Book Reviews | The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzales | American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis


american housewife stories helen ellis coverAs promised in my review of Book Riot’s April Book Mail Box, I’m here to review the books I received in that box. We’ll start with American Housewife by Helen Ellis, which happened to be the book I read first and the one I enjoyed the least.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but, as the name implies, these are mostly stories of middle-class housewives and their antics. It’s not quite as annoying as that description would lead me to believe but I also can’t relate to most of these stories. The author was very definitely attempting to be super clever and cute, and sometimes she managed to do it.

Sometimes though, the jokes fell flat and the stories seemed gimmicky and tired. I mean, we’re talking about titles like, “The Wainscoting War” and “How to Be a Grown-Ass Lady.” If those titles appeal to you then you are likely in the target audience for this book and my guess is that you’d like it!

Rating: 6/10 

Recommended for: People who want a kick, light, easy read; people who like stories that take place in suburbia.

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace testSeveral of the stories did, yes.

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: N / NA / Y / NA

the miniature wife and other stories manuel gonzales coverNext up was The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzales, which was also a collection of short stories but was much more style. Many of these were really absurd but in a kind of, um, deep way? That sounds ridiculous but it’s true.

Stories like “Pilot, Copilot, Writer,” in which a plane is hijacked and continues to circle the city of Houston for 20+ years (magical fuel is involved) or “The Sounds of Early Morning” in which sound can kill you and a couple goes to great length to prevent themselves from hearing any sound, are mixed in with stories that are oddly moving. Overall, I liked this book a lot but I also think that it would have hit even harder for fans of Science Fiction / absurd fiction. There was a real Vonnegut-vibe, which I appreciate but it’s not quite as in my wheel house as it would be for others.

Rating: 8/10 

Recommended for: Short story lovers; fans of Vonnegut and / or Miranda July; people who like books that are both touching and funny.

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace testSeveral of the stories did, yes.

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: Y / NA / N / NA

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