This book begins when the main protagonist, Jonathan Sweetwater, comes home from work early one day only to find his wife of twelve years apparently having an affair with someone in the guest bedroom. In shock, he leaves the house and sets off on a business trip, trying to figure out what to do.
For some reason never adequately explained, he decides he will find the answer by meeting with all the wives (a total of six including his mother) of his late father, who left Jonathan’s mother the night of Jonathan’s ninth birthday. Jonathan takes off, ostensibly on business trips, to meet up with these women and ask them about his dad.
At the end of his quest, he makes a decision about his marriage that has more to do with what he figured out about the affair rather than anything to do with his father.
Evaluation: The author has skill in writing prose, but perhaps not so much in plot construction. I didn’t see how the various subplots had anything to do with the main story arc. At one point, Jonathan says to one of the wives: “I feel like there was some answer I’ve been waiting … for, but when I finally tried to find it I realized I didn’t even know what the question was.” Substitute the word “plot” in the place of the words “question” and “answer” and that is a perfect summary of my reaction to the book. But it could well be that other readers will make more sense of it than I.
Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2015