70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fabulous ideas but out of touch with middle class
I love this book. It celebrates the importance and beauty of being a housewife and mother. It is written as though she is sitting at your table chatting. It's charming, amusing, and full of fun fabulous ideas.
the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is b/c I think she doesn't realize that she is in the top 1 percent or so of the nation financially...
Published on November 1, 2005 by Scott Thomas
67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turned off by Shine's judgemental voice
Funny enough, I am Shine's target audience... a stay-at-home mom who believes my children come first, agrees that cultivating a healthy relationship with my husband is important, buys organic, does my best to take care of myself etc. I thought I would love this book. I WANTED to love this book. I believe we should champion SAHPs more and I was thrilled to find a book...
Published on February 12, 2007 by Sacramento Mom
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fabulous ideas but out of touch with middle class,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)I love this book. It celebrates the importance and beauty of being a housewife and mother. It is written as though she is sitting at your table chatting. It's charming, amusing, and full of fun fabulous ideas.
the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is b/c I think she doesn't realize that she is in the top 1 percent or so of the nation financially.
Darla assumes everyone is able to join a gym that has child care, go out to lunch on a frequent basis,decorate on a whim
and shop for amusement. hmmmm.
She also advises to make sure the "resorts" you frequent have child care. ha ha!!!
or my favorite, the living room and dining room should be off-limits to children!! sorry kids but you have to play in the bathroom or kitchen or bedroom.
My family is firmly middle-class. We are fine financially and I think we are pretty average but we'd be in a whole lotta debt if I started living this way.
it didn't detract from the basic messages though. so I loved the book and have lent it to my best friend
67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turned off by Shine's judgemental voice,
This review is from: Happy Housewives: I Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife--But I Finally Snapped Out of It...You Can, Too! (Paperback)Funny enough, I am Shine's target audience... a stay-at-home mom who believes my children come first, agrees that cultivating a healthy relationship with my husband is important, buys organic, does my best to take care of myself etc. I thought I would love this book. I WANTED to love this book. I believe we should champion SAHPs more and I was thrilled to find a book that seemed to do just that. But as I was reading I was stunned to find that while I agreed in principle with nearly everything Shine said, I couldn't get past her highly judgemental, snotty way of referring to those different than herself. She chides the women's rights movement for not being more supportive of SAHMs (agreed) and declares she wishes we could all be sisters and supportive of one another. Yet she is highly critical of these "sisters" whose choices differ from her own. My jaw dropped when she referred to an overweight woman in the grocery store a "fat a#$." Shine is not the voice of stay-at-home-moms I was looking for.
75 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very much like Maribel Morgan's "The Total Woman" (ca. 1974),
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)I'm the target demographic for Darla Shine's recent self-help book titled Happy Housewives. I'm the right age, I gave up a career and professional training to stay home with two young kids, and I do the majority of the housework in our now seemingly June Cleaveresque household. I don't think or feel like June Cleaver, though. As I read Shine's book, I did wonder if some of my distaste for the book might stem from the fact that I am not as wealthy nor as conservative as the stay-at-home moms she depicts. I think that it could have been more accurately titled Happy Rich Republican Housewives.
There were some good things about this book. It is an honest and heartfelt account of one woman's life and how she took control of the aspects of it that were making her "a whining, miserable, desperate housewife." It is simply written and a quick (sometimes humorous) read, and includes some good recipes and gardening advice.
However. There was a lot that really disturbed me in this happy, "I'm just talking to my girls" motivational book. First and foremost, there is the assertion that staying at home with your kids is always superior to working outside the home. There are no qualifications to this statement. (How about working while your kids are in school? How about part-time work? How about a stay-at-home dad?)
"Many of us are torn between our careers and our families. We work very hard, only to have to give it all up. What choice do you have? This is really what you were meant to do. If you made the choice to get pregnant, you should make the choice to stay home with that baby if you can afford to, and I think most of you could afford to." (p. 19 in Happy Housewives, henceforth HH, emphasis mine).
I also found the advice on being a housewife (aka SAH-mom) unsettling. Darla states that she is unequivocally against the whole "Desperate Housewives" idea of competitive mothering, but she sends very mixed messages with her advice:
"I think one of the biggest reasons housewives have a bad image is that a lot of moms have let themselves go. Admit it, girls. Most housewives are in desperate need of a makeover - out-of-date hairstyles, jeans that should have been thrown out years ago, and worst of all, what I really cannot handle, no makeup!", p. 32, HH.
