Monday, March 11, 2013

Angry Housewives eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

A friend from church gave me this book.  She loves to read like me and we have similar tastes in book but I have to admit when she gave me this one I thought it was going to be a shallow girly book but it has far more depth than that.  Actually I can't say enough wonderful things about this book as I loved the setting (Minnehaha Creek area of Minneapolis), the characters as they were all very distinct, and of course the book club focal point has me excited about a whole list of older (classic) titles.


The women of Freesia Court are convinced that there is nothing good coffee, delicious 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), and 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.  (back of the book)

To me that just sounded like a lot to take on but it is a credit to Ms. Landvik's writing that it never goes over a melodramatic top.  Through the group's book selections as well as how they react to the changing world around them history was shared through the changing point-of-view of each character.

I've started a list of books the Angry Housewives read and I'm interested in reading a bit down the list.  Not that I need more books on my to-read list but often the book club conversations intrigued me.

Selected quotes:

As a peace activist myself I could easily identify with Slip; Freesia Court's resident bleeding heart in 1968.

"I'm sorry," I said when I was drained of all bodily fluids, "but I just keep asking myself, whatever happened to the Summer of Love?"
"I beg your pardon?" Faith looked like she'd just been asked to explain the theory of relativity.
"You must think I'm some kind of nut, but it's just...I don't know, it's just that I can't take what's happening in the world. I can't take all these people getting shot.  I can't take this war.  I just thought we were supposed to be better than that.  I really did believe we were on the dawn of a new age." (63)

Slip's brother enlists in the Vietnam War but her feelings never waiver as to the unjust war and its aftermath.

And another great quote during a book discussion:

"But I mean this book in particular," said Slip impatiently.  "This is a hit-you-over-the-head-look-how-different-our-world-is-from-yours kinda book."
"I agree," whispered Kari, so as not to wake the slumbering baby in her arms.  "With both of you.  I always love reading about people with lives unlike mine because I get to live in their world for a while.  But the funny thing about reading On the Road is that I didn't feel their world was so alien...probably because I'm an outlaw too."
"If you're an outlaw," said Faith, "then I'm Granny Clampett."
We all laughed, but then Slip said, "I'm with Kari.  I feel like an outlaw too."
"Well, you are," said Merit earnestly.  "You get arrested on picket lines."
"Actually, I've never been arrested," said Slip, and I thought I heard regret in her voice.  "But what I mean is that there are outlaws inside all of us-ready to break rules that need to be broken."
"Right," I said.  "But society doesn't want its wives and mothers and PTA presidents to be outlaws, so most of the time we repress that voice that tells us to break the rules, to-" (87)

I find that to be a perfect quote especially for March-in celebration of women's history!  Thank heavens to many of the outlaw women like Sojourner Truth, and Julia Ward Howe, Barbara Jordan, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton just to name a few.  Cheers to the outlaws and the rule breakers, the makers of change!

As I've talked about this book to other reading friends they've asked if I've read other books by Lorna Landvik and I haven't but I'm interested.  Anyone else have favorites of this author?  I would love recommendations.  After reading Lorna's bio I'm wowed by her own life story.


Marie said...

Nice review! I've had this book on my to-be-read shelf for way too long. I'll have to dig it out and read it one day...soon.

Peaceful Reader said...

You definetely need to read this Marie-I look forward to your thoughts.

Les said...

I read this many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I met Landvik at a small conference in 1998 and she was delightful and very funny. You can read my review for Oh My Stars here, if you're interested. It's probably my favorite. I've also read Patty Jane's House of Curl and Your Oasis on Flame Lake.