Monday, January 18, 2016

American Housewife by Helen Ellis

If you're looking for a snarky collection of short stories with a woman's point of view, check out Helen Ellis' American Housewife.

Ellis' viewpoint of the life of an American housewife is funny, snarky, and, in a couple cases, just mean. Who wouldn't appreciate the email conversation between two neighbors that ends in outright war, "The Wainscoting War"? Some of the entries are made of lists, such as the so-on-target "How to be a Grown-ass Lady" with advice such as "Get your Pap smears and mammograms. Get your teeth cleaned. Join a book club. Join two." That list goes on, and is so recognizable. Or, there's "Take it from Cats", a two-page entry as to how to live your life based on cat behavior.

The story "Dead Doormen" is just creepy. And, "Pageant Protection" about the tiny beauty pageant competitor going into a program that hides her has interesting twists. But, my absolute favorite was "Dumpster Diving with the Stars", the story of a writer who goes on a reality show. It has the kind of ending that many of us would love to see. This one was perfect, with a stellar cast, including some recognizable names.

Helen Ellis must have a twisted sense of humor. American Housewife is filled with dark, funny ideas most of us would never think about at all. And, now she puts some interesting thoughts in our heads.

American Housewife by Helen Ellis. Doubleday. 2015. ISBN 9780385541039 (paperback), 208p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Clea Simon said...

This sounds like a fun book to dip into on occasion (and not just because of "Take it from Cats"). Thanks for the head's up!

Beth Hoffman said...

I'm reading this now and loving it. Some of the stories are a wonderful kind of crazy!