Literary Wives: Wait For Me, Jack

t’s time for Literary Wives, a blogging club that looks at the depiction of wives in fiction!

Please make sure to check out the posts by the other wives and join in the discussion if you’ve read Wait For Me, Jack by Addison Jones! There are definitely spoilers ahead.

Emily of The Bookshelf of Emily J.
Kay @ Whatmeread
Lynn @ Smoke and Mirrors
Naomi @ Consumed By Ink

The Book



Wait For Me, Jack is the story of Jack and Milly’s ‘greatest generation’ marriage. The book starts with the day they meet, it’s Jack’s first day of work and he’s kind of already bored and tries to flirt with Milly (although back then she’s still Billie) and she brushes him off but then at the end of the day she sees him down the street and yells after him to wait up and the rest is history. Or rather, the rest is what makes up the book, told backwards. The next section sees Jack and Milly as seniors in their last days; Jack actually dies in his sleep and Milly is left with his body for days before she tells their children that their father is dead, really casually.

Each section is a different date and year in their lives, never any of the important days that they allude to throughout the book (when their nephews were dropped into their lives to stay, when their baby died etc), just regular days that altogether make up a life. You see their relationship unfurl, from what it is in the end when they really can’t stand each other, to the middle when both of them are kind of at loose ends, to the very beginning when they are trying to build a life together.

My Thoughts

I quite liked the structure of this book – I liked being able to see the regression of the marriage, knowing how it all ended up before seeing how it got that way. It was an interesting way for the characters to develop too, or rather, regress.

Right away I was struck by Jones’ dedication:

To anyone who wonders if they married the wrong person.

It really sets up the novel as both Jack and Milly wonder numerous times what their lives would have been like had they ended up with different people. In Jack’s case he acts on that fantasy with a number of different women, further complicating their lives by bringing an additional child into the mix.

I won’t say that I particularly liked any character in this novel. Oh I’m not the kind of reader that has to like characters in books but when you don’t, it does make it harder to root for them. Jack leans right into being a despicable person with the cheating and the way he looks down on his wife as she ages less gracefully than he perhaps would have preferred. And for her part, I think Milly makes herself into a bit of a martyr, never really standing up for what she wants out of the relationship.

What does the book say about being a wife?

This book felt really Jack-centric to me but we did get a sense of what it was like for Milly at points throughout the novel.

For Milly it seems like a large part of being a wife is putting up with Jack’s shi*t and making him feel like the smarter, more everything partner. She’s not stupid, she knows what he is, what he’s done, where he’s been on some of the important days of their lives. But she’s also a woman of a certain time, a ‘greatest generation’ wife, the people who just got on with it and didn’t complain. What happens to her life, her children, Milly, if she leaves Jack, the breadwinner?

She imagined leaving but couldn’t get past the practical difficulties. Where to go, and with what money?[…] If she left this house, somehow, without money, would Billy come with her? Would the older children still respect her, want to visit her? Would she end up like her sister, Louise? Mentally unstable, impoverished, vulnerable? No real home, a transient? Or like her mother – coping with singleness by being manly, tough, aggressively competent?

It seems like, for Milly, the most important part about being a wife is the home she creates. For most of the novel, Milly is inside their home. Later in life it is because she has become crippled, unwilling and unable to leave their home but earlier on home has always been her focus. Without Jack, without her marriage, that home is no longer possible. Their marriage ends in her home with Jack’s passing and we don’t know what becomes of Milly then. Do her children take her in? Does she move to an assisted living facility? Does she stay in the home alone? It is clear at the end of her life that Milly is in no condition to take care of herself. Whatever his failings, and there are many, in the end Jack does take gruding care of her, even while being annoyed that she can’t remember anything, that she can’t walk, that she smells.

Wait For Me, Jack seems to posit that marriage is just an institution designed to stick you with the one person who will annoy you, plague you and break your heart a million times over. A very uplifting read! 🙂

Be sure to visit the other blogs and get in on the discussion! Join us in June when we read A Separation by Katie Kitamura.



I’m at the point in my life where people are starting to get married. My mom has been planning my own wedding in her head for years. So reading Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage seemed like a good book to read right now.

Committed sort of takes up the story of Eat, Pray, Love when we leave Elizabeth Gilbert happily in love with an older Brazilian gentleman. At the beginning of Committed, they have carved out a new life for themselves in the States, unmarried which is a problem for everyone but them.

(Sounds familiar…)

It becomes problematic when the United States has an issue with it. Gilbert’s other half isn’t American and has been staying in the States on 3 month visas, essentially living in the States, but not totally legally. Their option? Get married so that he can stay in the country.

Sounds like a simple solution but both Gilbert and her partner are adverse to the idea of marriage, both having survived pretty messy divorces. But seeing no other option, they agree to get married.

Before she gets re-married Gilbert decides she should probably do some research into the institution of Western marriage so that she isn’t totally unhappy with the decision when the time comes. Happily for all, the visa process takes almost a year so she has plenty of time to come to terms with the idea of being married.

The history of marriage, it turns out, is an interesting one and Gilbert tries to cover the major developments. It all kind of boils down to the fact that historically, marriage has been great for men and disastrous for women – while it extends the life and happiness of men, marriage has meant giving up identity, and any kind of autonomy for women. Which, is kind of depressing. None of what Gilbert finds out about marriage really makes her feel better about things.

But she perseveres and examines her own parents’ marriage and her grandparents’ marriage and finally the one that probably is most responsible for her feelings about marriage, her first one.

And still she doesn’t feel any better.

It isn’t until she realizes that marriage has always been a rebellious act, that she comes around to the idea. No matter who is in charge of the world, no one can take away the intimacy that comes from 2 people being married to each other. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, virtually every tyrant ever, has tried to make rules about who can marry each other, but people still tried to marry whoever they wanted.

Which is kind of uplifting and heartwarming.

One gets the sense that Gilbert writes the way she talks which results in a conversational kind of read. This history of marriage and her relationship is peppered with personal anecdotes, the best of which involve her hilarious 7 year old niece, Mimi.

It didn’t completely turn me off the idea (don’t worry Mom) but there was certainly a lot of food for thought in Committed. At the end of the day, everyone’s marriage (or relationship) is deeply personal, and history of marriage aside, this was just one more story about someone else’s marriage.