Cover Image: Take My Husband

Take My Husband

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Member Reviews

OK.... so, my fault for not reading the synopsis and assuming this was a thriller, which meant I kept waiting for something to happen but um, yeah, nothing actually ever really did. When I realize this is actually a contemporary dark comedy about a woman fantasizing about the death of her husband... ok. Unfortunately, still didn't quite work for me in that capacity either.

I did stick through it though I seriously contemplated DNFing it at the 50% mark. I had to know which way this book was going to turn and it took many a turn, with she and he and they and then he and then she and then they again. And while lessons may have been learned, I still felt that the storyline basically went nowhere or took wayyyyyy too long to get to a point just for the characters to go... meep.

AH well, win some, lose some.
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Laurel gets a phone call at work that her husband Doug is in the hospital after an accident.  As she heads there her feelings morph into relief and happiness as she imagines a world without Doug, financed by his life insurance payout.  When she arrives to find him doing fine, she is mightily disappointed and starts to think about finding a way to off him.  I wasn't really as invested in this as I expected to be.  I can certainly related to your partner driving you crazy and fantasizing about a life without him, but if you are so miserable you start to plot murder, it's time to reconsider your options.  Therapy or worst case, divorce.  Instead, Laurel waits on her husband hand and foot and lets herself be treated like a doormat.  It's hard to sympathize.
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Take My Husband is one of those stories that takes a certain sense of humor to appreciate it. It's definitely dark comedy, and it's pretty safe to say that I have the right kind of sense of humor for this one because I had a blast reading it. I can't say that I liked Laurel all that well, but I didn't have to like her to enjoy the story. She did start to grow on me, though, and there's also a lesson in there as Laurel's story progresses, but most of all, I'd have to say it's a fun bit of escapism. Ellen Meister and I don't always see eye to eye, but she's certainly talented, and this one ended up being just what I needed for an entertaining weekend read.
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darker comedy themed they said, well it didn't feel like that to me 
I had mixed feelings for this book as I thought I would like it by the blurb but I just couldn't get into it. 
The main character aka wife, Laurel was kinda annoying. 
it took mee an extremely long time to finish this book. 
I do not have much to say about this book as it was not my cup of tea 

Thank u NetGalley for the ARC so I could have a chance to read this book. THe above thoughts and comments are my own, honest and voluntary.
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Take My Husband by Ellen Meister is a dark comedy that really had me anticipating every next move. There were funny parts but this definitely leaned more towards the darker side. I enjoyed most aspects of Laurel, especially her relationship with her mom. This was a good read for a lazy day.
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In Take My Husband, Ellen Meister gave her readers a twisted, unconventional and strangely humorous tale. Despite the craziness of the situation, the story held me captive from start to finish.

Laurel Applebaum has been married for thirty years. However, it was not thirty years of wedded bliss. Therefore, when she received a call from the hospital informing her that her husband had met in an accident, she was on cloud nine. Yes! You read right. She began imagining what her life would be like without Doug in the picture. Access to the funds from his insurance policy, and all the things she could not have in the thirty-year marriage. Most importantly, she would not constantly be at his beck and call. However, upon her arrival at the hospital, she would be in for a big disappointment, as Doug was very much alive. Disappointed, she began plotting, with the aid of a coworker, a myriad of ways to get rid of her husband. She feels justified in her reasons for wanting her gone forever. 

I may not have been able to relate to Laurel, but I found her character quite interesting. For thirty years, she fell prey to Doug’s manipulations. He never seems able to do anything for himself. Making his coffee, fetching the newspaper, making his own coffee and setting his appointments were all done by Laurell. Then, to make matters worse, his jealousy over the years has grown intolerable. She’s had enough, but a divorce would mean no insurance payout, so he had to die. The question is, how will she accomplish her goal?

Honestly, Laurel’s attempts to off her husband cracked me up. Not only did I laugh at her attempts, I cheered her on. The author did a wonderful job of portraying Laurel’s unhappiness in her marriage. In doing so, she nudged the reader in the position of feeling sympathetic towards her situation. For her to be harboring these thoughts to the point of putting them into action shows how far down the rabbit hole she ventured. Laurel’s journey towards self- discovery was fascinating despite the many wrong turns she made. Fortunately, she found her way in the end.

