a tangled mess of mental illness, affairs, and personal connections.
The Pocket Wife was hard for me to rate. The beginning of the book I wanted to rate it a generous three stars, by the middle three point five, and by the end four stars. Hopefully by the end of this review you’ll understand my final star rating.
What I loved most about this book was the portrayal of Dana’s bipolar disorder. Her manic and depressive episodes are clear without being textbook and drive the plot through Detective Moss. It was great seeing this disorder portrayed so realistically. Susan Crawford used the stream of consciousness writing style to really situate the reader in Dana’s thoughts and feelings. Crawford also accomplished this through third person, rather than first. At the beginning of the novel, I found this writing style very unpleasant. I am personally not a fan of stream of consciousness, so I almost DNF’ed the book after thirty pages. However, the book isn’t just told from Dana’s perspective it is also told from Detective Moss’ as well. This change in perspective saved the book and what ultimately allowed me to continue reading.
The paced slowed down in the middle of the book and felt convoluted with extra red herrings. It was a chore to read and I found myself taking numerous breaks.
However, the ending of the book was fantastic! I didn’t see the conclusion to the murder coming.
Overall, The Pocket Wife was a very hard book to rate. I ended up settling on three stars simply because of the issues I had with the writing style and pacing. Although this writing style helped portray the mental illness in an empathic light, it’s not a kind of writing style I enjoy reading from and the pacing in the middle of the book was too slow.
If you enjoy stream of consciousness writing I would definitely recommend this book, if not I would advise you to look elsewhere.