I worked on my online class, walked into town to return video for said class, finished what writing I've already been assigned (to be edited tomorrow), and read a book only tangentially related to things I've been studying over the past year that I picked up yesterday for $4.98 at Barnes & Noble (before 10% discount and 6% sales tax).Hudler, Ad. Househusband. New York: Ballantine, 2002.Summary
: Linc's wife has accepted a position in upstate New York, and the couple moves there from California. Linc, decidedly uneager to revive his landscaping business on the East Coast, becomes a househusband extraordinaire and the the primary caregiver for their 3 (going on 4) year old daughter Violet. Suffice to say that Linc is an enlightened example of manhood, his mother having indoctrinating feminist values into him since childhood, but he goes well above and beyond the call of duty. He handwashes his wooden spoons because they will overdry in the dishwasher. He doesn't just do two loads of whites and colors, he does separate laundry loads of reds, yellows, and blues! He loves cooking and feeds his family only fresh food. He does no subscribe to cable TV because he thinks it's a bad influence on his daughter. He has taught his daughter to sing while he's busy in a public restroom...because he doesn't want to subject her innocent self to male "hygiene" and figures this way he'll know immediately whether she's been kidnapped. Comments
: In any case, I wouldn't say that there are any great revelations about the gender divide, though Linc does get up close and personal with feelings of inadequacy and lack of purpose that housewives often feel. In the end, though, he decides to accept his fate...and they're even having Baby #2
! Amusing are the recipes included at the end of any chapter in which Linc cooks. (How much of this is autobiographical, anyway?) But the best and most skillful part of the novel, in a literary sense, is the subplot involving Linc's mother. She "escapes" her banal husband and goes on a jaunt around the oountry, seeing new places and trying new things. Yet, ultimately, she cannot change herself completely and go home. She's learned, and maybe her husband has too, but in the end they're still the same old people. Somehow, it mitigates the message...but at least the novel evinces the possibility of some gender malleablility.Notes
: hardcover, 1st edition, out-of-print; mass market paperback availableRating
- Significantly more entertaining than the average novel but correspondingly lightweight.