Please note that I received this book via NetGalley for free. This did not affect my rating or review. This book will be released on August 6, 2019.
So, I was pretty vocal about how badly I disliked “The Girl Before.” So you are probably wondering what in the world caused me to willingly pick out “The Perfect Wife” to review. Well, I heard that it had a lot of science fiction elements in it and since I want to read more science fiction this year I decided to go for it. I initially thought it was going to be something superficial, but Delaney works in the science fiction aspects very well. I am a bit disappointed though that other reviewers gave away the jaw dropping beginning (don’t do that!) though was happy I was unspoiled for the rest of this. “The Perfect Wife” does a great job of showing Abbie before when she first meets her husband Tim and then what life is like now that she has waken up. The only reason why I didn’t give this five stars is that parts of the book dragged here and there. Also, I wish that we had some confirmations on some loose threads that Delaney left dangling.
“The Perfect Wife” follows a woman named Abbie. She wakes up in a room and is told that five years ago she was in an accident, and the man that is looming over her is her husband Tim. Abbie quickly finds out she is ready to go home with her husband Tim who she barely remembers. Abbie’s memories slowly start to come back and she remembers that Tim is a CEO of a company focused on developing cobots (companion robots) and he is up there with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in terms of money and influence in the tech industry. Abbie also realizes that she and Tim had a son together, Danny. Danny was diagnosed with Heller’s disease (FYI, this is a childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and is a rare pervasive developmental disorder which involves regression of developmental ability in language, social function and motor skills) and worries that her son won’t remember her and she is scared that her being away/sick has caused his condition to worsen. However, Abbie returns to her home and finds it pretty much unchanged from when she was there last. And after a while Abbie starts to find clues that things were not all champagne and roses with Tim.
So first off. We have after Abbie (who we get to follow via first person point of view) and before Abbie (who we only hear about via an anonymous narrator). You realize right away why there are differences between Abbie before and after. Abbie before seems more confident and all of the dialogue showing how she was when she was first hired by Tim to be an artist in residence at his company showed a woman who was not going to be bowled over by anyone. Slowly though via the Abbie before and after you start to get a better picture of Abbie and also of Tim. Abbie is warned here and there about Tim who starts to do what he can to attract Abbie and start to date her. You are left with two people who it sounds like fell in love and then got dealt a terrible hand when their son was diagnosed with Heller. However, that’s just a small part of the story. I can’t really get into this character much without spoiling, but I thought the way that Delaney handled Abbie was very good. I had sympathy for both versions that we are shown and loved how it ended.
Tim is a typical tech bro that seems to have softened up when he met and fell in love with Abbie. It seems that Tim only sees Abbie as perfect, she’s the perfect wife and mother. He doesn’t see anything wrong with her at all.
We also get a lot of secondary characters that I thought were developed very well. We have Abbie after interacting with Tim’s best friend who also works at the company (Mark), Mark’s wife Jenny (who also works for Tim), Abbie’s sister Lisa, and Danny’s therapist that seems to party live in and take care of him.
The writing I thought was good. I was initially worried when we went back and forth, but I see why Delaney did that. You also have the narrator becoming more and more omnipotent about things after a while and you realize why that is at the end. Delaney also did a good job with talking about and showing how the tech industry even years in the future still has a whole dude bro culture that needs changed. I also thought it was great that Delaney showed us the answer to a certain extent about do androids dream of electric sheep.
The flow was a bit clunky at first, but quickly smooths it way out. I think it’s just because we have that reveal very early in the story and then we jump back in time to when Abbie was first hired by Tim and then we jump forward again. After a while I got used to it.
The ending was heartbreaking and unexpected. I liked it though we are given a clue that there’s a cycle that is going to get repeated until someone finally puts a stop to it.