Added: Dayna Mellor - Date: 26.04.2022 23:58 - Views: 23773 - Clicks: 3998
The books made me realize that the bored housewife, though an oft-used trope, is rarely done well. Real people struggling with real things. The two books I read started in the same place: with two young mothers, married with a couple of. Both felt isolated; both felt like they were losing important parts of themselves. The first novel is The Expatsa spy thriller by Chris Pavone.
She experienced her fair share of mother guilt over the years, which was just one reason she was happy to hang up her hat, but once she found herself firmly entrenched in the expat school-mum routine, she was lost, lonely, and bored. Because she has time to kill, she begins to analyze her current life, and the lives of the handful of people she knows in Luxembourg, through the lens of her old profession.
The Expats seems far-fetched for a lot of people. The second novel, Everyone is Beautifulputs a much more relatable spin on unfulfilled stay-at-home motherhood. Or, unhappily for both, her husband. She makes a new friend and makes a plan. Of course nothing goes according to plan. I gave Everyone is Beautiful a solid three stars: I liked it. But I was rather surprised to see the plethora of enthusiastic 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodre.
She has some profound and eloquent insights into motherhood, which I very much appreciated. So I wonder: does Everyone is Beautiful have such high reviews because readers desperately want to engage with this issue? I would love to hear your thoughts in comments, as always. And if you can think of any novels that do a good job of engaging with this issue, please share those as well. So 4 and 5 star ratings could be because of the breezy writing, the satisfying ending, and the likable main character, issues or not. Possibly why so many even dreadful romance novels have such high average ratings.
Re your final question: YES! Or even presents a realistic SAHM character. Who struggle to make ends meet on a single income, who remain committed to and passionate about our marriages no matter how in flux our day-to-day feelings might be about our spouses, who go to bed every night completely emptied from giving our all to our children.
Who, in our darkest moments which occur more often than we would ever admitsecond guess our decision to stay at home at all. Ok rant over. Thank you for bringing this issue to light.
Interested to see where the discussion goes. I second this. And I find it frustrating how seemingly hard it is to capture the essence of a SAHM in a fictional character. I find bored housewife fiction completely obnoxious. And the husbands are usually clueless. Everyone in my fiction group thought it was so hilarious and heart-warming, while I found it horrifying.
I hated the Nanny Diaries, too! I flinch every time I see it at the used bookstore. Grumble grumble grumble. I read the Expats and was really surprised at how often the author hit the nail on the head with his description of life as a SAHM. I liked Everyone Is Beautiful for the same reason, but I thought the Expats had a lot more witty one-liners. I thought that exact same thing about The Expats—and thought it was really interesting that the author is a man. Just put Everyone Is Beautiful on hold. I heard an interview with Chris Pavone where he explained a bit of his personal backstory on writing the book.
He was the one moved to Luxembourg really with his wife for her job with Amazon, as I recall, oddly enough. Yes, he had some pretty droll commentary on that topic. I read to go outside of my own life, not have my life replayed back to me! Hah, I definitely second the need for escapist literature! I have stacks of mystery novels around my apartment for that very reason!
But books at least for me serve the equally essential purpose of validating my own life experience by giving me characters with whom I can identify. Being a SAHM is unique in that it is richly rewarding, but also…lonely. There are no co-workers with whom to vent frustrations about the job, and meeting other SAHMs can be difficult. Every single day is filled with tiny conflicts and resolutions. Toddler takes off diaper, poops on floor. Mother has to choose whether to use the environmentally friendly essential oil fix, or just get the bleach.
Mother has to choose whether to give him a bratwurst or defrost some grass-fed beef. Should she stay home rely on the TV more than usual, or take the brood into public so she is less likely to flip her lid? Maybe a better story line would follow a Cranford model, with a series of simple vignettes that tell a charming story on the whole. I try not to give too much credit to the ratings that books receive. Know what I mean? I definitely find this to be the case.
I also am super stingy with my five stars I think I can count on both hands the of times I have awarded that ratingwhereas I think others may be more liberal in using high ratings. Even such a clear-cut system of numerical ratings has a lot of gray to it. It reminds me of when you are asked as a customer to fill out an online review, and the employee tells you that they need five-star reviews ONLY because anything less than five stars is viewed as failure.
Even one-star is worth something. Anything lower than 3. This poem by Emily Dickinson popped into my head while reading this post. Very interesting topic and points. So much of learning to be content as a stay at home mom is the the daily plodding. Maybe the Wimpy Kid Diaries? I think maybe he has both parents around. Anne, maybe you should do a post on this! I do read books for their amusement factor-that it takes me out of my world. There is a whole demographic who stays home-not because we are wealthy and can, but because it is what we feel we need to do, or that God is calling us to, at this point in our lives.
We are not unfulfilled, though we may be spent.
We do pour our all into our chosen profession. I think that novelists are selling us short. I do know that Katherine Center and Brene Brown are friends in real life!
I am not sure they still do, but at one time they lived in the same area. It was how I became familiar with her work. Some of my all-time favorite novels deal with characters who are my complete opposite! What were your thoughts on The Expats overall? I suspect that any book with a character just like me as the main character would be pretty darn boring.
My problems are completely uninteresting, even to me! That would make for exciting prose! Authors cannot seem to find that place that SAHMs find, where they know that staying home they have made the right and best choice for themselves and their families, even on those days when they feel overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, bored, unvalued by society, underappreciated at home, and about as sexy as the pile of laundry they have to wash.
Additionally, the husbands generally fall into two : clueless, hapless male, or closed-off jerk.
Everything seems perfect. Disclosure: the post includes several typos and grammatical errors because I find it difficult to type when a cat is playing Whack-A-Mole with my keyboard. Perfect summary! You nailed everything I despise about the discontented wife books. In addition, I like other worlds and people for the escapist value, for sure, but I just love something written so well that I can see myself and my surroundings in some sort of beauty. That was surely bad grammar, but I must dash. I enjoyed the sample very much.
I love, love, LOVE escapist female fiction. I give lots of 4s on Goodre. I like a well-written story with good editing I find so many books that are just terribly punctuated… and a satisfying end. What can I say? Also, can we talk about Blue Jasmine for a minute? Did you watch it, Anne, and what did you think? I also give a lot of 4s. I give 3s to books I like, 4s to books I think are pretty darn great, and 5s for change-your-life material.
I actually read Everyone Is Beautiful last month, but had to go re-read the beginning to remind myself what it was actually about when I saw your blog post. Totally forgettable! To me, anyway. I agree that I was boggled by the fabulous reviews. It was fine. I love Bletchley Circle!! A great show about a bunch of smart gals! As this really written by a man? A lot of us had high-powered careers back home, but the expat money our husbands were offered was better than double incomes back home. Well, some of us are! Some of us revel in the coffee dates and the two hour workouts and the spa mornings.
I have to say, coffee dates, two hour workouts and spa dates sound heavenly to me!Looking for a houswife thats bored
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The bored housewife as plot point.