This month’s book club pick is a laugh-out-loud funny collection of short stories that I am truly envious I didn’t write myself: American Housewife by Helen Ellis. For my birthday month, I really wanted to find something a) funny and b) I related to. This book is my spirit animal. I am newly(ish) a housewife, and really feeling my role as I applaud from the sidelines as my husband’s show takes off. I wrote recently about my third-life crisis on turning 30 (I only have 2 days left to tell people I’m “in my 20’s!” Excuse me while I go cry and hyperventilate into a paper bag like the cliche I am.) And while I don’t specifically relate to these ladies, especially the murderess or the kidnapper, I am a lady who wears sunscreen even when it’s cloudy, I love to lunch (and breakfast, brunch, snack and dinner), and I like to stallion walk like Beyonce when I’m alone. And I love anything this dark, clever, vicious, and above all, hysterical. It eviscerates womanhood/wifehood and lovingly embraces it at the same time, as only a smart lady can (brava, Helen Ellis. I want to know you.) I am obsessed.
I tore through this one in less than a week, reading a few stories every night. Each features a different breed of housewife in her natural habitat, whether she’s initiating a newbie to her book club, embarking on an adventure as a castmate on a ridiculous reality show, dumpster diving or working in a world-famous lingerie shop. And each is a sociopath in her own delightful way. “What I Do All Day” may be the greatest title of all time. I know I’m really waxing poetic here, but it’s hard to find a truly funny book that isn’t self-indulgent or condescending (leave your favorites in the comments below, please. I need more comedies to distract me from my other favorite kind of novel: Thrillers about unhinged wives who become killers. But don’t worry, Tony, I love you and would never!)
I don’t know Helen Ellis, but I know that she can write satire like David Sedaris and I know that I haven’t laughed this much while reading a book since Where’d You Go, Bernadette. That was always my go-to anytime someone asked for a book recommendation, or my favorite funny book… Now, I’m adding this one to the list. If you like to laugh, think women are crazy or are a woman who believes herself to be crazy, read this one now. I seriously can’t recommend it highly enough.
For past Book Club picks, get over here!