The secondary characters added another dimension to the story. One in particular had my alarm bells ringing like crazy. The story ended on an interesting note, with both parties receiving what they richly deserved.

I enjoyed the Narration. Stacy Glemboski delivered a solid performance, bringing the characters’ personalities to life.

Overall, Take My Husband delivered an entertaining tale. If you enjoy dark humour blended with women’s fiction, then this makes a great addition to your reading list.
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Laurel had me from the get go. I liked her immediately which allowed me to dive into her story and her relationship with Doug with ease. I laughed and cried at this book and I tihnk that I would highly suggest for anyone looking for a women's fiction full of heart!
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own!

Book: Take My Husband

Author: Ellen Meister

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Jewish characters, Black character

Recommended For...: dark comedy, women’s fiction, contemporary, thriller, fiction

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Genre: Dark Comedy Women’s Fiction

Age Relevance: 18+ (fatphobia, death, violence, gore, weaponized incompetence, sexual content, grief, cursing, suicidal ideation, depression, gaslighting, emotional abuse, pregnancy, childbirth, illness, animal death, alcoholism)

Explanation of Above: There are some fatphobic comments made in the book. Death, grief, and murder are mentioned and discussed throughout the book, along with varying degrees of violence mentioned and some very slight gore shown via blood. The book showcases weaponized incompetence and has some sexual content. There is some cursing in the book. There are scenes where suicidal ideation are shown and suicide is mentioned. There is some depression shown in the book and the book focuses on gaslighting and emotional abuse. There are mentions of pregnancy and childbirth in the book. There is some illness shown in the book. There are animal deaths mentioned with mice and turtles. There is some alcoholism mentioned once in the book.

Publisher: MIRA

Pages: 400

Synopsis: In this darkly comic novel about a wife whose rope is so frayed it's about to snap, Laurel gets a call that her husband has been in an accident. She imagines the worst. But as she is on the way to the ER, another emotion seizes her. Relief. Doug's death could solve all her problems. No more catering to his incessant demands. Then there's the insurance money. Laurel's dreams seem so close. There's just one problem: Doug is very much alive. Now Laurel has to decide if she is going to do something about it.

Subversive, irreverent and surprisingly poignant, Take My Husband probes the deep corners of a marriage and emerges to find the light. For anyone who's spent a little too much time with a significant other and thought, One of us has got to go.

Review: This was a hilarious read about a woman who, after hearing some unfortunate news about her husband and thinking that he died only to realize he didn’t and also being persuaded by a recent widower, is determined to off her husband to better her life. I thought that the book, while hilarious, also did so well to talk about weaponized incompetence and emotional abuse. The book is honest about how hard women work in a relationship for the statistical majority of the time and how the division of labor and division of emotional stress rests majorly on them. The book was interesting and you switch between rooting for the MC to hating her to rooting for her again as you explore your own emotional roller coaster. The writing was well done and the character development was great, as I enjoyed the non-linear sometimes fluxuating manner the characters developed. The book also had great pacing.

The only issue I had with the book is that I wished that some of the outside players were a bit better developed and I wished that some of the twists had a bit more room to fully play out in the book.

Verdict: It was well done!
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A 3.5 stars read.

It's a women's fiction, not my go-to genre so I don't know what to expect and it's a darkly comic novel, a dark humor read, so I'm pretty intrigued. The more I read the more it's a slice of life of a marriage woman than dark humor for me, the "If only my husband die" does have the premise of dark humor, but then it's getting heavier and the humor is kinda lost for me. It's kinda dragging in the middle, although I love how the author keeping me curious wether the murder will happen or not, wether the husband or someone else will found out, will Laurel finally get what she wants. Also there's a lot of things I can learn about life in this book, so yeah it's pretty entertaining for me.

As for characters, I understand why Laurel wished her husband dead, her husband is not a nice person, and there's so much going on in Laurel's life with her mom, with her economy situation, that if only her husband a bit nicer it wouldn't be that bad, but Laurel is not perfect too, she's a good wife but if only she just brave enough to just say what she wants and what she's feeling, her marriage would be okay and she won't be under pressure all the time, well it's easy for me to make a judgement because it's not me, but maybe this happen in someone else's life.

