The Actor and The Housewife

Title: The Actor & The Housewife
Author: Shannon Hale
Pub Date: June 2009
Pages: 339
Genre: Fiction

Odd friendship forged when least expected.

Brief Summary - Meet Becky -pie baking, bread making, housewife extraordinaire, loving wife and mother of three (with another one on the way). Oh yeah, and her strong LDS beliefs will shush any curse words you might want to utter, discourage you to drink, and call social services on any parent who puts their six-year old in a tee that sparkles "Flirt". (Sure, I'm only kidding about actually calling Social Services, but the thought does cross her mind!) Now meet Felix -god mocking, heart throbbing, swanky and egotistical Brit actor who believes all of the hype that the media has to say about him. He really is just that handsome. It's pretty obvious that Becky and Felix are as opposite as their gender, so what a surprise that they meet and begin a friendship that will see them through life's joys and hardships.

My thoughts? As I mentioned in yesterday's Sunday Salon, I had no intention of really following through with this book. First, I'm not a religious person at all, and didn't know how I would feel with such a *religious* protagonist. Second, the plot line just seemed so out there. A woman from Utah meets her heartthrob in California while she's selling her first screenplay? I mean, come on! It's like believing that my students really will send in letters to Oprah to get me on the show with the gorgeous Johnny Depp and we become fast friends.

But then I started reading, and within the first ten pages, I was hooked. The dialogue! Oh my gosh, the dialogue is in-freakin'-credible. You know how so many authors try to write dead pan sarcastic exchanges and they just fall flat? Like, you should be laughing, or smirking, but it's forced? Shannon Hale is a vixen at this sort of humorous exchange.

And her exposition isn't too shabby either! In fact, there is this moment in the book where tragedy strikes and the characters are trying to identify their emotions. Becky gets the idea that each emotion resembles a zoo animal:

Sorrow, they decided, was a raven, dark as night that perched on your should and ate away at your heart. Grief, as opposed to sorrow, was a crow that sat on your other shoulder and pecked at your eyes so you couldn't see clearly. Anger was a rhinoceros that gored you from behind, spurring you to holler and run.
I LOVED this.

I've never read a Shannon Hale book. While at Target a couple of days ago, I saw that she had some YA books out, and I don't know if I'd enjoy those as much. I googled her (of course I did, isn't that what everyone does after they find a new author?) and saw that she also wrote Austenland, which I have heard about. Will definitely have to add this one to my list. Perhaps it will be used in the Austen challenge this year!


Yay, Nay, or Eh? Yay, most definitely. The Actor and the Housewife is adept look at friendship, life, difficulties, and what makes us human. I am especially proud at how Hale chose to end the book.


  1. I was slightly put off by the cover. However, after reading your review, I have now added it to my list. Love the paragraph you wrote.

  2. My experiences with Shannon Hale have been mixed. I read her graphic novel, Rapunzel's Revenge, and it was really good. But I also read Austenland and it wasn't as great as I had hoped it would be. It's better than some of the other Austen paralit out there, but I would recommend Amanda Grange's "Diary" books more.

    That said, I'll probably check this out; it sounds cute, and I'm curious about an LDS main character. :)

  3. Great review. I've heard good things about this one, and I hope to read it at some point.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  4. I loved this book, too! It was a great read and perfect for summer - though not light and fluffy, as I thought it would be.

  5. It sounds like it could be a fun read.

  6. Thanks so much for your wonderful review, I won this a while ago but will push it up my reading list now!

  7. Scrap girl - I hear ya; the cover, the plot...it all shouted "no way" to me! Glad I ignored it.

    Jessi - How cool, I didn't realize that Rapunzel's Revenge was a graphic novel. I'll def check that out. Oh, and thanks for the other Austen suggestions.

    Anna - Thanks. :))

    Carrie - It is a perfect summer reading, but I agree, hardly the book that I would stereotype as fluffy chick lit. I am still impressed at how 3d the characters are.

    Sheila - Definitely. :))

    Teddyree - Oh I can't wait until you read it and tell me what you think!


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