Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Book 88: MY FATHER'S WIVES Review

My Father's Wives by Mike Greenberg
ISBN: 9780062325860 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062333025 (ebook)
ASIN: B00HU5NE9M (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow

Jonathan Sweetwater has been blessed with money, a fulfilling career, great kids and Claire, his smart, gorgeous, sophisticated wife. But there is one thing Jonathan never had: a relationship with his father.
Percival Sweetwater III has been absent from his son's life since Jonathan was nine years old. A five-term U.S. senator, now dead, Percy was beloved by presidents, his constituents, and women alike, especially the five women who married him after Jonathan's mother. 
Jonathan hasn't thought about Percy or the hole he left in his life for years. Dedicated to Claire and his family, he's nothing like his serial monogamist father. But then Jonathan discovers evidence that everything in his marriage may not be as perfect as he thought. Hurt and uncertain what to do, he knows that the only way to move forward is to go back.
On this quest for understanding—about himself, about manhood, about marriage—Jonathan decides to track down his father's five ex-wives. His journey will take him from cosmopolitan cities to the mile-high mountains to a tropical island—and ultimately back to confront the one thing Jonathan has that his father never did: home.

Jonathan Sweetwater seems to have it all: a great job, a perfect family, and a wonderful marriage. His childhood wasn't perfect as he hadn't seen his father since his ninth birthday. His mother was wonderful and supportive and his father, although a powerful political figure, had been married six times. After coming home early one day and witnessing an event that has the ability to tear apart his "perfect" life, Jonathan goes on a quest to find out more about his father.

Imagine arriving home early from work and seeing someone that looks like your wife and another man getting dressed after a tryst in your guest room. Do you confront your wife and ask what is going on or do you ignore it? This is exactly the situation Jonathan finds himself in when he arrives from work early one day before going out-of-town on business. Most people would either ask what is going on, hire a detective to find out what's going on or jump to conclusions and end the relationship damn the circumstances. Jonathan does hire a detective to find out what's going on, but he also decides that now is the perfect time to learn more about his deceased father, the great senator, Percival Sweetwater III.

Mixed in with business trips over the course of a two-week period, Jonathan meets with his mother and his father's other wives. Ostensibly these trips are to find out more about his father, but the more Jonathan learns about his father the more we realize he is trying to find out if he is anything like his father and striving for something that cannot be obtained, perfection.

Although I enjoyed reading My Father's Wives and found it to be a rather fast-paced read, I did find it be somewhat predictable (no I won't give you the exact details but there is quite a bit of foreshadowing in Jonathan's interactions with one other character). Jonathan's quest for more information may be a bit more literal than most, but it is interesting to read about his struggle to learn more about his father and in turn about himself. I found most of the characters to be completely realistic and reasonably well developed. I wish the author had placed a bit more attention on Jonathan's wife Claire and who she was as a wife and mother (we learn quite a bit about Claire before their marriage but not enough about who she is now), but this deficiency doesn't detract from the overall story. There aren't any bad guys in this story, just humans showing varying degrees of human weaknesses. If you're interested in reading about a modern quest for truth, then you'll definitely want to read My Father's Wives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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