Tuesday 19 February 2013

Review:- The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

I don't remember where it was that I first read about The Uncoupling, but I know it was somewhere in blog land. As with so many things on my wishlist, it was one I added on a whim after reading a great review of it somewhere, and I this is one of my favourite things about the effect of blogging on my reading. Although I'm thinking that next year I'm going to go challenge free just so as not to feel so guilty about my uncontrollable library splurges!

Anway, The Uncoupling was pretty great. I read it for The Wishlist Challenge, and now I want to read Lysistrata! It's set in a High School in a town called Stellar Plains and the basic plot is that when the new drama teacher decides to do Lysistrata as the end of year play (in which women withhold sex from the men as a way to stop a war), the women of Stellar Plains are struck down by a spell which makes them no longer want to have sex either. The results and rammifications of this are interesting and often amusing. 

The novel centres around Dory and Robby Lang,both of whom are teachers at the school, Fran Heller, the new drama teacher causing all the problems, and their children, Willa and Eli. I really enjoyed the novel as a whole and I liked the fact that Meg Wolitzer was actually addressing some really complex issues without making you feel like you were reading something deep. The tone of the novel was quite light and fairly humorous at times, and she got the voice of each of the many characters exactly right - they all felt really authentic to me. I know that sometime when I read books which have a lot of characters (and this does - besides the Langs and the Hellers, there are two other married couples, two other faculty members, and another teenagers, plus peripherals) and the author has got carried away with how many characters they have and not really bothered to fully develop them all or give them their own voices, but The Uncoupling definitely didn't have this problem! Instead of being mini love stories, because of the plot of the novel they are kind of anti love stories. Everybody in the novel starts off in a relationship of varying sorts, and then 'uncouples', and each uncoupling had its own unique feeling. All of the stories were really well developed and I got really engrossed in all of them.

I think that my favourite character in the novel, though, was Marissa Claybourne, Willa Lang's best friend. She's the smart, pretty, popular girl who knows about boys and is picked for the part of Lysistrata in the play. I think the reason that I liked her so much was because she's so unsure about things at the beginning and then so passionate and by the end she's really achieved a sense of self that she didn't have at the beginning. The way that she voiced her thoughts was sooo teenaged and reminded me a lot of my friends and I at a similar age.

I also love when I read a book and it seems like it's going to be quite lighthearted, and reads like quite a lighthearted read, but it's actually secretly thought-provoking and kind of intellectual. I don't know if it was just the setting of the novel or the fact that it was based around a play, but it felt 'smart' to me. I like to read books where books and readers are valued, and I felt that from this. 

Read for The Wishlist Challenge.
Borrowed from the library.


  1. The thing I like better than books that seem lighthearted but are actually smart and thought provoking are books that seem serious but are actually really easy to read. Makes me feel soooooo smart.

    Anyway! This seems pretty fun. Dare I add it to my wishlist? DARE I? Maybe...

  2. I've heard of this one too - I think from Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog - and it was already on my library list, but you've convinced me to shuffle it up a notch or ten. It sounds great! Books that make me think and ponder WHILE being accessible to read are my very favourite, so yaaaaay to Wolitzer for pulling that off. :)