If you're looking for a women's fiction, try this one.
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Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher. 

This book missed the mark for me,  I expected a dark quirky thriller but this didn't really live up to the expectation.  I This was a miss for me.
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Laurel gets a call that her husband was in an accident. While she's upset, she's also greatly relieved;  Doug's death could solve all her problems. The strain in their marriage is gone, and the insurance money would help her. The problem is, Doug is very much alive. Now Laurel has to decide if she is going to do something about that.

From the start, Laurel is the dutiful wife doing everything for her husband of thirty years. Out of work, she works long hours, sets out his pill tray for the week, handles his appointments, does the cooking and cleaning and shopping, cares for her mother, and does all this because Doug complains about how hurt he is that he lost his job and it doesn't take her much time to do it. Sound familiar? In every relationship there's give and take, but Laurel crumpled every time she asked Doug to help her, adding to her frustration. She has an extensive fantasy world, going off on tangents, which certainly doesn't help matters with her real-world frustration. 

Laurel isn't an inherently evil person, so she has guilt for her thoughts and the suggestions she makes to Doug in the hopes that his illnesses will kill him. As she stands up for herself more and takes care of her appearance and needs, she begins to see her own self-worth. Instead of bending to others' wants and ignoring herself, she becomes more assertive and the reader can cheer her on. There are ups and downs as she tries and fails to make Doug sick, as the emotional rollercoaster moves back and forth. It's clear it isn't the death that was important to her, it was being seen and feeling like she mattered. It's a long road for her, and by the end of the novel, she's clear about what she wants and puts herself first in a healthy way. Ultimately, that's the most important lesson she could have learned.
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For a book marketed as a dark comedy about a wife plotting to murder her useless husband, I didn’t think it was particularly dark or remotely funny. 

I read to 50% and then skipped to the end because I got bored and frustrated by the repetition and Laurel’s waffling. This story did not need to be 400 pages long and would have benefited from a 100-150 page trim to keep the plot moving. 

I loved the concept of this story, but reading about Laurel and Doug’s dysfunctional relationship was the dark part, not the murder plots — this wasn’t a Finlay Donovan-style dark comedy — this was more of a Lifetime movie about a doormat woman in a terrible relationship with a controlling, emotionally abusive man-baby.
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Laurel is dissatisfied with her life, her husband, her job. Her husband Doug is the main irritant and when she is called to the hospital after an accident, she fantasizes about what it might mean if he doesn't make it.

This is the story of a long marriage in crisis, where years of being together have altered the normal methods of communication to the point where Doug and Laurel aren't really communicating at all. Add an interested coworker into the mix, and Laurel gets ideas about how she might make her fantasy come true.

Take My Husband is billed as a dark comedy and although I didn't really laugh while reading there were definitely parts that I could relate to with regard to Laurel and Doug's marriage. I'm not sure how that translates to readers that don't have that connection, because while there is a real communication problem between the main characters, some of it is born from their long-term relationship.

There are a few twists and unexpected situations that bring levity to the story and keep it interesting but I did find the pace of this to be slow as Laurel works through her plans for freedom. It wasn't one of those books that you can't put down, which is really why I'm rating this 4 stars instead of 5. It takes a while to get to an ending that I liked the most in this story.

Laurel's journey does have quite the ending and while I probably should have seen it coming, I didn't, so I liked that.

Overall, an interesting story of being in a long-term relationship,the changes that occur over the years and the impact they can have on people. I liked what it had to say about being needed and being lonely. Definitely something different.
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Although this is marketed as a dark comedy, with wife Laurel plotting her husband's demise so that she can live her life the way she wants, I didn't feel like it was all that dark overall.

As she is working her job at Trader Joe's, Laurel receives a phone call that her husband Douglas is unconscious after a car accident. She drives to the hospital, all the while imagining her life without him, collecting the life insurance money, getting a place all to her own with a dog (Doug is allergic). So invested in this fantasy, Laurel is shocked to see Doug up and doing fine. After losing his job, Doug hasn't had much ambition, in fact, Laurel does pretty much everything for him. But what if he were actually gone?

