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Wife in the North
by Judith O'Reilly

Release Date: 3rd Jul 2008
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978 0 1410 3343 3
RRP: 7.99

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Blog-style drama for one woman and her family...

Wife in the North is a bittersweet story of one woman's state of mind at a tumultuous time... although whether or not you interpret a move from hectic London to a dawdling, rural beauty spot in Northumberland 'tumultuous'. Touching on real and important issues such as career vs stay-at-home-mum, post-natal depression and why women can't fill up their own bloody car with petrol but blame it on their husband when the car dies for lack of sustenance; there are some real moments that will be recognised by woman regardless of locale, status or social standing.

Judith is an ex-career girl with two toddlers and a third on the way when her story begins. More pertinently, she has agreed to a life-altering move away from the frivolity, functionality and social networking of London to the very middle of nowhere (and yet it still manages to be somewhere - and by the sea nonetheless). Worst of all for Judith - it's up North... Asking a Londoner to forgo a pampered and luxurious lifestyle (compared to the rest of the country, where you'd be hard pressed to find a kumquat never mind a decent bottle of Chablis) and end up in the no man's land that they consider the rest of the country to be, is like asking Prince Charles to get his ears pinned - you just don't do it.

Still, there are moments when it appears that she's attempting to fit in - if you call walking up to people and demanding that they phone you - fitting in. And despite the abundance of negativity that she emanates about her social situation and the absurdly neurotic hankering after her native London town, it does seem that the locals are willing to give her a go - well, Northerners are pretty sociable characters...

Written in diary form, it is evident that the book is the sum of the blog Judith wrote (a blog that managed to upset a few people unsurprisingly - although the reason for being upset was surprising). Part conspiratorial, part confessional, there are lofty poetic moments talking of sweeping grey skies and glittering beaches as well as snappy emotive segments of a deeply personal nature. The dry humour, self-deprecation and concerns about potential death by scones (no, I made that bit up) will not be to everyone's tastes, but those who are of a voyeuristic inclination will lap it up.


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