And I’m only 50 pages in.
Right now I’m reading The Actor and the Housewife, and I just don’t quite know what to think. Here’s the blurb:
What if you were to meet the number-one person on your laminated list—you know, that list you joke about with your significant other about which five celebrities you’d be allowed to run off with if ever given the chance? And of course since it’ll never happen it doesn’t matter . . .
Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity hearththrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened . . . though nothing has happened.
It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. Her children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special . . . something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it?
A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything.
This part is what gets me: “It isn’t sexual.”
Now, look, Sister Hale. I realize that I shouldn’t be coming to this novel from the perspective of a romance reader, because it’s not a romance. (I know it’s not because the library cataloging block told me it isn’t. It says it’s “chick lit,” and library cataloging blocks don’t lie.) But I am coming to it from a romance reader’s perspective because it’s whispering naughty thing in romance’s ear at this point. Yet I don’t know a die-hard romance reader in the world who wouldn’t tear her hair out.
Becky Jack (the main character) is, thus far, what we romance readers would call TSTL.
Also? Flirting *kofffallinginlovekoff* with someone while you’re happily married is a HUGE romance no-no.
I had to take a break from the gore of this woman’s squished IQ and blog it. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to finish the book, except . . .
I must get back to the trainwreck that she is. I should turn my eyes away. Look somewhere else. But I can’t.
23 thoughts on “This book’s kinda giving me the willies.”
Eeeek. Nope, def not a romance. And ‘not sexual”?? Riiiiiiight.
Actually, if it’s not sexual and it’s more of an emotional affair, I think that’s even more damaging to a marriage and would make this the anti-romance.
Sounds very naive. Like maybe for the female reader who’s only ever been with (or near) one man and doesn’t understand how this could be anything but innocent.
Squicks me out for sure.
Did you read the ending? With a blurb like that, it would’ve been the first thing I did.
The female character, a MORMON mother, displays a very bizarre mixture of awareness and denial. It seems as if she is WILLFULLY naive.
Maybe it’s because I don’t live in Utah or . . . something, but I (and every other Mormon woman I know) would know what the heck’s going on—and run like hell. But hey, I also hang out with women who get the Dom/sub sexual subtext of Twilight and lecture their daughters about why Bella’s an idiot, so maybe I’m hanging with the wrong crowd.
I had issues by page 18.
Not yet. I used to do that all the time, but I think e-book reading has gotten me out of the habit.
This is in hardback.
I’m not sure I want to. It’s nauseatingly addicting. I am ashamed to admit I want to ride the ride. LOL
Willfully naive…yes. Fantasy, maybe?
I know plenty of Mormon women whose alarm bells would be blaring. This scenario is just not normal or even healthy. I daresay it might even cater to backward stereotypes.
The character is not drawn as if she is given to fantasy at all. I could be persuaded that she is having a midlife mommy crisis, except her husband’s just so damned PERFECT and as far as I can see, she’s not unhappy with her litter.
ETA: When I say she’s not given to fantasy, I mean, she’s drawn as if she appreciates a little eye candy here and there, but then goes about her business and doesn’t think about it ever again. She has her favorite little movies or whatnot that she watches over and over again (like, you know, I do *koffJarethTheGoblinKingkoff*), but utterly harmless and not with any daydreaming attached.
Now that you say that, I may have to do a real honest-to-goodness lit crit on this from an LDS perspective, because I think you’re right. The romance readers would’ve thrown this through their wall long before now.
Weird. It kind of sounds creepy to me. I’m not a fan of sickeningly naive.
Y’know, that sounds about a hundred times worse than Bridges of Madison County … at least SHE got laid.
Was that crass? Oopsie.
That’s kinda what I’m thinking . . .
An Amazon reviewer said the following:
“Becky Jack is your average LDS housewife complete with a house full of kids, a loving husband and an obsession with baking pies.”
Are LDS housewives really obsessed with baking pies? I thought I was up-to-date on all my cultural stereotypes, but I’ve never heard this one before and I’m really bummed out about it.
I have two a-courtin’ right now and neither potential housewife is obsessed with baking pies. One allegedly bakes a mean cheesecake but that is a poor substitute and I have advised both to kick em to the curb and start over.
The willfully stupid Mormon is a trope of Mormon-penned chicklit and it drives me crazy. It’s one of the reasons I disliked Sister B.
Dude wonders if Mojo is supposed to be baking pies.
Kel, you’ll have to explain this “pie” concept. Afraid I have no idea what that is. Dude knows I am unaware of the existence of “pie” much less how to create one.
Th., did Wife #1 approve your courtship of #2 and #3? Or are you a traditional household?
Th., I’ll send this to you as soon as I’m finished if you still want to read it.
Heh. I left a noun out of that sentence which makes it much more interesting. I’ll leave it as it stands.
Sure. I sense you won’t be passing it on to the next generation.
(I won’t be rushing to read it though — you’ve done a pretty good job at halting that.)
I had to break out the highlighters and sticky flags. This one deserves pseudo-academic pillorying.
After Twilight, I’m beginning to believe that these authors are blind to the psychological subtexts in their own stories. Is there a new genre in Mormon letters for the woman pining away for the life that woulda-coulda-shoulda been? This book seems to be a mirror image of what I observed Evans doing in The Last Promise. It’s enough to consider taking Freud and that whole subconscious thing seriously again.
The thing that’s truly weird about it is that the housewife seems rather self-aware, but at the same time deliberately in denial because she wants what she wants. But it’s just not campy enough to make it over-the-top fun/ridiculous and give it a real out. Does that make sense?
I’m only 80 pages in at this point. I’m highlighting and margin-noting, so this will take me a while.
It’s far more insidious than Twilight, if you ask me, because of what Th. said: “The stupid Mormon trope.” I never thought of it like that, and it’s stuck with me ever since.
There are four issues at work for me in this book:
1. Feminist/anti-feminist dichotomy that do not function well together.
2. Realistic portrayal of a normal Mormon woman (normal being somewhat relative to my own experience), i.e., the “stupid Mormon trope.”
3. Wish fulfillment fantasy or possibly midlife crisis or postpartum neurosis, which seems to go completely unacknowledged (so far). I’d buy this; wonder if she’ll go there.
4. The definition of the word “adultery.” I’m far enough in now that I can see it’s exactly what JenB thought: An emotional affair. This woman is having an affair.
Also, the husband’s a little too accepting for a little too long. Enough has gone on by this point he should have been raising the roof at her.
Oh, what I mean by more insidious than Twilight is that this is for adults. You can forgive a tween/teen girl for having ridiculous fantasies, and I have to assume that all the TwilightMoms out there know, somewhere down deep inside, that vampires (particularly SPARKLY ones) don’t exist.
This isn’t little girl territory here. This is serious 7-year-itch territory, with a thoroughly human male (one who is attractive and upon whom the housewife has had a fan-type crush for years) and who is obviously in love with her.
Oh…. I thought you said seven-inch territory. I need to read more closely.
Dude roars with laughter.
So many jokes, so little time.