My husband saw me reading How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway and laughed. I gave him “the look.” Such is life in my house. I could not be ruffled, however; this was my second time reading the book, and I was loving it just as much as my first read through in September 2010.
And, oh, do I love the book. It’s on my Top 10. (I don’t know where in my Top 10 as they fluctuate with season, but it’s there.)
I laughed at so many of the “tips” from the (fictional though fact-based) “How to Be an American Housewife guidebook” that Shoko was given after she married an American GI and left Japan. For example, my husband has type A blood, but I am type O. Apparently we should not have married. One line that made me snort water out my nose was this one, “In the majority of instances, working outside the home is frowned upon. If your husband wanted to have an independent, working woman, he would have married an American.” I told my husband that’s where he went wrong; he didn’t go far enough away to get a “good” wife. He then gave me “the look.” Oh well.
Other things made me catch my breath or feel any number of emotions. When Shoko yelled at her daughter (Sue) when Sue spilled something as Shoko taught her how to cook… I felt kind of guilty. Have I done that? Have I not been patient enough? Maybe. Maybe not. But my heart broke even more when Shoko showed up with Sue at the science fair and realized that they didn’t have the “right kind” of display. How was she supposed to know without being told? It made me realize how much we take for granted, having been born and raised in this country. We understand the idiosyncrasies of school — even if those same idiosyncrasies drive us crazy.
There’s just so much more I love about this book. I won’t bore you with all of it as I could gush for hours, but the underlying story is one that shouldn’t be skipped. It’s a must-read.
PS: I would have failed the guidebook had I been assimilating after marrying and moving. Like whoa. I’m a bit too … me.
[Disclosure: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.]