Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Review: "American Housewife: Stories" by Helen Ellis

This is a collection of short stories that are quirky, creepy, subversive, and/or funny all revolving upon different kinds of women/wives/ex-wives.  I read this for our book group's January pick (even though I will miss the discussion itself).

And even though I finished this quick, short collection a bit ago, I'm still at a loss as to what to say about it.  I guess the collection was mostly hit or miss for me.  I enjoyed some of the stories, but others .. eh, no thanks.  I mostly enjoyed the shorter, almost stream-of-consciousness advice giving pieces like "How to be a Grown Ass Lady" or "Take it from Cats".  There was a story that was all emails between feuding neighbors called "The Wainscotting War" that I liked, as well as "Dumpster Diving with the Stars".

I think when I start looking at the collection as a whole is when I start feeling more unsettled.  There are really like two kinds of housewife here:  the white, rich, city dweller, or the poor, white Southern woman.  Both live for their man and how to serve him or some other entity.  It was a little disconcerting, overall.  But maybe that is why I liked those shorter pieces - they certainly apply/appeal to a wider variety of woman.  And it would be that this was the author's intention, I don't know.  This is just what I was left with at the end.

American Housewife: Stories
by Helen Ellis
Doubleday, 2016
185 pages
Source:  Library


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