Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons (Copy)

Picture a 1960s suburban cul-de-sac in Minnesota, teeming with young upwardly mobile families. This is the setting where Faith, mother of twin toddlers, feels lonely and unhappy. She is new to the neighborhood; she is even newer to Minnesota, having left her warm Texas life just three months earlier.

This has been a miserable wintry spring for Faith. Tied, no, chained to a house by fussy kids, icy roads, and ceaseless snow, the days are as exciting as watching ice melt. It doesn’t help that her pilot-husband is gone for days. If only she had family or even a friend in this frozen north, maybe things would be easier.

On this particular night, the twins are in bed and Faith is enjoying a book when the lights flicker then go out. Was it a real power outage or a prowler? To rule out the prowler, she opens the curtains to find a moonlit, wintry wonderland. Relief is short lived, as she catches stirring on the street. Swift movement, something launched, and then her window fills with a sloppy wet snowball.

Determined not to let these hoodlums get away with the blatant vandalism, Faith heads out the door; this time she takes a snowball in the shoulder and the night air fills with joyous laughter.

This is how Faith meets the members of the Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons Book Club—a close-knit group of four women who spend one day a month discussing books. Audrey is the audacious member always wearing, “necklines that plunge inches past propriety.” The tomboy honors go to the shortest member, Slip, who can walk on her hands like a circus acrobat. Merit is the shy, quiet one with a face like a china doll. Kari is the member that holds them all together with her wisdom and love.

So why do these five women harbor so much anger? Well, the name is not an indication of their true feelings. One drunken husband at a party says, “They’re just a bunch of angry housewives sitting around, eating bon bons.” The group gets together and decides it sounds like “the code name of a subversive group Gloria Stein and Sara Lee had put together.”

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik is a delightful read. The book focuses less on the club’s reading material and more on their lives through three decades of meetings. It reminds me of the game Bunko, where most people come for the conversation not necessarily the game.