Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wife In the North by Judith O'Reilly

From the back cover:

Perhaps it was because she was pregnant and hormones hand eaten her brain that Judith O'Reilly was persuaded by her husband to leave London for the northern wilds. But pregnancy hadn't addled her enough not to have a back-up plan: If life in the country didn't measure up, the family would return to the city.

Far from home, Judith a journalist and mother of three young children, discovers just how tough an assignment making a new life is. In the heart of the country, with no decent coffee in sight, Judith swaps high heels for rubber boots and media-darlings for evangelical strangers and farmers' wives in an effort to do that simple thing that women do-make hers a happy family.

Her headlong foray into the country invites adventure at every turn. As she adjusts to the lay of the land and searches her own true north in an alien landscape, her story offers a hilarious heartfelt reflection of how to navigate the challenges and rewards of motherhood, marriage and family.

I thought this was a really sweet and funny book in a journal format. The journal format works really successfully in this book, turning her memoir into a bunch of little stories and memories.

Throughout the whole book, the author longs for London and I can definitely understand that. I am a city person one million times over, I don't know how I would fare in the country. There is a great passage where the author encounters a double decker bus in the country and hopes it will take her back to London. I think she is only half joking!

The author also has a great sense of humor that is seen throughout the book in every type of situation! One of my favorite examples is where she leaves a note for her husband when she leaves for a trip. Talking about if her oldest son gets something, the younger son will want one too and that's it's best to get the baby one as well so she doesn't feel left out. I just love her sense of everyday humor. Another great example is the difference between a haircut in the country and one in London. The country haircut takes much much less time, why is that? The author has a great explanation for why that might be!

A lot of my favorite entries are the interactions between the author and her three children, lots of cute things the kids say and do. I also really felt for her while her son is being bullied at school and it will not stop. She wants her son to enjoy school but that's very hard when he gets knocked about all the time. You can definitely feel her pain and unhappiness during this time. Who doesn't want their children to be happy and enjoy school?

My only two hang-ups with the book were the fact that her husband made the family move from their beloved London but he got to spend a lot of his time there in London for work. Talk about unfair! It kind of seems if the family stayed in London and saw him when he was working and he stayed in Northumberland when he wasn't working they would have seen him more often! The other was the fact that she couldn't get her own gas and expected her husband to get it for her and ran out of it often. I see wanting to let her husband get it for her I guess, but after running out multiple times I think maybe she should have started getting it herself, it got a bit old after awhile. I was pretty much over these two things about halfway through the book though.

Overall this was a very delightful book about family and adjusting to a new environment!

Quick random story... I was reading this on the bus where I do most of my reading when a man asked what the book was called. Turned out he is from very near Northumberland! I guess they do refer to that area as "in the north", I just figured it was just used in the title. Ahh, the power of books!

Do you enjoy books written in a journal format?

4/5 Stars
Review copy provided by marketing firm


  1. I think it really depends on the book but most of the time I do like books in a journal/letter format. A lot of people seem to like this book!

  2. Thanks for the review. I've got this book in my stacks and I had no idea it's written as a journal. I don't mind a book written as a journal, but I don't seek them out.

  3. I really liked this one as well!

  4. I love journal format books! This one sounds good! :)

  5. I recently read this one and enjoyed it.
    I liked the journal format too.
    And I loved her sense of humor, especially when she was in labor.
    great review :)

  6. I am so glad you like this book. I'd have to say no on the format. But then again, it would depend. I think it was -blank-. I can't remember the title. It was a YA about the meteor hitting the moon and moving it closer to the earth. That first book was in a journal format and it worked really well.

  7. Nice- I really like the sound of it ... and how very nice the guy asked you about it :) and u came to know about it :)

  8. Ladytink_534- I'm a sucker for formats like this!

    bermudaonion- I didn't know right away either, got me even more excited, I think I do seek them out!

    S. Krishna- If you like books there is usually a good chance I will too :D

    Amee- I just mooched the TTYL book, we'll see how I do with that!

    naida- She has a great sense of humor!

    J. Kaye- That book doesn't ring a bell, interesting though!

    Veens- It was so funny that he happened to be from that area, what are the odds!


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