Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: American Housewife by Helen Ellis

Title: American Housewife
Author: Helen Ellis

First line: "Is this too dressy?" is Southern Lady code for: I look fabulous and it would be in your best interest to tell me so., from "Southern Lady Code"

Review: When I came across this line -- I fix myself a hot chocolate because it is a gateway drug to reading. -- in the first story, I knew it was love.

Ellis' collection of short stories are brisk, funny, and snarky. They go down dangerously easy and you may, like me, embarrass yourself then with some snirking, snickering, and outright laughter when in public. And like a lovely, boozy Sunday brunch with friends, I have no regrets.

The stories all focus on a certain type of married American woman, Southern and/or upper class and/or wedded to more than just a man. They're all an exaggeration, too, pushed to the point of ludicrousness, and yet, still painfully familiar.

My favorite stories included 'The Wainscoting War', which details the quick unraveling of civility between two neighbors in a posh co-op; 'Dumpster Diving With the Stars', in which an author is a contestant on an antiques-hunting reality show with a Playboy bunny, John Lithgow, Scientologist actors, and Mario Batali. (It is uh-mah-zing.); and 'My Novel Is Brought To You By The Good People At Tampax', which is just what it sounds like, only so dystopian I died of joy.

So, in summary, get this and a wine spritzer (or a bloody Mary!) and settle in for some fun this summer.

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories / Contemporary / Marriage / Housewife )
Publisher/Publication Date: Doubleday (1/12/2016)
Source: My public library


  1. I didn't love this one the way most people have. I'm probably too old for it.

    1. My wife was less amused than I was -- I think it just has to hit the reader right, and won't for everyone.

  2. Hi, Audra, we have this book scheduled for Literary Wives for October. Since you already read the book, maybe you could participate! This one sounds like fun.

    1. Oh, that makes me so happy -- was thinking this would be a fun, light read for the group. I'm totally in -- need to get myself on the email list again!

  3. I like these kinds of books. Thanks for the review.