There are some comedic touches to this book, but I felt like overall it just went on way too long with Laurel doing everything for Doug and not standing up for herself or her wants and desires, she is basically a doormat. The biggest problem I had with this is that I'm nearly the same age as Laurel, they've been married for 30 years, I've been married for 25, so we're not dissimilar in life stages. I would never wait on my husband the way she does on hers, I'd never let mine walk all over me and act like a child after I was on my feet all day supporting us. Maybe someone from an earlier generation, but I couldn't justify it in my mind.

There are some good plot threads woven throughout, and when Laurel finally grows a backbone the book improved for me. Overall, it comes out in a satisfying way in the end, just for me it took much too long to get there and there wasn't enough comedy to justify the way she allowed herself to be treated for so long. It was an okay read, but not very memorable.
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“Old habits, she realized, might die even harder than middle-aged husbands.”⁣
I loved listening to The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister last year. She gave me the biggest belly laughs and I needed more. When I saw Take My Husband was coming out, I HAD to have it. Take My Husband was the best dark comedy about how sometimes, you might love someone, but not like them 24/7 😂⁣
I thought this was hilarious, but a realistic approach on marriage. Sometimes you’re just over your spouse. Honestly, if my spouse was Doug, I’d be over him too. That man is basically Laurel’s bonus child. But this book is a lot more than just dark comedy. There’s so much about complacency and the fear of being alone. As a mom, I am constantly needed, and sometimes I want everyone to need someone else for 2.5 seconds. ⁣
Stacey Glemboski as always, hits the narration with hilarity and sarcasm. I was snickering while listening to some parts because it was too fun on audio.⁣
Thank you so much @harperaudio @_mira_books_ for the gifted copy! Take My Husband just released Tuesday, the 30th!
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The premise of this book about a wife trying to kill her husband so she could live her best life resonated with a lot of women out there, including me sometimes. I followed along with Laurel’s quest and found humor in some of the antics and plotting. It was an educational journey to self discovery and growth. Laurel finally stood up for herself and made changes to her miserable marriage even though it was a little too late and the outcome was not what she had hoped for. It was a fast-paced and twisty story that captivated me from the beginning.
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This is very dark comedy with some romance mixed in, so it was quite a different genre for me. The premise is one that I had never read before about a woman named Laurel Applebaum who is very unhappy with her marriage and deals with it by constantly imagining that her husband Doug dies. Of course, he is not dying quickly enough to suit her purposes so she diabolically plots his death, scheming to cause him to die a natural death by what he feeds him or asks him to do. The first time her mind wandered to what life would be like without Doug, I was amused. Then, when it kept happening, I just wanted her to be honest with him and do what a normal person would do and either work it out or leave. The subterfuge and almost pathetic way that she went about plotting his demise lost its humor factor about halfway through the book. There are many characters who contribute to the story, none of them particularly relatable or likable except perhaps Laurel’s mother and her friend Eleanor who has a snarky macaw who inserts much needed laughter into some of Laurel’s antics. Doug was a weak man who was whiny and not at all relatable since he didn’t even try to help his marriage but he did constantly complain about how bad it was. His protestations that he truly loved and needed Laurel were too little, too late for me since he was more like a child than a forty-something year old unemployed man who was not seeking employment. Laurel was a somewhat sympathetic character because she did work hard to keep money coming in and she understandably wants to go to California to visit her son and daughter-in-law when their new baby comes. A burning desire to visit a first grandchild was a realistic detail as was the description of Trader Joe’s (where Laurel works) and the upscale customers who frequent that shop. I was not able to relate well to most of the characters and at some points I just wanted to find out what the final solution to the marriage was going to be and be done with it. The plot was moderately paced for the most part and at times slowed down. There were some very humorous parts, like the Thanksgiving dinner, but most of the humor was portrayed in the scenes of Laurel’s dark imagination of life without Doug and those fell short for me. I give the book a solid 3.5 stars, rounding it up to 4 for its originality. Some of the language is coarse, so that was not a plus for me. Although I liked reading about a woman with creative solutions to ending her marriage, I was not totally engaged in the read and was not sure where it was going to end up at times. Without spoilers, the ending was satisfactory if a bit over the top for me. Fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy Meister’s book with its wit and sharp, biting dialogue. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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Author Ellen Meister set out to wanted to write a book about "a happily married woman who wants to kill her husband" and was assured by her agent that it would be "relatable to nearly anyone who lived through the pandemic in close quarters with a significant other." Indeed, it is. For decades to come, sociologists will be studying the various ways in which COVID-19 lockdowns impacted individuals and families. Some couples, accustomed to spending most of their waking hours apart, found, when forced to remain at home together for days and days, that they were fundamentally incompatible. Others discovered they no longer had shared goals or dreams. Meister spent the lockdown with her husband and their three twenty-something children who were suddenly home all the time and by writing the book, she "worked out some demons!" 

