Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Review: The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

Title: The Pocket Wife

Author: Susan Crawford

Pages: 320 pages

Publication: 17th March 2015 by Faber & Faber

Reason for Reading: I saw this in the ebook catalogue of my library and thought I'd give it a go after recently hearing about Susan Crawford

Synopsis: Dana suffers from bipolar disorder and wakes up one afternoon from an alcohol-induced slumber to find ambulances rushing towards her neighbour's house. She knows that she was at the house earlier in the day, and was probably the last person to see her neighbour alive, but she cannot remember whether she was the one who killed them.


I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I was expecting an unoriginal crime thriller along the lines of The Girl on the Train, and whilst there are similarities, I think this book can hold its own.

To begin with, I felt like there was so much focus on Dana being unreliable and therefore incredibly likely to be the culprit, that the rest of the characters and potential suspects felt superfluous. However this was soon corrected with the introduction of more details about the murder and I couldn’t stop changing my mind as to who I believed was the murderer.

In general, I’d say the pacing was good - as it needs to be in a crime fiction such as this. There were some instances, though, where things felt a little rushed. At one point, Dana holds a brunch and I got the impression it lasted a few hours, yet it only lasted a few lines before everybody was leaving. Additionally, in a confrontation between Moss and the culprit at the end of the book, the murderer's reaction was quite rushed and they seemed to accept the accusation really quickly - it made the ending seem too neat.

Finally, I think Dana’s narrative is worthy of a special mention. I came to like Dana and empathise with her, despite suspecting her of murder for a large part of the book, and I came to heavily dislike her husband, Peter, who in no way supports or cares for his wife. As she teeters on the edge of the ‘slight, thin space between happiness and madness’, Crawford’s writing becomes more poetic and fast-paced, making it impossible for me to put the book down. From what I know of bipolar and from what others have said, the handling of Dana’s mental health is very sensitive and seems to be an accurate portrayal, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this if you suffer from bipolar disorder and have read this book.

Overall, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars; I would definitely recommend this book to fans of crime thriller fiction, and I will definitely be reading Susan Crawford’s other work - I actually have The Other Widow at home, so keep your eyes peeled for a review of that. After finishing this book, I have high hopes.

Have you read The Pocket Wife? If not, are you interested? Let me know in the comments below!
Love to you all,