Monday, January 11, 2016

book review: American Housewife by Helen Ellis

The basics:  "A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason Dixon line."--publisher

My thoughts: I knew from the first line of the first story in this collection that it was exactly what I needed to be reading: "Inspired by Beyonce, I stallion-walk to the toaster." I was hooked. I devoured this collection in a single morning. I read voraciously and was rather despondent when I finished. I didn't know what I could possibly read after that could stand up to Ellis's voice (my only option was to pick up something completely different.)

While the stories in this collection have some similarities and share some common themes, my reading experience was filled with surprises and delight. I read with glee.

Favorite passage: "You are so bad!" is Southern Lady code for: That is the tackiest thing I've ever heard and I am delighted that you shared it with me."

The verdict: American Housewife is astonishingly good. It's smart. It's irreverent. It's hilarious. It's inventive. It's filled with stories from unique voices. I can't begin to pick a favorite, although I admit I could probably pick a least favorite. I don't often evangelize for short stories, but I haven't been this blown away by short stories ever. I haven't enjoyed a short story collection this much since I discovered Paula Bomer. The publisher's description of "delightfully unhinged" is spot on.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 208 pages
Publication date: January 12, 2016
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy American Housewife from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more?Read this article about Helen Ellis (written by J. Courtney Sullivan!) and follow her on Twitter

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1 comment:

  1. There was so much to like in this one...I agree with you there. Smart, sardonic. But it was a bit "one note" for me at times. I still had faves: "The Fitter," "Wainscoting War," the Tampax one. I'll definitely read more of her stuff.


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