I think WWWM is different from other stories ad loving wives stories because of the complexity of the characters and the consequences of their decisions. And unlike a standard revenge 'torch the bitch' or 'leave the wimpy husband to his fate because he doesn't deserve her' all characters have redeemable qualities (Not sure about Paula Donnaly), that Dan constantly manages to expose us to in order for us to change our understanding of a character in small, almost imperceivable nudges that, before you know it, have you viewing a character in another light.
I like sex in a story, more than I do action, there is a lot of sex in volume 1, mainly because both Debbie and Bill are using it as a medium to try and move on, find comfort or companionship at the end of their marriage and during their divorce. There are deeper reasons as to why they do this and they both have certain reservations about their actions because of it.
Bill is a good guy, essentially someone who holds firm to his own ethical ideologies and moral integrity. Bill, despite being called saint Bill, does not really project his ways of thinking onto others, he tries his best to make people understand him and if they don't; he accepts that and tries to come up with a consensus that everyone can find ground on. However, he can't maintain these qualities when he finds out his wife is in love, or at least in lust, with another man and is planning on bailing on their marriage. He goes through a destructive phase, non-productive phase and slowly, after the forest fire has run its course, he starts his rebirth. He understands what he could and could not do, he knows where he made mistakes and he understands what he can and cannot have... that does not mean he accepts it.
He's also been an absentee dad but has made some real ground work since the beginning of the divorce to maintain a connection, it's not where it should be but he is making the best of it in regards to who he is.
The story is Bill's, which is necessary considering how impacting his job is, and the connections the job brings, has a huge impact on not just his own life but the life of those around him and also how he stands as a character and person within the world he lives in. As a prosecutor you get some of the best characterization from Bill in terms of how far he'll go to justify a life taken by making other characters and the viewers understand how terrible murder is, no matter who is doing it.
This is one of the author's strengths the ability to make us so immersed in the speciality of the character and how they operate within it. Another; being the use of quotes from movies and songs, which I really appreciate.
Debbie is another great character because she is a surprising character. Debbie, 2/3 of the way through WWWM, has nymphomaniac tendencies which, looking back, stem from some underlying bipolar disorders that really start to come out later on. This is due to how she was raised, predominantly by her aunt who she aspired to be. However, she understands herself as a sexual animal, she knows how far to flirt and how to deal with her high sex drive to remain faithful to her husband. This leads to surprises since you would think she's some huge breasted slut who's out for anything young and with a big apparatus. You quickly learn that she also has problems with how to deal with her sexual energy and how she has trouble dealing with the almost constant advances of other men, the looks, the desire, the lust and how it's worn on her as a woman and a person.
Debbie is also intelligent, a professional, a mother, a wife, a teacher and, despite her looks, a fairly upright person who's managed to change from her wild teenage ways and into a responsible adult. That is until her marriage starts to die and Douglas Baker enters the picture and promptly sweeps her off her feet.
Debbie makes a lot of mistakes. She wants to remember what it's like to be a desirable woman but in doing so, allows herself to forget she is a mother, daughter, lover, wife, professional and a mature lady.
I always appreciate how Dan tackles why people are the way they are, how Debbie, in part, is a victim of how society will always treat her based on her looks and how that attention has become fundamental to who she is and the things she does.
There are three main negatives with WWWM and some of these translates to the series as a whole. I would like to say these problems are almost all character based. I call them problems because Dan has created a standard of character quality in not only this series but all his other works as well, predominately 'Ghost and Shadows'. The characters, or character traits are, too big for them not to get the proper attention and consideration they need in a character story like this.
-The first negative: The children-characterization.
