First Wives Club: A First-Time Novel Sets the World on Fire

It is pretty rare for a first-time novelist to pen an enormous best-seller that would become a smash-hit movie and a cultural phenomenon, but in 1992, then-unknown Olivia Goldsmith did just that! Working with keen observation and raucous comic insight, Goldsmith produced First Wives Club, a book that turned gender norms on their ears and subverted everyone’s expectations of how women should act!

Even before she was finished writing, Goldsmith’s novel was the subject of a fierce battle between three powerful publishers, all of whom could see the breakout potential of this combination of subject and talent, a perfect marriage about imperfect marriages. And they were correct: First Wives Club exploded into the world, taking up such a long residence on the New York Times bestsellers list that any book trying to share its space needed to sign a pre-nup!

Shining a light on how women think

Before there was Sex and the City or Bridesmaids, there was First Wives Club. The women were honest about what they wanted and what they didn’t want, and were blunt about how to go about getting it. This revealed, in often side-splitting ways, the truth about men and women, and in doing so, allowed women to open up about being ill-treated.

Despite its comedic bent, Goldsmith’s novel really demonstrated many ways in which women were taken advantage of, and treated like second-class citizens even when they seemed to have it all. It showed them tossed around by the whims of their husbands, and as something disposable. The way society treats aging women is something to which everyone could relate.

Showing the power of women

But what set Goldsmith’s novel apart isn’t that it showed women as victims, but as people who could take charge of their own lives, regain control, and even get some payback out of the situation. Her characters weren’t going to sit back and let someone else dictate their fate- they took it in their hands.

The awesome power of friendship and love was shown that it could overcome backstabbing, betrayal, cheating, and the trauma of divorce simply because you began to get older. When Elise, Brenda, and Annie decided that they’d had enough, they gave way more than they got. They stuck together, and because of that, could ride through any wave.

Resonating for decades

There’s a reason people are still in the thrall of Goldsmith’s creation. Its lessons about life, its keen observations of human interactions, its brilliant and hilarious set-pieces, and its ultimate message about life, love, and the obstacles that friendship can overcome will resonate as long as men and women try to figure each other out. We’re thrilled to bring Olivia Goldsmith’s vision to the stage.