A Wife in Bangkok

A Novel

Fiction - Womens
280 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2020
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Author Biography

Iris Mitlin Lav grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She moved to Washington, DC, with her husband in 1969, where they raised three children. She is retired from a long, award-winning career of policy analysis and management with an emphasis on improving policies for low- and moderate-income families. She has traveled extensively in the US and abroad, and she lived in Thailand for two years in the 1970s. She and her husband now live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with Mango, their goldendoodle, and with grandchildren nearby. A Wife in Bangkok is her first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite

A Wife in Bangkok by Iris Mitlin Lav is a women’s fiction novel taking place in 1970s Thailand. When Crystal’s husband, Brian, decides to take up a position in Thailand with his company, Firstgas, Crystal feels she has little choice but to leave their comfortable life in Pico City, Oklahoma, and go along with him. She says goodbye to her friends, job, and sister, and bundles their two children, Lisa and Tim, off to a foreign country where she doesn’t know anyone or the language. Thrown into a culture she knows little about, Crystal does her best to fit in with a different lifestyle—servants, customs, and social mores. However, after a series of events leave her feeling hopeless, will Crystal be able to salvage her marriage as well as her own sense of self?

A Wife in Bangkok by Iris Mitlin Lav was a very interesting read, and certainly well-researched as evident by the author’s own time in Thailand. I enjoyed learning about the cultural variations as well as the feelings towards Americans during this tumultuous time after the Vietnam War. I felt palpable grief at Crystal’s loneliness and there were times I wanted to slap Brian for his insensitivity. I doubt I would have been so forgiving of his seemingly controlling behavior in basically commanding that she move with him without so much as a discussion. However, it was nice to see Brian’s growth throughout the novel as well. As someone who has moved to another country to live, albeit in much more modern times, I can empathize with Crystal’s feelings of isolation and attempts to fit in, so that hit home for me on a personal level. Overall, the novel itself was well-written and delivered at a steady pace that made me feel an attachment to the characters. I would definitely read another book by this author in the future.