Monday, 29 July 2019

‘THE FIRST WIVES CLUB’ BY OLIVIA GOLDSMITH


I picked up THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (1993, Pocket) by Olivia Goldsmith only after reading FLAVOR OF THE MONTH. I found the latter to be an absolute gem and I couldn’t wait to get into her first work. Now, to say that THE FIRST WIVES CLUB is in the same league as FLAVOR OF THE MONTH would be unethical of me. Yes, it is lively and witty and the pages almost turn by themselves, but still, it’s far from reaching the perfectness that is Goldsmith’s second novel. What we have instead is a well-delivered tale of women’s revenge that basically is in symbiosis with what we came to see on-screen a few years later. Yes, I agree, the novel is far darker and funnier but overall you do get the feeling that the film did the book justice. 

The premise is about the same. Four longtime female friends, all miserable in love and who have lost touch over the years, come together when one of their own commits suicide. Revenge mode is not far behind as they set up plans to make their other halves suffer for screwing with them. What follows is one zany situation after the other, laugh out loud moments, and a pull of the heartstrings here and there as the trio become more and more dependent on one another.  That’s about as much as I can remember about this book. I read this in the late ‘90s and never went back to it. What I do recall is having had a good time with it.  I also remember a chapter where it involves doo-doo as an art form which I found to be completely disgusting (it was meant to be). But for the most part the novel did entertain me.  

When it was announced that a movie version would be made I was definitely ecstatic, especially when it was mentioned that Elizabeth Berkley from the cult classic SHOWGIRLS would be in it. I was hoping that she would get a meatier role but I had a hunch that she would end up playing one of the mistresses. She nonetheless made the role her own and it was fun seeing her in it, as it was fun spotting the author in the chapel scene giving the deceased woman’s husband the eye as he shows up with his second wife. All in all, I would say read this title but don’t expect to be as wowed by it. First novels are mostly sketchy and THE FIRST WIVES CLUB is no different, even underneath its funny scenes, strong narrative and fast-paced delivery. 

For some strange reason, this one has yet to be available digitally. Probably a copyright thing since the rest of Olivia Goldsmith’s backlist is alive and kicking on Kindle or Kobo.





Until next time—Martin   
UK PB Edition