"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, January 4, 2008

Book Review: Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons

The Great Reader's of M January book selection was Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. Kim chose this book.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons is the sort of tale that makes you laugh out loud, cry (repeatedly), reminisce, and feel privileged to be invited along for the ride. The story of five women on a cul-de-sac in Minneapolis, Minnesota, their adventures, their confessions, and their joys made me want to be part of their book club, their neighborhood, their lives.

Narrated in turn by each of the five, while the other four weave in and out of each chapter, AHEB covers 30 years' worth of book club meetings, and incidentally, their raising their children to adulthood. Each woman has traits to admire and to recoil from; most will identify with at least one of them. Motherly Kari (who has no child), Confident Audrey (sex on the brain, all the time), Terrified Merit (the beauty without power who rebels quietly), Indomitable Slip (small but powerful), Secretive Faith (whose casual lies keep all from knowing who she really is). I got to know all of them well enough to care.

At first I couldn't seem to get interested in the book. It started out in a hospital room with a bunch of women gathered around a friend who had a life-threatening illness. It took a while to figure out who was who, but once I got past the hospital scene, the book took a swing back into the past to a time when this group of women were young and their frindships were just beginning.

Once I began to read I found myself caught up in the book, that I originally thought was a bit of fluff with no substance. I found myself thinking about my own group of friends that I have had over the years, and how we have supported each other through many of the trials depicted in this book. Women seem to develop friendships over time far different than men do. We talk more, listen more, and lean more when needed.

The author seemed to hit almost every aspect of modern life, from spousal abuse to homosexuality. It almost seemed contrived in many instances, but one thing that I noticed was that she tried to dispel stereotypes in almost every situation. The waitress who was an avid reader, the doctor who was an abuser, the biker dude who was kind and courteous and had great intellect.

All in all I liked the book.

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