The Man Who Forgot His Wife – John O’Farrell

Some men forget their wife’s birthday, or to buy milk. Vaughan has forgotten his entire personal life. It starts on a London train, where he sits confused, having unknowingly suffered a psychogenic fugue, not knowing who he is, where he lives, or anything else about his personal life. Finding a hospital, he is finally claimed by a friend, reintroduced to his life and discovers love at first sight- with the woman he is divorcing. This hilarious and wise story tells of how he gradually regains his memories, why he lost them in the first place, and how he fights to win back his wife and kids.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Some cracking characters in this, best mate Gary is mostly well-intentioned but amusingly deluded and nicely balanced by his baby-obsessed wife Linda. Vaughan’s wife Maddy is complex and lovable, it would also have been interesting to hear parts of the story from her point of view as she had a lot going on. His kids are a larger part of the story than usual, and their feelings are poignantly represented. I also have a soft spot for the self-loathing labrador with its inner monologue.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– None of that rubbish here, Vaughan has hit the control-alt-delete in his head and is starting over. With a fresh perspective he knows he’d be silly to let go of his family, and goes on a mission to regain them.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– This tale could be set anywhere, but works well in London with its inner city school in which Vaughan attempts to teach history to troublesome kids.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s hard to categorise this one, as the subject matter is serious and heartfelt, but the tone is really, really funny! It’s a definite romantic comedy, but it feels less frothy- I don’t think this is because it’s written from a man’s point of view, for Vaughan is a little ditzy at times. The author’s insights into family and the meaning of marriage are wise and witty, and the characters are sharply observed and recognisable from real life.

I was expecting to draw parallels with Before I Go To Sleep, another amnesiac tale (not yet reviewed here), but this is totally different in tone and type of amnesia, less thriller, more philosophical rom-com, plus it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: £3.67 from Amazon and £4.99 from WHSmith.

US: $10.29 from Kobobooks. Not on Amazon US.

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