One thing that has always struck me as odd was how undeveloped the children were. Now the story is the story of Bill and Debbie but the impact the children have on the story is...basic, Lew walters, Aline, Doug, Clint Abbot, just the vast majority of the character introduced have a lot more character than the children, especially BJ. There was this beautifully written scene between Debbie and Kelly that I loved and one between Kelly and Bill that was even better which was a huge climax of the Maitland family, it was excellent. However, there is not enough characterization for BJ in both Debbie and Bill's regards. Debbie says Bill has been an absentee father but I don't see enough of Debbie making positive connections with her children. There was some mention of a pool or pool party but there is not enough to make me think 'oh, Debbie is the better parent' or 'They seem to be able to talk to Debbie more than they do their father', in fact, most of the time we see interactions with the kids its always within a negative energy or outcome.
I would really love to see a scene where the children talk. A scene where Bj may sit down with his father and tell him what he thinks of how his father has acted, who's fault he thinks it is, how he's dealt with his father truly moving out of the house, how he's dealt with his mother bringing another man into the house, what was the initial reaction...just what is his opinion on something that, by rights should have been heavily damaging to his lifestyle and how he perceived the family and his own future.
In Ghost and Shadows, Hugh's son is devastated about what his mother has done and it's jaded his certainties in life, it's damaged how he sees the world and his future. I would like to see how that's happened to BJ and Kelly. Apart from distancing themselves from it, I have no real idea how it's affected them. I would really love to see the talk of reconciliation between Kelly and Debbie.
Debbie has to answer, however, for lying to her children. I really think, at some point, she needs to come clean and tell the kids that she lied to them when she said the father had gone crazy and there was nothing between her and Doug before UNF blowup. I think it's instilled a darkness in Bill that his children would believe her lies over him and it would mean, at least to them, that their father was the one who destroyed their family or the instigator for it.
Essentially, more character construction for the kids.
-The second negative: Douglas Baker- balancing.
Now I don't like or dislike Doug, he's a character but he does have some of the best writing and best dramatic scenes in the series to date. Doug is a hunk with a big dick, according to Debbie, 8 inches, not sure if she measured that herself or if that's what he told her. Essentially he's every woman's sexual fantasy and Debbie is every man's wet dream, they're sexually perfect for each other.
This is Doug's main value in the story, a fact he hates and is the epicentre of his unhappiness and the emotional tensions that arise between him and Debbie. He thinks, despite what she says, that he is nothing more than a human vibrator to her. As far as the reader is concerned, this is indeed true. There are no real instances apart from UNF, where you see them at a restaurant talking, you see them at work talking or interacting, you don't really get many instances where you see them interacting positively outside of a sexual situation.
None of this is a problem, all these points are brought up and sometimes answered, we get a fair amount of character development from Doug as a person, in regards to the emails, his interactions with Bill and his arguments with Debbie.
The main issue with Doug is, in fact, the main point of Doug. Doug is hyped up to be this sexual god, the best sex Debbie has ever had (This seems to include her times before marriage where she was really wild) He's so good in fact that Debbie can't stop thinking about him after being with him that previous day, so good that she will literally put everything second to her enjoyment of him.
This again, would be completely fine..., if he were special.
You have to understand that the reader's base the validity of something partly by what other characters say about an aspect of the target character, but it's when we are shown it that we can truly believe it. It always bugged me but I never understood why so many people ask so much about Doug's sexual prowess in Bed and not about Bill's or Aline's or any other woman Bill has been with and someone brought it to my attention why.
Doug and Debbie, surprisingly enough, never have a true sex scene. This was actually very shocking. When I looked back I realised this was actually true. All of Debbie and Doug's sex scenes can't really be called “scenes”. We are always introduced to them either while they are just finishing up or they have just finished. The only time we got a beginning of what he is like in bed, it was interrupted because Doug said some things that he should have kept out of the bedroom. In contrast, almost every single Bill sex scene has had a beginning, middle and end. In fact Debbie's only sex scene where it went through all the stages was with Bill!
