Review: American Housewife by Helen Ellis
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
3 of 5 stars
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.
Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.
A collection of short stories which kind of gave me a very Stepford wives feel, except that none of these stories would ever happen with Stepford wives. That’s just the vibe I got. This is the first thing I’ve ever read by Helen Ellis and I most definitely want to read more! Some stories are great, and some are just alright, so it’s kind of a hit or miss, but I think that is to be expected in a short story collection. Every single one won’t be perfect. The good ones were outweighed by the average, hence a 3 of 5 stars. I’ll elaborate on a few.
What I do all day — pretty boring. Not amusing or interesting, and there are much better stories to start the book with. It’s literally about what this woman does all day. No.
The wainscoting war — It just terrifies me as to how much things can escalate in the blink of an eye. Reality might not be so terrifying, but a glimpse is scary enough, and that’s what made this story good.
Dumpster diving with the stars — I’m not a fan of this one, partly because I don’t like reality tv or all the escapades they have constantly going on, and partly because none of it made sense to me. Which could be because I don’t watch reality tv.
Southern lady code — This one was actually pretty funny. I do love the Southern charm that seems to come naturally to all the ladies there, so I liked this one a lot.
Hello! Welcome to the book club — Kinda funny, kinda weird. Leaning more towards weird, though.
The fitter — is about every woman’s struggle to find the perfect bra, and a man who has the gift to help them with it. A very layered short story, and one of the better ones in this book. Funny yet poignant.
Pageant protection — A child is kidnapped from a child beauty pageant. Worth a read.
My novel is brought to you by the good people at Tampax — Personally, my favorite one of the lot. Pretty dystopian view of the future of a writer, taken one step even further than you’d want to imagine.