Aspen Times Weekly book review: ‘American Housewife’
“American Housewife: Stories”
208 pages, hardcover, $16.30
An organized kidnapping mission rescues beauty-pageant escapees. A neighborly feud draws blood. A dying wife secures a brassiere around the chest of her opponent. In her collection of short stories highlighting the women who manage (and at times destroy) the home fronts, author Helen Ellis takes readers into the unexpected corners of wifedom in “American Housewife.” The 12 compact tales are delightfully dark and leave readers always rooting for the housewife, no matter how twisted her plots.
From a reality show to a getaway car to a Manhattan penthouse, each setting provides a unique space in which these women can truly shine and scheme. While most of the stories will make you laugh, others will make you cackle while double-checking your locks. Sprinkled in the mix are a few handy how-tos, like how to unlock Southern lady code (hint: nice equals boring).
Ellis expertly toys with varied points of view. One piece unfolds from the perspective of a struggling writer, and by struggling we mean held hostage, and another from the viewpoint of a crafty book-club member with some nasty intentions up her tailored sleeve. Need some advice from a cat? Again, you’re in luck. With punchy writing and unique conundrums, “American Housewife” can be devoured in a sitting. Resist. The tales are best consumed like the pinot grigio some of these housewives enjoy — daily.
“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.