Date started: 1/917
Date finished: 1/10/17
For #22 of BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge: Read a collection of stories by a woman.
Unlike many of the other book reviews posted on this blog, American Housewife by Helen Ellis was strictly picked for cosmetic reasons: the title and the cover. Yes, I went there and judged a book by its cover. While I’m here admitting things, I will admit I had a strangely hard time writing this review. Going into it, I thought to myself gleefully “this will be a piece of cake.” I was wrong, very wrong. I racked my brain for over a week on how to exactly articulate my opinions about it.
American Housewife is a collection of fictional stories diving head first into womahood. Believe me a good portion of these stories feel fiction, at the same time, these incidents feel realistic. It is like having the feeling that underneath the plastered grins of the real life American housewives, I’m sure a lot of these fictional women exist. For the most part, these characters undermine the societal constraints placed on them (for being women) while at the same time following them religiously. American Housewife is a quick read and entertaining enough to be an excellent beach read. The hijinks these women get into keeps up the entertainment factor. I will repeat, I did find this book entertaining in the same way I find Thor bopping Loki on the head funny. (see Norse Mythology for more details). Heh, heh gets me every time that one.
During my deep contemplation of the content of this post, I did something I try to avoid: I gazed at the reviews at the back of the book. Occasionally, I find reviews a little exaggerated, this was one of those times. I will agree some of the stories are funny, but I wasn’t chuckling every 5 seconds or saying “Golly gee willikers this is such a funny book!” One of the reviewers mentioned briefly rooting for these characters to go over the finish line, essentially many of them are highly flawed women. It’s like the old saying about you can’t help but watch because “it’s like watching a train wreck.” I probably just used that saying wrong. Oh well, I think most of you get the point. I don’t know if I want to them to actually “win” at what they’re doing, but they are sure entertaining to watch. Basically, The Real Housewives of Whatever in literary form.
Stories I enjoyed:
“What I do all day”
“The Wainscoting War”
“Dumpster Diving with the Stars”
“Southern Lady Code”
“How to be a Grown-Ass Lady”
“How to be a Patron of the Arts”
“My novel is Brought to you by the Good People at Tampax”