Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons is not the chick lit fluff to be expected from the title. There's plenty of meat on those Bon Bon bones.
The title refers to the facetious name of a women's book club, suggested by one member's mean husband. The five Angry Housewives live on Freesia Court in the suburbs of Minneapolis. The story follows the women through 30 years of friendship and shared books, from young housewives with babies, through career choices, divorces, social upheaval, family deaths, and empty nests. Since a novel would go nowhere if the characters lead placid lives, the women face seemingly insurmountable obstacles – including abusive or philandering husbands, secret childhood shame, a brother damaged by Viet Nam, single motherhood, and cancer – but learn, of course, that their friendship will see them through.
Each chapter focuses on a different member of the group as they take turns hosting the book club. The chapters are headed with the name of the book under discussion and a little note about why the hostess chose the book or what food she served. The biggest disappointment is the lack of discussion about the books. Many chapters never mention the book at all, but for the title. If mentioned, the books typically only get a line or two, rarely any conversation. Another distracting drawback is that the chapters flip back and forth between third person narrative for some of the characters and first person narrative for others, making it difficult to sink all the way into the story.
Still, the book club theme is appealing and the story of friendships that grow over 30 years of shared experiences is rich and satisfying, if not original. Fans of Anne Tyler or Maeve Binchey would enjoy this American Midwest take on the Aga Saga genre.
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Angry Housewives counts as one of my books for the three TBR challenges I am doing this year.