This Short-Story Collection Is Better Than Reality TV
“American Housewife” is dark and addictive
We read The New Yorker on the reg. Our Kindle is never not charged. We have a favorite Jonathan Franzen novel. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune to a Real Housewives (Any City In America) binge every now and then.
Now we can experience grown women behaving like overgrown toddlers while also reading an actual book. Stop whatever you’re doing and order Helen Ellis’s hilarious new collection of stories, American Housewife.
Ellis started the anonymous Twitter handle @WhatIDoAllDay in 2011 to poke fun at wealthy, married women with her stray observations (“ 'I’m always cold’ is Southern Lady code for'I’m the skinniest woman in here’ ”) and words of wisdom (“Only a fool fondues in cold and flu season”). After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback, she decided to exceed the medium’s 140-character limit and write a book.
The result is 12 fabulous short stories about such women, covering everything from murder and book clubs to the little-known “Wainscoting War.” Fully realized, desperate and sometimes dangerous, Ellis’s housewives are at the same time wildly unrealistic and surprisingly relatable (especially in the excellent “How to Be a Patron of the Arts”).
What American Housewife lacks in table-flipping absurdity it more than makes up for in dark, sharp and laugh-out-loud-funny anecdotes.
And like a Bravo binge, Ellis’s book is best served with a bottle (or two) of wine.