There is no mention of the pandemic in Take My Husband. Rather, fifty-two-year-old Laurel Applebaum is working at the local Trader's Joe because two years ago the toy and novelty store that her husband, Doug, took over from his father, failed. Since then, Doug has been unemployed, insisting that he can only accept a management position, in part because his bad back precludes him from working, as Laurel does, as a cashier or salesperson. He took out a second mortgage on their home in an effort to save the failing business and, since Laurel's income is insufficient to pay all of their bills, they are gradually draining their savings each month in order to make ends meet. Even so, Doug is not motivated to engage in a focused job search. And, understandably, Laurel resents it. 

Doug does have health problems, including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. He also suffers from learned helplessness and complete dependence upon Laurel who, throughout their nearly thirty-year marriage, has babied and doted on him. Every morning, she retrieves the daily newspaper from the front porch and prepares Doug's breakfast before leaving for work. Doug lends no assistance with housekeeping or meal preparation, often calling or texting Laurel during the day requesting that she bring home his favorite junk foods. Laurel indulges him. She ensures that he remembers his medical appointments and even sorts all of his medications and supplements into the daily compartments of a weekly pill dispenser so that Doug can plop them into his mouth without even looking at them, much less taking any responsibility for his own well-being. Although they share a bed, they have not had an intimate relationship for several years. Laurel is an attractive woman, carrying just a few extra pounds, but she has ceased taking care of herself, deeming trips to the salon to camouflage the grey that now streaks her hair too expensive. 

Their adult son, Evan, and his wife, Samara, are expecting their first child and there is nothing in the world Laurel wants more than to be present for the birth of her first grandchild. Samara is having a difficult pregnancy and may require a Caesarian section, so Laurel wants to spend time with them in their Los Angeles home, helping the new parents and getting to know her grandchild. Doug steadfastly insists they cannot afford to charge the cost of the flight on their credit card.  

Laurel also cares for her mother, Joan, who suffers from anxiety and agoraphobia. Since Joan's marriage to Laurel's father dissolved in the 1980’s, she has been obsessed with collecting dolls. Her home is filled with them and she continues acquiring more. She only feels safe at home where she is surrounded by those midcentury, molded plastic figures, and depends on Laurel to deliver her groceries each week. Laurel longs to coax her mother out of the house for a nice lunch. 

Laurel is frustrated, depressed, and inwardly seething about her circumstances, but she does not share her feelings with Doug or voice her own needs. Instead, she capitulates to his demands. Her best friend, Monica, has repeatedly encouraged her to "speak up," unable to appreciate why Laurel finds it so hard to do so. She once harshly called Laurel a cipher -- "one having no influence or value; a nonentity." But Laurel knows Monica is right. 

And then with one phone call, something inside Laurel snaps. She is informed that Doug has been in a motor vehicle accident, but is provided no details about his condition. She immediately thinks the worst has happened and instantly blames herself for not realizing sooner how much she really loves her husband. En route to the hospital, she convinces herself that Doug is most certainly dead. And remembers that his life insurance policy has a value of $850,000 -- more than enough to solve all of their financial problems and permit her to buy a home of her own and decorate it in colors she loves. Without having to worry about Doug’s allergy, she can finally adopt the dog she has always wanted, quit her job at Trader Joe's, spend more time with her mother, go to Los Angeles for the birth of her grandchild and, most importantly, be free from all of the duties, obligations, and resentments that have weighed her down for too long. Laurel convinces herself that Doug's tragic death is the perfect solution to all of her problems. 

