Skip to main content

Review: The Last Great American Housewife by Staci Greason

Disclaimer: Ms. Greason was kind enough to offer me a review copy of this novel. I am not being reimbursed for the review other than by receiving this free copy.

I started reading the book right after I got the copy and then something came up and, typically for me, I forgot all about it and the deadline I had given myself (and Ms. Greason) to finish it. Anyway, I finally did finish it.The book is published as an e-book only (to begin with).

Kate Miller is a stay-at-home mom and housewife with two kids and a husband who takes her for granted. When her mother dies, Kate‘s seemingly perfect life begins to unravel. Her first effort at breaking out of the monotony ends in disaster, but leads her to meet a mother and son who, although she at first thinks they are both weird and crazy, become her friends. The indirect result of this friendship is that Kate leaves her husband, and the direct one that instead of going to a hotel to stay while she figures out her next move she ends up tree-sitting in order to save a ponderosa pine tree from being chopped down to ease the construction of a parking garage. She has never really taken a good, close look at her own life, always having been too busy being the perfect housewife, but sitting on a platform 40 feet (about 12 meters) above the ground in increasingly nasty weather gives her a time to evaluate her life and examine her priorities and come to understand herself and grow as a person.

I didn‘t know what to expect when I began reading this book. The cover image suggested chick-lit, a genre with which I have a love-hate relationship, but the description suggested there might be more to it than that. What I found was the tale of a woman who discovers that she isn‘t really happy, just settled-in. Shaken out of her complacency by her mother‘s death, Kate discovers she is somehow unfulfilled, but can‘t quite figure out how until she meets bold and brash Ruby who makes her see the light. How she ends up a tree I will not reveal, but Greason manages to make her journey both believable and interesting, from complacent housewife with a fear of heights and no particular interest in the environmental movement to a strong, bold, self-assertive woman ready to take on a building company to save a single tree.

This is a story about self-discovery, resolutions and forgiveness. It is funny in parts but serious at heart, well-written and makes for a nice read. The characters, even the frontsman for the bad guys who at first seems to be a typical card-board cut-out villain, are (eventually) realistic and those characters who need to be fleshed-out, are. Kate is a realistically flawed but endearing protagonist who goes through a transformation and finds a new lease on life and inner peace. The story moves a bit slowly at times, especially in the middle chapters, but never gets too drawn-out. All in all, a quite satisfying read. 3+ stars.

There are some problems with the appearance of the text, mostly to do with indents and text alignment, which I hope will be corrected in an updated edition.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme