The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
Lila Soto finds finds herself in a position she never thought she would be in. Here was a woman with a high powered job as a hotel trouble shooter with a keen sense of order and logic. She travelled the world fixing things for the hotel system she worked for. And she loved it. She loved the smell of hotels. She loved her suitcase. She loved her life. Then one day she finds herself the mother of a three year old and a newborn and the wife of a restaurant critic who takes his job so seriously I laughed out loud at some of his attempts at anonymity. I also laughed remembering my own life as a young mother juggling small children whose idea of logic was very different than mine. As Lila tries to maneuver herself through a day, this woman who knew how to handle a crisis finds it wasn’t working in her own life.
I could say this was almost a funny, funny story until one realizes the humor isn’t all that funny when you consider at the center of it Lila’s angst. She is secluded as a new mother because her obsessive husband won’t let her have friends, won’t let her even talk to people because they might be in the restaurant business and his cover would be blown. He really is quite paranoid about it.
His attempts to isolate this young mother who never thought she would BE a mother wrapped in the cocoon of young parenthood finally takes its toll on Lila. She starts to question everything in her life, most importantly, she questions her own identity as a person. And, she starts to rebel.
Is it possible to say I had fun with this, at Lila’s expense? No. Because it was a good read.