Thursday, July 19, 2012

Angry Houswives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
Lorna Landvik
2005, 512 pgs

Summary from Goodreads

The women of Freesia Courtare convinced that there is nothing good coffee, delectable desserts, and a strong shoulder can’t fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together—the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons), an unofficial “club” that becomes much more. It becomes a lifeline. Holding on through forty eventful years, there’s Faith, a lonely mother of twins who harbors a terrible secret that has condemned her to living a lie; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and an attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor’s wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows the greatest gifts appear after life’s fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, a tiny spitfire of a woman who isn’t afraid to look trouble straight in the eye.

This stalwart group of friends depicts a special slice of American life, of stay-at-home days and new careers, of children and grandchildren, of bold beginnings and second chances, in which the power of forgiveness, understanding, and the perfectly timed giggle fit is the CPR that mends broken hearts and shattered dreams.

My Summary

I can’t believe I read the whole thing. Seriously if it hadn’t been a bookclub book I wouldn’t have.

The Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons are Faith, Audrey, Merit, Kari, Slip and at the very end Grant. The book starts in first person from Faith’s perspective. I was put off immediately because I’m generally not a fan of first person, plus I was fairly certain the book was going to change perspectives between all the women of the group and that makes it really confusing. Well I got to chapter 2 and the book changed to third person. I was quite relieved….and then it changed back to first person. Eventually I started keeping track – the chapter that were told from Faith, Audrey, Slip and eventually Grant’s perspectives were told in first person and the chapters from Merit and Kari’s perspectives were told in third person. WHY??? I haven’t a clue.

Okay so I was obviously annoyed and distracted by the changes in perspective. Next up – How many major life issues can we cram into a single book? Hmm…Interrational adoption in the 1970s? Check. Infertility? Check again.

Hidden past, Domestic Abuse, Vietnam (War), PTSD, Political Activism, Alcoholism, Women’s sexuality, Motherhood, Nursing, Finding God, Being called by God, Drug use, Pet death, Bullying, HIV, and Cancer? Check to all of the above and more.

These are all interesting and important topics and since Landvik crammed so many of them into this book none got the attention they deserved. It also felt like a literary “cheat” to me. If you stuff the book full of this many different topics you’re bound to hit on an element or two that every reader will identify with.

My final complaint about this book was the time span. It spanned three plus decades so large chunks of time were skipped between chapters with a sentence or two given to catch you up on what had been missed. And I felt that left some HUGE holes in the plot. Like how does the stay at home mom in the ‘70s with an abusive, but successful, respected, doctor husband file for divorce and get the house and kids?

So there obviously wasn’t much I liked about the book. Some of the issues address hit close to home for me (shocker) and I liked the relationship between the women. I also laughed out loud a few times, but over the course of 500 pages some emotional reaction is inevitable, right.

My Rating
2 out of 10 stars

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