The Perfect Wife opens with a scene so familiar to contemporary women’s fiction. A woman wakes up after some traumatic, terrible event where she lost her child, her husband, or her memory. Except, her child is alive, her husband is alive, and she knows who she is. At least she thinks she does. But then, she learns she’s a cobot, a companion robot, created to embody the consciousness of her husband’s long-dead and deeply mourned wife Abbie. And that’s when the reader realizes this is going to be a book like no other and the wild ride begins.
Abbie has to figure out how to live as a cobot. She has Abbie’s consciousness, she looks like Abbie, she feels like Abbie, but underneath the removable skin, she is a plastic machine. And no, she’s not a sexbot like the robotic dolls. She also has to navigate raising an autistic son and dealing with his therapy. All this is complicated by her questions about what happened five years earlier and why, if she is the perfect wife, as Tim insists, does she feel so wary.
The Perfect Wife took me by surprise at the beginning and at the end. What more could I ask for? Told from Abbie’s point of view and from an unknown narrator only revealed at the end – and was that a surprise, it is at once completely fair in providing readers with everything they need to know and ingeniously opaque in revealing the other narrator.
There are three great stories here, the story of the mother with her son, the story of the cobot finding her identity, and the mystery of what happened five years ago. They are woven together beautifully with since consideration and insight into what it means to be human. This book surprised me again and again and I love it for that.
The Perfect Wife will be released on August 6th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.