If you can't laugh at yourself (or the people you love), then what can you laugh at? The twelve stories in Helen Ellis's collection are the perfect winter boost and the cure for the post-holiday blues. Some women are driven slightly crazy by their lives—could you (or I) be one of them?
If someone moves to make room for you, take up more room. If someone is looking over there, there's something to see. If someone sneezes, run. If someone brings a bag into your home, look inside it. If you don't want someone to leave, sit on his suitcase.—American Housewife by Helen Ellis (Doubleday, 2016, p. 155 of eGalley, opening to "Take It from Cats")
- Setting: modern times; definitely America
- Genre: Short stories, humor, social commentary
- General thoughts: I really liked all the stories in this book, which rarely happens. True, some clicked with me more than others, but still, this is a solid collection. All the pieces are funny, but not in a belly-laugh kind of way. You'll chuckle, you'll nod your head, you'll be grinning. Even when a story didn't describe my life, I could still relate; after all, I'm a woman living in America and so I know the same people Ellis does.
- One of my favorites: I'm a Yankee and I particularly loved the story "Southern Lady Code." I needed this dictionary cause I didn't know things like this: " 'She's the nicest person' means she's boring as pound cake."
- A few more that made me laugh: "Hello! Welcome to Book Club" is a great commentary on what it means to be in an exclusive club. Yeah, the members are welcoming on the outside, but inside they're making comments about your reading tastes and cultural touch points. "Dead Doorman" offers some dark humor, and "Take It from Cats" is absolutely on target and perfect for cat lovers (like me).
- Recommendations: This is a quick read with some great lines you'll want to read out loud to your family and friends. Even if you aren't normally a short story person, I bet you'll like this collection. Come on, you need some lightness to warm your soul this month. (The book will be released on January 12.)
Thanks to the nice people at Doubleday, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a copy of Helen Ellis's American Housewife. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner, via a random number generator, on January 15. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the name and address along to the publisher, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!