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~Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons~

by Lorna Landvik

A guest review by Mary K. Bryson

Heroines: varied

      A whole neighborhood of strong heroines reside in the Freesia Court suburb of Minneapolis.  These ladies form the "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons" book club in 1968 during a night of power-outages, impromptu snowball fights, and candle-lit cocktails.  Loosely organized around the club’s monthly book selections, readers follow the five women (Audrey, Faith, Slip, Merit, and Kari), and their families, through four decades. 

     All beautiful in their own ways, the women struggle with their personal issues of self-acceptance in the face of life’s inevitable curve balls.  Audrey, our voluptuous Angry Housewife, loves her body and her favorite topic for discussion is sex.  It’s her husband who suggests she’d feel better if she lost a little weight, and others who have trouble accepting her physical confidence in heels and miniskirts. “I feel fine about myself,” said Audrey, piling her thick dark hair on top of her head and posing like a pinup model.  She liked her curvy body, ample seat, and full breasts.  “And fine about my body.” For Slip, Audrey’s best friend, not having curves, or even looking feminine, was always a problem.  Merit, the sweetest and quietest of the friends, could win any beauty contest, hands-down, but struggles against her husband’s efforts to squelch her every attempt at independence or creativity.  Faith, the talented Southern belle with a knack for design, is not all she seems, and feels the pressure of always keeping a lid on her past.  And finally, Kari, a widow who has wanted nothing more normal than a child to love, is the doting “Aunt” to every kid in her own family and the neighborhood.

What worked for me:

      I love getting into the minds of strong women, finding our what they think about things that we all may encounter in our lives.  This book offers five friends that offer their perspectives on just about anything that could happen to a person.  Acceptance of one’s self and of others, with some constructive forgiveness are the morals to every lesson.

      The book also deals with the concept of parenthood, and, at age 27, I’m currently suffering through “baby fever” while my husband and I discuss our timeline for starting a human family (beyond the 2 cats and 2 dogs that are our children now).
 

      Size-wise, as noted a bove, there was a wide range of body shapes and sizes represented.

What didn't work for me:    

       The first- and third-person points of view change with each chapter which makes the narrative style feel a bit jumpy, and it is sometimes disappointing to be forced to leave a character at the end of a section.  Of course, a positive ending is predictable, but that’s what you usually expect from a warm and fuzzy story like this.

Overall:

       This novel is a solidly written, feel-good read. Despite multiple narrators and plot threads, it is a straightforward story about a group of women and their lessons learned.

       Warning:  Be aware that Audrey’s love of sex translates into allusions to intercourse and vocabulary words that my grandmother would pretend she’s never heard.  Stories of a Vietnam War soldier’s experience are graphic and will disturb, unless you have no soul.  The Angry Housewives also tackle the sensitive issues of homosexual acceptance and spousal abuse.

If you liked "Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons", you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "The Saving Graces", "Tara Road", "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood""Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman", and "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café".

Have you read this book and have a comment to make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves forum or submit a review to this website

 

Good-bye, Mom.

I love you and will miss you forever.

 

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