For years, I thought I didn’t like short stories. People recommended short story collections, I politely smiled, and moved on to a novel. I thought short stories were well….too short. I wanted a story that would last, something were I could lose myself. So I continued to pass on short stories, and stuck with my beloved novels.
Then I heard Liberty and Rebecca recommend American Housewife on All the Books (a Book Riot podcast that I listen to religiously). Something told me that I should give this one a try. And since this is a new year and I am trying new things, I decided to jump in wholeheartedly. I am so glad that I did.
This book presents 13 vastly different perspectives, but they all have a common thread…the lives of women and our relationships with each other. Some selections are hilarious (Southern Lady Code, The Wainscoting War, and How to be a Grown-Ass Lady), some are touching (Dumpster Diving with the Stars, The Fitter), some are strange (My Novel Is Brought to you by the Good People at Tampax, Welcome to Book Club), and some are ominous (Dead Doormen). But, even through all the exaggerated scenarios, there is also an undeniable truth: I have experienced grocery aisle rage, I do have a “marriage chuckle”, a great bra is life changing, and “Hmmm” is most certainly Southern Lady Code for: I don’t agree with you but am polite enough not to rub your nose in your ignorance.
Sometimes it is uncomfortable to look at yourself that close in the mirror. However, the humor and empathy in many parts of the book helped me to see that even with the less savory parts of being an American Housewife, there are a lot of blessings. I am a very lucky woman.
If you like wacky and strange stories and if you are interested in the inner lives of women, I highly recommend this book. For me, I think it is the beginning of a short story obsession.
Quote: “A good bra is fine, but a great bra is life changing. It gives you the confidence of a homecoming queen. It’s a tiara for your ta-tas.”
Author: Helen Ellis
Date Published: January 12, 2016
Source: Edelweiss ARC