The Bad Wife Handbook

The Bad Wife Handbook

A wife and mother explores her roles via poetry.

Rachel Zucker is a married woman, mother of three and the author of a poetry collection that rawly considers the thoughts of doubt and distraction that occasionally swirl through a wife and mother's mind.

Zucker's writing style lives up to the quote from former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall that she reprinted to start her latest book, The Bad Wife Handbook (Wesleyan University Press): "... synonyms do not exist."

The thought-provoking collection covers subjects of commitment, monogamy and lust with frank and exacting lines such as: "Shall we discuss married sex? Yes, let's take our clothes off and talk of pros and cons, the lag and lapse," from "Autography 3."

Zucker, a certified labor coach, approaches universal aspects of motherhood that one must either explore, ignore or simply accept. For example, from "The Rise and Fall of the Central Dogma":

"That a mother's face is not her mindset—
even the infant knows it. And yet we put her
on television, donate particle scopes.

I tell you there is a secret world."

The Los Angeles Times aptly described the power of Zucker's words: "[The Bad Wife Handbook] is confessional writing at its most elemental, not the calculated revelation of so much modern memoir but a record of the thoughts we do not share."