Daily Archives: June 18, 2009

Review: The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

The Actor and the Housewife: A Novelrating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book last Sunday morning, since I wanted something to read during the hour between dropping my daughter off and the beginning of her dance recital. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I finished before I went to bed that night, in spite of a packed day. I can’t remember the last time I was sneaking in a few pages while my husband drove us to a family activity.

Here is part of the synopsis from Shannon Hale’s website:

Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. A few hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened, though nothing has happened…it isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But soon Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends–talk-on-the-phone, drop-everything-in-an-emergency, laugh-out-loud-at-stupid-jokes best friends.

Becky’s loving and devoted husband, Mike, is mostly unconcerned. Her children roll their eyes. Her large extended family and neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special… something unusual, something that seems from the outside–and sometimes from the inside too–completely impossible to sustain.

Here are some of the things I enjoyed about reading it:

  1. It is a book truly different from anything else I’ve read. I can’t think of any other books about platonic love at first site, and although I’m sure there are other books about someone ordinary meeting someone famous, I can’t think of any that have crossed my path, certainly not recently.
  2. It’s all about the characters! I genuinely liked all of the major characters, and even the minor ones. There were no real bad guys here, and for the most part, everyone was on a journey, even if we didn’t really see where they were going. The plot was in service to the characters, rather than the other way around.
  3. It was fun and funny. There were some laugh out loud moments, even more chuckles, and a whole lot of smiles. There were also tears and more serious moments. I was genuinely engaged.
  4. Even though I don’t consider myself in any way religious at this point of my life, I really enjoyed reading about a character that was genuinely religious. I was quite impressed that the author made this an important part of the story without leaving me feeling like the book was preaching at me.
  5. I had some personal hooks into this one. It was a story about a stay at home mom. I was raised Mormon, and this book reminds me of what I liked (and at times miss) about that community.
  6. All in all, it was a nice book. There was conflict, and really bad things happened at points. Somehow the book remained nice through all of that. I realize for some people, this is a good reason not to come near it. Be warned!

So why isn’t it a 5 star book? I’m very stingy with my 5 star ratings. I’m not sure this one is going to stick with me. If I end up remembering it and rereading it later, I’ll come back and change my rating.

A very big thank you to Bloomsbury USA for sending me a copy to review.


Posted by on June 18, 2009 in books, reviews


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