But Laurel is disappointed when she arrives at the hospital to find Doug has a bruised forehead and minor concussion from which he will quickly recover. Still, the dream of transforming her life does not dissipate, especially when she is spurred on by her friend and coworker, Charlie Webb, a widower in his seventies who regales her with ridiculous knock-knock jokes. He correctly guesses that Laurel was dismayed to find Charlie did not perish in the accident, and assures her that she is definitely not a terrible person. She is, rather, “an unhappy person” who does not "have to take such good care of" Doug. He insists it is time for her to "stop martyring yourself. Doug is a grown man. If he values his life, let him take some responsibility for it. And if not, well . . . you'll get the freedom you've earned." 

Laurel and Charlie begin conspiring to bring about Doug's death, considering various modalities including withholding his high blood pressure medication, plying him with all of the unhealthy foods he craves, and even releasing mice in the basement of their home so that Doug with contract the incurable hantavirus if she can convince him to clean out the space. Laurel even lets Doug believe she is in love with another man to spur his irrational jealousy and feelings of rejection and drive him to take his own life. They scuttle that plan when Charlie convinces Laurel that life insurance policies contain an exclusion for suicide which will prevent her from collecting the proceeds.  

Laurel is a sympathetic character. She assumed a defined role within her marriage nearly three decades ago, and was content when Doug was a successful business owner and she worked part-time at the family store while raising Evan. But, as so often happens, when the couple’s life style changed as a result of financial and other stressors, Laurel’s increasing discontent with her marriage grew exponentially. Now it has reached the breaking point that launched her into fantasizing about extricating herself . . . by eliminating Doug from her life. Laurel is absolutely convinced that Doug is devoted to her and would never be unfaithful, much less leave her. And that is a big part of the problem. Lacking the power to voice her concerns, and advocate for her own happiness and desires, she has established a pattern of swallowing her feelings. Now they are manifesting in the form of perverse, dangerous, but hilariously outlandish schemes.  

Could she actually bring about Doug's death? Although she is fifty-two years old, Laurel is, in some respects, naive and trusting, except when it comes to Doug's overbearing, meddling, and overly protective sister, Abby. She tells herself repeatedly that she lacks the capacity to be a murderer, yet she goes along with Charlie's suggestions, confiding in him and leaning on him for unconditional support and assistance. Both Monica and her mother warn her that Charlie's feelings for her go beyond friendship and camaraderie. But Laurel sees him only as a lonely older widower with a big heart. Who is right? 

Meister wisely recognized that story would not work unless her readers failed to “relate to Laurel and understand exactly why she snapped.” And to understand the depth of and reasons for Laurel’s distress, readers must get to know Doug. He is spoiled, self-centered, and unfocused. But he is very much the “monster” that Laurel, and his sister, Abby, created. Meister cleverly portrays him as a man who has arrived at a juncture in his life he never anticipated and for which he is unprepared. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that he is also unhappy and depressed, for reasons that mostly differ from Laurel’s. And he lacks the skills requisite to managing his own life, in part because he has never had to do so. He has been cajoled and placated so long he does not know how to fight for what he really wants. But he plainly loves Laurel – in his own way – and his fear of losing her is actually one of the things that both attracts and repels her, trapping them in a dance of codependence that many readers will recognize. 

Ironically, the various means Laurel employs to resolve her problems have unintended results. And that’s the real strength of Meister’s surprising and surprisingly moving tale. For all of their faults, readers will find themselves cheering for both Laurel and Doug, hoping they can find happiness – together or apart – and extricate themselves from the emotional tug-of-war in which they are enmeshed. Neither of them is a villain. Rather, they are simply flawed human beings and Laurel’s outrageous scheming is an attempt to escape from pain – much of which is self-inflicted due to a lack of confidence and self-worth – that has become utterly unbearable. 