Secondly, within the context of what the reader sees in Doug's half sex scene, it's unremarkable compared to all of Bill's. I once read a review saying the sex scenes resembled porno and I took umbrage to this remark but I looked at in retrospect and Bill is, in fact, a very, very good lover. He can go three even four times and he's pushing 42 and he's not using Viagra to do it. His sex scenes are very creative, detailed and experienced, and there is a lot of them.
If someone came up to me and asked 'based on what you've seen in wwwm, who is the better lover, Doug or Bill?' I'd say Bill. Everyone in the story says Doug is a sex god, he's hung, he's a hunk but I never really see it. A lot of people remark that Bill is unattractive and can''t compete to Doug at a sexual stand point but there is no where near enough evidence for a reader to agree, in fact, the opposite is more true.
What Dan should have done and can still do, since WWWM vol 1 maybe going for free now, is to do one of two things.
1. add a complete Debbie and Doug sex scene and make it to the hottest thing he's ever written to make us truly understand that, sexually, Bill isn't in the same league instead of everyone trying to make us believe it. I mean, Debbie is one of the hottest and sexually adept women in Jacksonville, Doug is meant to be one of the best lays she's ever had including her wild days, that may even include people like Ramone, Men bill couldn't compete with at the time. If that is the case, show it to me.
2. The other is to cut down significantly on Bill's sex scenes, give them the same afterglow treatment you give Debbie and Doug. Or, cut down on Bill's sexual feats, I mean the guy did say that anal, missionary, doggie and oral were enough for Debbie and Bill. Yet suddenly he's busting out all these moves after a 20 year relationship with Debbie? In volume 2 Debbie hooks up sexually with someone who can only climax 1 or two times a session and Bill is still outpacing him. I mean the guy is older so it makes sense, Bill seems like the best lover in the series to be honest, especially at the age of 42, goddamn.
-The third negative: Debbie – Nymphomania
This is more controversial and I've found that most readers believe this problem recedes as the series goes on but the difficulty is that most people still believe this high sex drive is a fundamental aspect of Debbie and from what I can tell the way this is displayed is changed throughout volume 2 and volume 3 part 1, mainly because of the lack of sexual partners in Debbie’s life.
When I asked people, who had a problem with Debbie's high sex drive, whether or not Debbie would be the same character to them if she lost this high sex drive and had a normal one. Many consented to the fact that she would not be the same character and all acknowledged that she would become less interesting if she lost this aspect of her that was chief among her ethical, psychological and validation as an attractive woman and valuable human being.
I've already mentioned the problem with Doug and Debbie. The biggest problem stems from the fact she tried to seduce Lew Walters, who was already married and was acting very sluttish (which was the intent), and could have possibly destroyed his life just to get what she wanted. I am confused with the consistency with Debbie's Moral integrity and how far she is willing to corrupt, sexually, to get what she wants. This scene in particular is the one everyone refers to when judging her negatives or things they can't get past, some resolution might help. The other problems that her nymphomania (I must admit, that word seems strong but there's no better word to explain her sexual addiction), have been answered, are being answered or simply have more depth to them which is strongly hinted at in the latter quater of the volume but is not really the focus until volume 2.
This was more like an analysis than a review of volume 1. Katie, in her review did mention there was a recap at the start of each chapter. This method worked on literotica when you were uploading chapter by chapter but it doesn't quite fit here apart from to sum up Bill's thoughts of the last chapter.
I hope this review/analysis shows how much this series means to me and your viewers and how we are not all mindless ass kisser who want to shower you with praise without considering what could be improved, what we didn't like and what we did like.
I made this based of multiple conversations with different readers both from your blog and correspondences on Literotica. I tried to identify the recurring problems that fans generally had and then tried to look at why they are a problem and what could be done to fix them.
I think I wrote a mini-thesis on volume 1 here and at some point I'll do one on volume 2. with WWWM vol 3 part 2 coming out soon I thought it would be a good opportunity to help re-invest the long term readership and new comers as food for thought and something you could chew on as well.
Hope Readers/fans and the author enjoyed this.
(reviewed the day of purchase)