Saturday, June 6, 2009

48HBC Post #4 - Book Review: The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale and a GIVEAWAY

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
# Pages: 339
Genre: General Fiction (humor, romance, serious topics, lots of fun)
Binding: Hardcover
Publish Date: June 9th, 2009

From the book flap:

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 an Becky have something special, something unusual, something that seems from the outside and sometimes from the inside too - completely impossible to sustain.

On the surface, Becky's story of a steadfast housewife and the handsome star is the ultimate romantic fantasy. But the depth of emotion that Shannon Hale shows us in Becky is the strength that underpins only the strongest relationships. It is what makes this story resonate beyond the glitter of Felix's movie-stardom to the deeper understanding of the kinds of true love we all dream of having.

Shannon Hale has created a magical and often hilarious story that explores what might happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life, and changes everything.

First I don't want to dwell too much on plot in this review, because I don't want to give it away. Just know that this book will never bore you, it just keeps moving along and a great pace. I did not want to put it down and carried it with me everywhere while I was reading it. There is always something going on to drive the story further and keep you interested.

I am choosing to emphasize the characters more as this seems to be a character driven novel. First off there is Becky Jack, the Mormon housewife from Utah that meets Felix Callahan in LA where she is signing a contract for a screenplay she has written. From their first meeting there is a connection. I love the banter between these two people who start as strangers and eventually become best friends. I love the supporting cast, Mike, Becky's very supporting husband and love of her life, the children who provide laughs and wisdom too, Celeste, Felix's model wife who should be intimidating but is not and of course Becky and Mike's extended family along with others in their Mormon ward.

This story is amusing and touching and it makes you really look at the different relationships you can have. It of course tackles the age-old question of whether men and women can be friends when at least one of them is married. I think this is handled well and you see some of both sides. But I think the degrees of relationships are what come to the real forefront of all of this. And though I think it can be seen from the book jacket description, don't think for one minute this book condones extramarital affairs, because it does not. Becky has a very strong moral conviction and she never strays from it.

I just think this is a must read book - so many things happen and I fell in love with the entire Jack family and also with Felix. You see changes in everyone by the end of the book and you feel like you have gained new friends (at least I did).

This one comes out on Tuesday and I have heard raves about Mrs. Hale's earlier books, so I will be checking those out to read in the near future and will definitely be on the lookout for anything else new by her that comes out.

The Actor and the Housewife has such a darling cover with no faces in view but the two obviously different people on the cover, I think that it's just a real grabber. Take the time, go out and buy this and enjoy it. I truly did.

Finally, thank you to Kristina M. Jutzi at Bloomsbury USA for sending me a copy of this book for review!

And of course that is not all - you know I love to giveaway my books when I finish with them, so here's your chance to win this wonderful hardback book (not an ARC).

Contest will run through next Saturday at midnight and I'll draw the winners and post on either Sunday or Monday (I never know how my weekends will go)
For entries:

  1. Leave a comment (and make sure I have a way to contact you)
  2. Become a follower or if you are already a follower let me know (for an additional entry)
  3. Twitter about the contest (use @cfulcher so I will see it) and let me know about it (for an additional entry)
  4. Blog about the contest (for an additional entry)
  5. Tell me whether you think men and women can be friends if one or both are married (there is no right or wrong here, I'm just curious and it'll get you an additional entry)

48-hour book reading challenge update:
Books completed: 2
Reviews completed: 2
Hours spent so far: 8:18
Pages Read: 439

48HBC Post #3 - Hour #3 update

So I slept in late and I just finished hour #3 of the 48 hour book challenge. Here are my stats:

48-hour book reading challenge update:
Books completed: 1
Reviews completed: 1
Hours spent so far: 3:00
Pages Read: 180

Currently Reading: The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale - p.80

I'm loving the challenge so far - I have to leave in an hour for a after-baseball pool party, but will be back to it this afternoon.