Saturday, July 10, 2010

53, The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

I'm not sure how you would classify this book:  chick lit?  kind of,  fantasy?  maybe,  LDS fiction,  I guess.  The thing is it has elements of all of these but not enough to really meet all the criteria.  I guess I would go with LDS fiction because the main character, Becky is an LDS housewife; and the book does incorporate a lot of her beliefs and lifestyle mostly as a way of showing who Becky is and not as a means of preaching or pushing church doctrine. (The scene of Felix attending a ward dinner is a riot.)

Becky is eight months pregnant and in Hollywood to sell her screenplay.  While talking with the agent, in walks Felix, her screen idol, who is famous for hisromantic comedies.  They clash in an amusing way and end up having dinner together.  Because he can't understand his strange attraction to a not-so-beautiful and hugely pregnant woman, Felix follows up by bringing his wife to Utah to delve into his feelings more.  Becky is happily married to Mike, but the connection with Felix is so strong, that they become best friends.  And for the most part, the spouses are supportive, while friends and family question the advisability of the whole relationship.  I found the whole premise to be completely unbelievable but I love the way Hale writes and this book is no exception.  She almost makes it plausible, but not quite.  If the book wasn't written so well, the characters so interesting and the dialog so funny; I probably would have quit the book mid-stream because the actual plot was so odd.  But I did finish it.  There is a heart-breaking scene which made me cry and another scene near the end of the book that made me uncomfortable.  I did like how the book ended as it was totally in sinc with everything else that takes place throughout, but overall, it was my least favorite Hale book.  Still I'm giving it a good rating, because of the great Hale touch and  her humor.
Rating:  4


  1. My least favorite too. In fact didnt like it that much at all.

  2. I hope you don't mind a comment by a lurker.

    I thought you nailed this review. I loved the humor and found myself laughing out loud, channeling a Hugh Grant movie or some such. I am not a chick-lit kind of gal, but I admit this felt like a guilty pleasure. At first I wanted all things tied up in a tidy ending, but this actually felt right, in the end. I also agree, this was not my favorite Hale book, but her writing is spot-on and delicious. I would probably read want-ads if they were penned by Hale. She makes me laugh at myself AND think. It was a pleasurable ride.

    Thanks for a great review.

  3. I absolutely loved this book and I was completely surprised (I agree, Hugh Grant movie all the way!)

    I was surprised because I never read faith fiction (not being religious at all) and the premise seemed a bit lurky for me. And yet, when I picked it up, I was hooked and seriously laughing out loud many times. It really worked. I don't know how, but it did!!