I am not a huge fan of short stories, but every once in awhile I stumble on a collection that I can't put down. Meet Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife and poker player extraordinaire. Maybe it's those psychological skills she picked up at the table (or that drew her to the poker table in the first place) that make these cutting stories so delectable. Or maybe it was her move form the South to New York City that helps give her such a twisted take on urban living. Either way, we are very much in her debt for this lovely collection.
Just out in paperback, this short collection of stories includes a gem about reality television ("Dumpster Diving with the Stars"), a piece on the ubiquitiousness of advertising ("My Novel Is Brought To You by the Good People of Tampax"), and my personal favorite about how neighbors occasionally struggle to get along ("The Wainscoting War"). These stories take a look at the "typical" American housewife and turns all our preconceived ideas into laughter and surprise. If you don't believe this book is for you, do yourself a favor and stand in a bookstore and read a few pages. If it's still not for you, put it down and walk away. It's probably not for you.
The rest of us will be peeking over the top of the book on our way to the registers.
It's that good.
And if you're like me and find yourself loving these stories, then do yourself another favor and follow Ellis on Twitter at her @WhatIDoAllDay. It's a running commentary on life through the eyes of this narrator.