The Wives of Bath Book Review

The Wives of Bath Book ReviewThe Wives of Bath by Susan Swan

In The Wives of Bath, Susan Swan penetrates the world of a girls' boarding school and tells a story - at once shocking and wickedly funny - that encompasses rebellion and murder, and stunningly evokes the pain, confusion, and humour of female adolescence and sexual coming-of-age. Internationally acclaimed, Lost and Delirious, is based on the bestselling novel, directed by Lea Pool and starring .

It is 1963. Mary Bradford (a.k.a. Mouse) is thirteen when she is shipped off to Bath Ladies College. Mouse, motherless, a hunchback, enters the school feeling very much on its margins, determined never to fit in with the "normal" girls, never to succumb to the expectations of the elder role models: the spinster teachers, the elegant mothers of her schoolmates. She chooses her allies carefully: her hump, whom she calls Alice, and John F. Kennedy, to whom she writes long letters asking and giving advice.

But the school itself is stranger than Mouse ever could have imagined. A secret underworld of tunnels beneath the buildings, stolen love letters, King Kong worship, and ghostlike apparitions - a world where young girls sometimes refuse to be simply "good little girls" - all lead Mouse into experiences, both terrifying and exciting, of an alternate reality for her sex. What begins as experimentation spins out of control, ending in a death that only Mouse can fully comprehend.

Susan Swan has created in Mouse Bradford - wise, witty and vulnerable - an unforgettable heroine. The Wives of Bath is a novel that both moves the heart an astonishes the imagination.

The internationally acclaimed film adaptation of the novel, Lost and Delirious, was released in 2001. Directed by Lea Pool, starring Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré, and Mischa Barton. Available on DVD and in movie stores.



So I finally picked this up after learning that one of my favorite movies Lost and Delirious is inspired by this. Please note it is not an actual adaptation as the movie and book are extremely different. The only thing truly similar is the character names are the same and Paulie’s personality is pretty on point.

This book was crazy and I loved it. It completely sucked me in and I read it in one day. I think this book is really important because it really was an older book that had topics about gender and sexuality long before those things were ever talked about as they are today. It went there with a character who was born a girl but was actually a boy. I think the author handles it beautifully for the time period it was conceived in. The plot was a little all over the place but that’s part of the charm of this story. It was a little annoying how everything was told though Mouse when the movie does give us a bit more Paulie.


Verdict: All in all this book is a classic in my eyes and I think anyone who wants more LGBTQIA+ in their life should read it. I gave it 4/5 stars. 

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