American Housewife, by Helen Ellis

Review:

American Housewife: Stories - Helen Ellis

My first thoroughly enjoyable read of the year. Despite never having been a housewife (or wife, period) myself, I felt like this short story collection’s ideal audience. There are plenty of films and books that cover similar ground–the details, drudgery, absurdity, and even darkness of being a housewife–but Ellis manages to make the content fresh through voice and form.

All the stories made me laugh out loud or grin sardonically, from the first, brief portrait of a modern housewife, to the email exchange between two passive aggressive–and then just aggressive–ladies occupying the same building (my favorite), to the Dumpster Diving with the Stars reality show. Some stories, like the first, are flash fiction and read like prose poems to me. Others are fuller, like the ending story about contemporary novel writing in the age of sponsorship and social media. In that story and others, the horror of aspects of our culture becomes real.

Satisfying and sharp-tongued (without looking down on its characters), this collection completely won me over from the start.

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American Housewife, by Helen Ellis

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