Monday, July 13, 2009

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

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.

This book reminds me of that time I was skiing in Park City and I ran into Robert Pattinson (when he had normal hair) and we became best friends and we called each other "Love" and my husband Tim, who only had a problem with it once, thinks it is great that we talk all the time on the phone and go on overnight excursions together. The Actor and The Housewife is as improbable as the above scenario but somehow Shannon Hale makes the story work and makes it charming. If you don't laugh right out loud at the first chapter then you have no sense of humor, and if you don't cry at least once then go to the doctor and see if he can unplug your tear ducts. I confess to wondering through most of the book where the story was going and for one horrible moment I thought there might be some spousal swinging going on...Mormon style, but thankfully I was just letting my imagination run wild. I do that sometimes. I really held out to the end to declare whether I liked or disliked this book. Hale crafted an ending that really satisfied me and I declare this a good read that I would recommend to anyone.

*Reviewed by Jessica


  1. Jess- I'll admit, I'm a little nervous to read this one. I guess the whole plot idea kind of rubs me the wrong way. I trust your judgement though and will give it a try! Kath

  2. I'm still stewing over my review of this one. Like you said, I laughed. A lot. I even cried. Once. But my overall reaction after finishing? Not Good.

  3. Angie,

    I think this is certainly not one of Shannon Hale's best books, and I felt so conflicted during the entire book wondering whether I like it or not. The ending really brought it home for me so that coupled with the laughs it provided I went with a postitive review. It is the oddest mormon novel I have ever read for sure.

  4. Jess, for sure. I know what you mean. I went back and forth as well. And I guess I must have been on the other end when it closed because it left me shattered. And then angry. Doesn't happen to me often when reading and so it kind of threw me for a loop. :)

  5. Okay, I'm really intrigued after reading your comments Jess/Angie...I hope my copy at the library comes in soon!


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