The Uncoupling: Couples Therapy With Meg Wolitzer


I don’t know about you, but I can’t read “uncoupling” without adding “conscious” in front of it. Thanks, Gwyneth.


This uncoupling is unconscious anyway. The couples, or rather the women, in a small American town are under a spell that has them saying no to sex. Happy couples, unhappy couples, all are affected. Whether they want to or not, they’re participating in a sex strike.

The spell begins when the new drama teacher announces the school play will be an adaptation of Lysistrata, an ancient Greek play centering on a woman of the same name who organized a sex strike to end the Peloponnesian war. As the spell makes its way through the town, women decide for their own personal reasons that they will no longer have sex with men (it only affects male/female relations). It doesn’t take long for the men to turn into passive-aggressive babies, who act out their frustrations on their womenfolk, all leading up to Opening Night.

The premise of The Uncoupling amused me, I admit. I wondered what would happen if all the women in a small town suddenly told all the dudes no. A lot of these women had a right to be fed up with their men. It’s funny how clear-headed the women became once sex was taken out of the equation. But the climax (heh) was eye-rolling and silly.

I’m not sure what to make of The Uncoupling. All of a woman’s power in in her drawers? Men are overemotional? What are you saying Meg Wolitzer? Because of the structure of the book (as the spell touches people their story is told), I never felt anything for the characters beyond curiosity, the exception being the asexual girl who realized she didn’t have to have sex if she didn’t feel like it. (You go, girl!) Everyone else’s story is nothing new. All of these things happen to people in other books all the time, though not all people all at once. Not because of a spell, but because of life.

I did enjoy the narration. An omnipresent narrator follows the spell as it makes its way through town. It’s whimsical and quirky. I think I was expecting more high jinx from the tone. The Uncoupling had a great premise with poor execution.

About the Audio: Angela Brazil performed The Uncoupling. I thought she was lovely as the storyteller of this tale.

Note: I listened to this book through Scribd, but it is no longer available in Canada. Boo.


  1. I read this one and really didn't think much of it but I loved The Interestings.

  2. Hm, I'm not sure this would be for me.

  3. After loving The Interestings, I read The Wife late last year and loved it...maybe even more than The Interestings. So, I've been looking for another book to read from her backlist...the premise of this one sounds totally fascinating, but sounds like it didn't quite connect. Hmm...

  4. Cool premise, but yeah the execution sounds weak.

  5. Honestly, I liked this one better than The Interestings. I was not a fan of that one at all. I liked this one, but yes, I have been relatively underwhelmed by Meg's novels.


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