Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Spare Wife-Alex Witchel

The Spare Wife
Alex Witchel
Knopf, Feb 2008, $23.95
ISBN: 9781400041497

After graduating high school in Harding, South Carolina Ponce Porter heeded Sinatra’s advice by coming to Manhattan to make it as a model. Instead the teen married wealthy TV producer Lee Morris, who was older than her parents. Finding marriage to a man four decades older than her boring, Ponce went to NYU and law school.

Over two decades later, the fortyish Ponce is a wealthy widow known by her socialite friends as "THE SPARE WIFE" as she is a companion to husbands at sports galas and to their wives at charity events. Everyone trusts the popular Ponce. However, in Chicago Boothby's Review wannabe reporter Babette Steele catches Ponce kissing happily married fertility Dr. Neil Grossman. Whereas Babette feels she has the ticket into journalism. Ponce and her friends begin a discrediting campaign to spin the story by destroying the aspirant and the other jealous media sharks trying to devour their affluent superiors.

Ponce and her social set prove that President Bush is right that the economy must have a strong base affirmed by the excess hedonistic extravagance in which one would expect this crowd to answer health care issues with “Let them eat cake”. Alex Witchel goes deep into the soul of the title character, ironically a shallow person socializing with her superficial friends. Readers will enjoy this powerful character study of the ultra elite whose earmarked connections would be the envy of lofty politicians.

Harriet Klausner

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