Take My Husband succeeds because it is engrossing and entertaining. The story is punctuated by extremely dark, gallows humor and crisp, witty dialogue, as well as a cast of eccentric supporting characters that includes Joan, Monica, and Eleanor and Bob, about whom the less revealed the better. Charlie injects a dash of mystery and intrigue as Meister deftly brings his motives into question, and Luke is the sweet customer with whom Laurel shares a flirtation that helps bring her back to a much-improved version of her real self.  

Take My Husband is also a slyly thought-provoking meditation on marriage, expectations, and complacency. And the importance of communication in any relationship, but especially an intimate partnership. Meister hopes that readers appreciate, by getting to know Laurel and Doug, and examining their relationship, how important it is to, as Monica urges Laurel, "speak up." “Your needs and desires are just as important as your partner’s,” Meister observes. “A good relationship cannot be based on the subjugation of one person’s needs for another’s.” If Laurel and Doug can figure that out, will they live happily ever after? Reading Take My Husband to find out is a delightful and emotionally satisfying experience.
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the setup…
Laurel Applebaum, a cashier at Trader Joe’s, gets a call from the hospital at the end of her shift, informing her that husband Doug has been in an accident. As she rushes to see him, she imagines the worst. But then…she begins imagining what the worst would actually look like for her now that Doug is gone and a strange thing happens. Laurel embraces the idea of a world without the helpless Doug, a world aided by a massive life insurance policy, a cute new apartment, the puppy she’s always wanted and no one demanding she do everything for him. By the time she reaches the hospital she’s fully immersed in being a widow, only to be greeted by the fully alive Doug. 

the heart of the story…
The thing about dark humor is you feel a bit guilty when you find it funny. Maybe I should have been more appalled at Laurel’s thoughts of offing husband Doug but you had to meet him. He’s one of those throwbacks that believes “wife” means personal valet and maid, it being all right to be thoughtless and insensitive if you profess to love that person. There were times I was unconsciously spurring Laurel on with her plotting, especially as the schemes were rather benign, and had to remind myself that what she was doing was dead wrong. And then Doug would do something to redeem himself and I’d get caught up in the same pixie dust enveloping Laurel. However, it becomes clear that Laurel isn’t a complete innocent here after almost thirty years of marriage, contributing to her own pitiful circumstances.

the narration…
I enjoyed Glemboski’s performance as she totally embodied Laurel, at least from my perspective, and hers is the only point of view. I loved how she’d transition from a woman who was insecure and a worrier to the incensed schemer. It was subtle, nuanced and perfect. 

the bottom line…
There are a host of secondary characters ranging from supporters and enablers to detractors and potential romantic suitors (there’s one who I was right to worry about). But underneath all the humor and macabre planning is a serious story about who’s really responsible for how others choose to treat us. Laurel’s path to self discovery is coming late in life and the weird journey getting there might not have justified the means but it was effective. I enjoyed the story and could see parallels to my own life (not the dreams of hubby’s demise). There are important lessons here and Laurel’s education often gave me pause, too. I’m very happy that I opted for the audio version as she made this more fun.
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I was drawn to the 'darkly comic' premise of this book about a wife trying to kill her husband so she can live her best life. Sounds like a great, tongue-in-cheek story that has the potential for funny situations, but I struggled with this book and found it hard to find the humour in the story. 

Things started off strong but then became long-winded with some of Laurel's behaviours feeling unbelievable. She is a big reason why I didn't connect with this book - she's hard to like and her mercurial emotions were tiresome, and I struggled to sympathize with her. Laurel had no backbone when it came to her marriage - she'd complain and imagine killing her husband (a cliched lazy dude) in a variety of ways but would refuse to communicate with him. That is irksome to me.

I know that I wasn't the ideal reader for this book, but I also think this book was trying to do too much - and for me, it didn't quite succeed. Please know that I am an outlier with my feelings for this book. Other people have enjoyed it and it gives readers great discussion topics, but while it had enough to keep me reading, it wasn't the book I had expected with its mix of meandering over-the-top plot, annoying characters, and a humour I struggled to connect with. I just wasn't a good fit for this book.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to MIRA books for my advanced copy of this title which was given in exchange for my honest review.
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