American Housewife

American Housewife

by Helen Ellis


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“Catchy, smart and very, very funny.” —The Washington Post 

Meet the women of American Housewife. They wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies from the oven.

Taking us from a haunted pre-war Manhattan apartment building to the unique initiation ritual of a book club, these twelve delightfully demented stories are a refreshing and wicked answer to the question: “What do housewives do all day?”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594752165
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/12/2016
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 89,943
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

HELEN ELLIS is the acclaimed author of Eating the Cheshire Cat and Southern Lady Code. She is a poker player who competes on the national tournament circuit. Raised in Alabama, she lives with her husband in New York City.

Read an Excerpt


Inspired by Beyoncé, I stallion-walk to the toaster. I show my husband a burnt spot that looks like the island where we honeymooned, kiss him good-bye, and tell him what time to be home for our party.

I go to the grocery store and find that everyone else has gone to the grocery store and, as I maneuver my cart through Chips and Nuts traffic, I get grocery aisle rage. I see a lost child and assume it’s an angry ghost. Fearing cold and flu season, I fist-bump the credit card signature pad.

Back home, I get a sickening feeling and am relieved to find out it’s just my husband’s coat hung the wrong way in a closet. I break into a sweat when I find a Sharpie cap, but not the pen. I answer my phone and scream obscenities at an automated call. I worry the Butterball hotline ladies are lonely. I follow a cat on Twitter and click “view photo” when a caption reads: “#YUCK.” I regret clicking that photo. I weep because I am lucky enough to have a drawer just for glitter.

I shred cheese. I berate a pickle jar. I pump the salad spinner like a CPR dummy. I strangle defrosted spinach and soak things in brandy. I casserole. I pinwheel. I toothpick. I bacon. I iron a tablecloth and think about eating lint from the dryer, but then think better of that because I am sane. I rearrange furniture like a Neanderthal. I mayonnaise water rings. I level picture frames.

I take a break and drink Dr Pepper through a Twizzler. I watch ten minutes of my favorite movie on TV and lip-synch Molly Ringwald: “I loathe the bus.” I know every word. Sixteen Candles is my Star Wars. I hop in the shower and assure myself that behind every good woman is a little back fat. I cry because I don’t have the upper-arm strength to flatiron my hair. I mascara my gray roots. I smoke my eyes. I paint my lips. I drown my sorrows with Chanel No. 5.

At the party, I kiss my husband hello. I loathe guests who sneeze into the crooks of their elbows. I can’t be convinced winter white is a thing. I study long-married couples and decide that wives are like bras: sometimes the most matronly are the most supportive.

I feign interest in skiing, golf, politics, religion, owl collections, shell collections, charity benefits, school fund-raisers, green juice, the return of eighties step classes, the return of nineties grunge, a resurgence of bridge clubs, and Ping-Pong mania.

I say, “My breath is the Pinot Grigio-est.”

I say, “I am perfectly happy not being a Kennedy.”

I say, “I’d watch a show called Ghost Hoarders. Why is that not a show?”

I say, “You can take your want of a chocolate fountain and go straight to hell.”

I see everyone out and face the cold hard truth that no one will ever load my dishwasher right. I scroll through iPhone photos and see that if I delete pictures of myself with a double chin, I will erase all proof of my glorious life. I fix myself a hot chocolate because it is a gateway drug to reading. I think I couldn’t love my husband more, and then he vacuums all the glitter.

Customer Reviews

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American Housewife: Stories 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny. As far as it goes.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings I don't listen to that many audio books, but I thought this was the perfect one to do, with a collection of short stories I could listen to one and "put the book down" and come back to it later when I was cleaning the house or driving somewhere. I had heard about this book before I listened and knew that it was a fun collection about different housewives and experiences and I completely agree with that depiction. I liked that the stories had variations in length. I liked that there were short itty bitty ones and then there were some that had some pages to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...a pleasure from start to finish.
Bookaholic_Cindy More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading short stories and between the cute picture on the cover and the title, I knew I wanted to read this book. Some stories completely fit the kind of umm.... warped sense of humor that I have! The emails in the Wainscotting story were truly funny and made me laugh. That was my favorite one! It a good book and although I wasn't totally entertained by all of the stories, I'd give the author another try. She definitely has a great sense humor in writing! * I received an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did laugh out loud. I enjoyed these stories.
coffeemama More than 1 year ago
Very fast read! Really liked the stories but not worth full price. For full price I'd like a book that takes me more than a couple of hours to read
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
HA! This was a rather short book, but by the time I got done reading and laughing, it took me longer than one would think. There were some very funny moments in some of these short stories. The Book Club was absolutely frigging hilarious. I have never laughed so hard. I cried tears I was laughing so hard. It was so funny, I actually went back and read it again, just to make sure I didn't miss anything through the tears. If your into humor, this is the book for you. I will say, there were a couple of stories that were okay, but most of them were pretty funny. Thanks to Doubleday Books and Net Galley for approving my request to provide me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a headache inducing mess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago