Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: The Actor and the Housewife

The Actor and the Housewife
By Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA 2009

A very pregnant Becky Jack is meeting an agent in LA to discuss selling her screenplay. She is a Mormon from Utah, and feeling very out of her element. She is shocked when Felix Callahan, her favorite actor, walks into the meeting. The two exchange witty banter, and end up sharing a ride and dinner that evening. Becky is surprised to find that she feels as if she has known Felix all her life, as if he were her best friend. The two soon become best friends. But can a man and a woman be best friends? Can they be just friends, especially when both are happily married? Can a Mormon mother of four be best friends with a millionaire movie star?

When I started listening to this book, I really enjoyed it. The witty banter between Becky and Felix is very funny, and much like the snark I inflict upon my husband each day. I thought Ms. Shannon was addressing an important question – can a man and a woman just be friends? I was feeling tired of all the books where a man and a woman were friends until oh look! they are soul mates and by the end of the book, they are getting married.

Unfortunately, this book was like four books in one, with the same plots repeating over and over. For example: Felix thinks he is in love with Becky, but he isn’t and they are just friends. Mike (Becky’s husband) gets jealous and the friends break up. Then they get back together. Celeste (Felix’s wife) gets jealous and Felix and Becky split up. Then they get back together. Becky thinks she is in love with Felix, but she isn’t and they are just best friends. The repetition became tiresome very quickly.

As the book progresses, it just feels like Shannon is trying much too hard. On this page, she is going to show you that Becky is in love with her husband. On this page, she is going to convince you that Becky and Felix are oh so witty. And on this page she will illustrate how Felix has a heart of gold beneath his sarcastic demeanor.

I really wanted to like this book, but ultimately it feels very forced. The book is too long and extremely far-fetched in the second half. 

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