I jumped up and down when this book arrived. My husband took one look at the cover, arched an eyebrow, and asked, “Should I be worried?”
No, he shouldn’t be. I’m planning to give my marriage a lifetime. But a new Holly Wainwright book? Yes, please. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
I Give my Marriage a Year / Holly Wainwright
(Pan Macmillan Australia, 2020)
Lou and Josh have been together for 14 years. They share two kids, a mortgage, careers and plenty of history. Now, after a particularly fraught Christmas, Lou is ready to ask herself: is this marriage worth hanging on to?
Every month, Lou sets a different test for the relationship – from daily sex to brutal honesty – to help her decide, by the end of the year, if she should stay or go. Secrets are exposed, old wounds reopened and a true-to-life suburban love story unfolds.
I’m going to give I Give my Marriage a Year the ultimate compliment: I finished it.
That probably doesn’t sound like much. But in 2020, the year of Covid-19, lockdowns, heightened anxiety and waning concentration, it really is praise of the highest order. It’s one of only three books I’ve finished since the first lockdown.
This is particularly notable given I didn’t really like any of the main characters. I didn’t like the main characters in Wainwright’s books The Mummy Bloggers and How to be Perfect either, and enjoyed those reads too. I’d chalked that up to having been a mummy blogger myself and recognising the environment and shenanigans. A third non-stop read suggests the key is actually Wainwright’s talent to invoke empathy for all, not just for the likeable.
(Perhaps she could turn that talent to the Covid-deniers and anti-maskers of the world?)
I laughed. I groaned. I squirmed. I shook my head. I thought, “How could you?” and shouted, “EWWWW NO!” I crossed my fingers. I might not have liked these characters, but I cared. I’m also not sure I liked the final resolution but I’m comfortable with it and, most importantly, I’m glad there was one. No cliffhangers here.
I don’t do big spoilers, but here’s a little one: I also enjoyed Josh’s mental load epiphany. It’s a delight to read an otherwise decent character – one who does more for his family than his friends do for their families – come to the realisation that he’s still nowhere near carrying his weight without getting defensive about it.
- How long since she’d felt lucky, the way she once had, before a million dramas big and small had white-anted the solid base of the life she and Josh had built together?
- ‘I would support you if you decided to cut Josh’s head off,’ Gretchen said, pouring hot water into two cups. ‘But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t tell you it was murder.’
- How much of this had Lou just got on with, while he’d been patting himself on the back for being an ‘involved’ dad?
- It feels like a holiday from my life was true, but it didn’t look like the brochure.
You can purchase I Give my Marriage a Year from Booktopia here. I’ve also seen it available online at Kmart and Big W.
Have you read I Give my Marriage a Year? What did you think?
This is not a sponsored post. I received a copy of I Give my Marriage a Year from Macmillan for the purposes of review. All views are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click to purchase the item, I may earn a little commission, but you won’t pay any extra.