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Publisher's Summary

A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Meet the women of American Housewife: They wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it's cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it's a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These 12 irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop.

Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.

©2016 Helen Ellis (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ellis's 12 short stories about women under pressure are archly, acerbically, even surreally hilarious. By extracting elements from the southern gothic tradition, Shirley Jackson, and Margaret Atwood, Ellis has forged her own molten, mind-twisting storytelling mode. Her pacing is swift and eviscerating, and her characters' rage and hunger for revenge are off the charts.... Perfectly crafted.... A breath-halting balance of slashing absurdist humor and rich and authentic emotional sensitivity.... With monstrous children and cats, hopeless husbands, and covertly dangerous women, Ellis takes down the entire housewife concept with a sniper's precision. These are delectably revved up, marauding, sometimes macabre tales of ruined marriages, illness, infertility, crass commercialism (literary product placement), desperation, ghosts, even murder, featuring women of shrewd calculation, secret sorrows, and deep sympathy." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)
"If anyone can make the Real Housewives look dull, it's the women in this collection of darkly hilarious stories." ( Cosmopolitan)
" American Housewife is a raucous, whip-smart collection of stories featuring retro-feminist ladies who lunch, launch madcap getaway schemes, and whack their naughty doormen with kitchen stools." ( Elle)

What listeners say about American Housewife

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The South meets New York City!

Absolutely Fabulous! Listen to the whole book while cleaning out my husbands office. Quite apropos ....she only missed one true southern saying. If someone is talking about something you think is completely BS you say: " Well ain't that nice!

2 people found this helpful

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Glad I bought it!

Any additional comments?

This book was great. I love the humor and truth in some of the stories. I usually do not buy books that are this short. But I'm very happy I did with this one!

2 people found this helpful

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Different, but fun

I actually would recommend reading this in book form rather than audio. Several different odd and sometimes funny stories. Very entertaining.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

entertaining, but a little shallow.

Narration was excellent. Great if you are in the mood for something light. Wonderful beach reading; however, I felt like the writers often turn housewife into a cliché. A few writers did an excellent job of playing with the feminine middle class cliché.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mo
  • 04-12-16

Sarcasm in small doses

I enjoyed listening to the variety of voices that this audiobook had. The first story was absolutely hilarious, but as the book progressed, I found a few of the other stories to be mediocre. Nice read overall.

1 person found this helpful

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The narrators make the difference

I really felt that having these short stories read with Southern accents and character quirks made all the difference. Some of these are little gems and are LOL funny. This is a mixed selection; I didn't love every one of the stories, but I recommend this for the humor.

2 people found this helpful

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Disjointed

Not like her other books which I liked. This one was bizarre. Don't bother!

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Stephen King meets Erma Bombeck

Twisted, dark, macabre, weird, funny, and oh so Southern Gothic. In every story the author is skewering and nailing to the wall manners, mores, privilege, society, right and wrong, privacy, and so much more. Virtually nothing about humanity is left unscathed or unremarked upon, by the book’s end.

Celebrity, Reality TV and privacy in the age of technology, take a heavy hit, as does the long, complicated, history of the husband and wife relationship. Her privileged and entitled characters will stop at virtually nothing to get that to which they feel entitled. Her underdog or striving characters will go to nearly any length to improve or escape their oppressive circumstances. It’s like The Twilight Zone on steroids. And aside from a couple of stories I honestly kind of loved it. It was like I couldn’t look away as mayhem reigned and the dark underbelly of humanity smiled for the camera.

The cast of narrators did an excellent job voicing the characters, and the author herself narrates one of the shortest pieces.

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Good

some of the stories were entertaining but i struggled to finish this book. i was looking for more tales about the crazy nuances of being a housewife.

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A very odd book

I heard about this on a podcast and I thought it'd be an interesting look into the life of a housewife. Some of it is funny, but it sort of flounders around aimlessly from story to story, with no explanation of the upcoming ride on the crazy train. The one with the rude neighbor and cats is particularly troubling. At first I had sympathy for the newcomer. Soon I realized the newcomer is insane, and I kept hoping someone would push her down a flight of stairs. Maybe I just had different expectations going into this.