Reviewing Olivia Goldsmith’s The First Wives Club

This is one of my favourite movies -I love the story of female friendships especially when the cast is so epic and the whole thing so funny. What I didn’t know was that the movie of the same is based on this book. When Elise, Brenda, and Annie discover that their friend committed suicide because her husband left her for a younger woman, they decide to get even.

Don’t get mad. Get everything.

When their best friend commits suicide over her divorce, Elise, Brenda and Annie decide enough is enough. Each was crucial to her husband’s career. But now that the men are successful, they’ve traded in their wives for newer, blonder models.

Over lunch one day they form the First Wives Club. But this is no support group. This is the SAS in Chanel. Painstakingly, inexorably, they plan the downfall of the men who’ve wrecked their lives – and know that revenge has never tasted sweeter…  

What this blurb and my first paragraph don’t mention is how important money is in this book. Not only does Cynthia (the best friend who kills herself) have a husband who cheated and then left her, but also a husband who does whatever he can to get all the money in all the world. In fact all of their ex-husbands are very occupied with money and how much they can get while at the same time making sure everyone else is a lot poorer then they are.

I didn’t expect that – I expected this book to be a hilarious tale about three women getting comical revenge on their ex-husbands. Cue prat-falls and bums on wet paint. Instead this story was far more poignant than I expected. Annie, Brenda, and Elise are devastated when they learn the truth about their husbands and the truth about Cynthia. Their revenge stemmed from heartbreak and frustration at their hopelessness.

This book was written in and set in the 90s so even though it was a poignant, gripping, funny story it was – is – dated especially with the views on People of Colour and people with Special Needs. Some of it I could understand; this is obviously a product of its time but I am reading it in 2016, I wanted to see more diversity and less bigoted views.

Saying all of that, the truth was that I couldn’t put this book down – I wanted to know how these men would pay for the things they did because they things they did were so horrible. I fell in love with Annie and Brenda and Elise so much because they were so well written. These women’s careers and dreams were both linked to and completely separate from their husbands and children and I really liked that because it was so realistic – everything is connected and linked. You know, it’s so rare for me to say this but Olivia Goldsmith’s female characters were so much more engaging and interesting then the men. It’s not that the men were two -dimensional, they weren’t but the women were just so much more interesting.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a product of it’s time yes, but it is also so much better than I expected and so much better than the movie. A lot more sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll than I expected!


  1. sam 27th January 2016 / 11:38 pm

    I’ve only watched this, now I need to read it!!

    • Rosh 28th January 2016 / 11:41 am

      You must! It is so good! And obviously more detailed than the movie

Leave a Reply