Title: I Give My Marriage A Year

Author: Holly Wainwright

Published: August 2020

Genres: Contemporary Fiction




How far would you go to save your marriage?

Lou and Josh have been together for 14 years. They share two kids, a mortgage, careers and plenty of history. Now, after a particularly fraught Christmas, Lou is ready to ask herself: is this marriage worth hanging on to?

Every month for a year, Lou sets a different test for their relationship - from daily sex to brutal honesty - to help her decide if she should stay or go. Secrets are exposed, old wounds reopened and a true-to-life suburban love story unfolds.

I Give My Marriage a Year paints a sharply accurate, often hilarious picture of a modern Australian marriage. Lou and Josh are a couple on the edge, and their efforts to bring their relationship back from the brink will resonate with anyone who has ever asked themselves: is this enough?

Whose side will you take? Who deserves a second chance? And will Josh and Lou stay together or split for good?



This review is a bit like a bag of mixed lollies, but go with me. Essentially, Lou gives her marriage to Josh one year, and swears to do all she can to save it, for the sake of sanity, happiness and their children. Overall, I couldn’t totally connect with the story. The antics between Lou and Josh in their endeavour were funny at times, and I did appreciate the exploration of the dynamics between different characters, but I failed to grow fond of them. This could be down to that despite me feeling like I knew them well, there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of character development. I have no doubt this would relate to many, but to me the one dimensional storylines and characters felt all too familiar. As someone who, based on title alone, isn’t the demographic who would gravitate to this book, I still hoped for some profound notions or future lessons, but I could not grasp any. I’m sure those who this is relevant to would feel to the contrary, but this is my subjective opinion.



I can appreciate the premise, but ultimately as a single 24 year old female, I simply was not the target audience. I detest reading about infidelity, and I did not warm to either Josh nor Lou at any point in the story. It took me longer than normal to finish, purely because I kept putting it off for the sake of evading the sadness it made me feel. Not in a profound or moving way, but in a defeated, “I’m losing faith” way. Perhaps my naivety is to blame? Perhaps it might hit different if I was in a long term relationship or married? I thought the structure was scattered, jumpy and unnecessarily convoluted, with sections dedicated to each of the 12 months, then 2 separate perspectives, then 2 interchangeable timelines of past and present. I worry of the power it holds to do subconscious damage, as it romanticised marital emotional abuse, disguising “staying in a toxic relationship” as “the sacrifices we make for family”. I was pleased to see however the story challenging the stereotypical gender roles when it comes to infidelity.



“How do you decide to leave this whole life you’ve built, this family you’ve made, this home you’ve created? The secrets you’ve told, the fears you’ve shared . . . These children you’ve made. How do you decide to just leave?”


Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending us a review copy of this book.

You can find more information about the book and purchase a copy here.

RRP: $32.99



'Mamamia Out Loud' podcast - BONUS: I Give My Marriage A Year

'NZ Booklovers' interview - Holly Wainwright Talks About 'I Give My Marriage A Year'


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