The First Wives Club
Cynthia Griffin is dead from suicide. Her ex-husband calls on her old friend, Annie Paradise, to let people know about the funeral. Annie, the "good girl" quickly calls some of Cynthia's old friends. At the funeral Annie realizes she had done most of the work getting people to the ceremony. Why hadn't Cynthia's ex-husband done more? Annie receives a note in the mail a few days later. It is Cynthia's suicide note, explaining about her disastrous marriage to Gil Griffin.
Annie's husband, Aaron, has left her as well, but she has hopes they will reunite. This seems confirmed when the family gathers for their oldest son's college graduation. After that weekend, Aaron does not contact her or return her calls. She discovers the difficult way that her ex-husband is now dating and planning to marry her former counselor/therapist.
Brenda Cushman's husband has divorced her and rarely pays his support on time. Yet he is Mad Morty, of electrical appliance fame. He seems to have money all the time. Of course his new, slender, gentile social climbing wife spends as much of it as she can. Morty takes his company public and Brenda realizes she's been taken by Morty. None of the money he earned on the stocks when going public came her way.
Elise, a Grace Kelly-type ex-actress with an alcohol problem, gave up acting when she married Bill Atchison. She used her family money to support him as he climbed up to be a partner in a prestigious New York Law firm. Shortly after Cynthia's funeral Bill leaves Elise for a younger artistic woman. Elise calls Annie, who rushes to comfort her friend.
These three women are spurred on by Cynthia's letter to start getting even with the four ex-husbands and their new wives. With Elise's money and connection, Brenda's chutzpah and Annie's information and personality, they form the First Wives Club. This is the ultimate revenge story against first husbands, especially those who cast off first wives for prestige, social power, money, or boredom.
This book is crass and vulgar. It is also wickedly funny. This story is told in many voices, not only each of the first wives, but also from the men who are now the object of their plans. We watch how they carefully pull each man down in his most vulnerable spot without letting on how much of the driving force they are behind these men's falls.
If you can get around the sexual scenes and some of the blatant delusions of being above and better than anyone else (usually both on the men's part) you will enjoy this book. It portrays New York high society at its worst. Elise and Brenda could be like oil and water, but Annie is there to temper them both. Annie has always let Aaron rule her life except for with Sylvie, their Downs daughter. She learns how to be strong on her own.
If the vulgarity and sexual scenes are more than you care for, try to find an abridged version of the book. I would bet a lot of them are edited out. This book would still contain its biting edge.
Notice: Strong indecent language, Strong sexual content
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