"We look cute, we're thin, we're in style, and we're hot mamas! At least we think so. We're constantly on top of each other, policing each other to make sure we don't fall off the wagon. We force each other to look good......If you need help, look at what the women are wearing in the magazines. Real women in magazines like More, Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, and InStyle.", p. 33, HH.
Thankfully, I can't imagine any of my friends policing what I wear. And I was under the impression that the women shown in most magazines were media creations, not candid snapshots of real women. Even the women in that Dove Campaign for Real Beauty are not really real, if you know what I mean.
"The whole mommy clique thing is stronger than ever in the suburbs. I have been really studying this phenomenon, and it's a clear fashion thing. I notice that the cute, stylish moms hang out with other cute, stylish moms, and the frumpy moms hang out with the other frumpy moms. I told this to my girlfriend, and she told me months later that that statement alone got her off her bottom and to the gym. Now she has a slew of new girlfriends, and she's in the A-list mommy clique - which is stupid, I know, but it's just the way it is. So look good, don't be a bitch, and maybe you could be the new popular mom in town.", p. 164, HH.
This makes Darla's rhetorical question on pg. 31 of HH "Am I shallow? Yes, a bit." more than a little funny.
"I've often noticed in grocery stores that it's the heavy women who are buying a whole lot of junk. The other day when I was grocery shopping I noticed the woman in line in front of me loading a ton of processed snacks onto the checkout counter....She was about eighty pounds overweight, and I wanted to shake her. Her son came up behind me to stand near his mother; he was about twelve years old and at least twenty pounds overweight. I was so angry that I wanted to smash my cart into her big fat ass." p. 39, HH.
Didn't this bother anyone but me? Wasn't there an editor somewhere that said, "Honey, this makes your statements about not being a b*tch and not being in a mommy clique look just bizarre, even if you follow it up with a section about being healthy and exercising and eating organic foods? And what's with that sentence on ridding yourself of toxins and parasites by simply changing your diet?" What parasites? If I get tapeworm or Shigella or any other parasites, you can bet I'll do more than change my diet.
The parts in this book that refer to men are the parts that really distressed me, though, and these are the sections that made me think of that Victorian "separate spheres" ideology, and how similar Happy Housewives is to the "Cult of Domesticity" of the 19th and early 20th centuries. These are the parts that I couldn't wait to read aloud to my husband:
"The secret is that men are simple. They want only three things in life: attention, appreciation and sex. If they cannot get these three things from you, they will either look someplace else or become miserable bastards who annoy you every day of your life." p. 55, HH.
"Ladies, you may think no one out there would want your overweight, sloppy husband who leaves his underwear on the floor and pees all over the toilet bowl, but I promise you there's another woman willing to jump into your side of the bed." p. 54, HH.
"Last year one of my best friends wanted a new dining room set, but her husband was not opening his wallet. I told her to go home, pay some attention to him, act interested in him, initiate some romance, do some nasty deeds that only married couples should do, and guess what? Two weeks later she had the furniture - and a new diamond ring to boot." p. 57, HH.
"And ladies, I advise you to leave the baby with your girlfriend or your mother instead of your husband [snipped out story about her getting highlights and getting called by her dh five times]...You get the idea, girls? I would have had a very peaceful afternoon if my mother or Dana had taken care of the kids. They would have improvised. Men are just not capable of that. Sorry, guys." p. 174, HH.
"Why do so many women insist on doing everything with their husbands? I say have sex together, and that is pretty much all you need to do. Really, sometimes communicating with your husband is overrated. I have my girlfriends for that!" p. 65, HH.
Now, you may argue that these quotes are taken out of context. But I didn't see anything in the context that negated the meaning of these statements, which I think speak for themselves. They reveal an understanding of gender relations that is very different from the one I hold, to put it mildly.
Although Darla is very big on female solidarity (and talks often about the support of her girlfriends), she feels that feminism has ignored (if not actively disrespected) mothers. I certainly agree with her that mothers deserve more respect and social recognition, especially for caregiving roles, but I personally foundnd few resources for changing this attitude in Happy Housewives. Instead of following Darla's ten easy steps "to stop being desperate - and start getting happy", I suggest that other mothers check out some mom's groups that actually empower moms.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't knock it 'til you try it!,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)With comments ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other, I had to read Darla's (after reading it I'm on a first-name basis with my new girlfriend) book. I took her advice-- I cooked her recipes, dressed up like a tart for the man that I love and reconnected with two friends I really missed. More importantly, I stopped looking at my switch from well-paid salesperson to stay-at-home Mom as a demotion.
By the end of the week, my husband didn't mind that I left the cordless in the rain for the fourth time, the kids were getting along better and and I was happier.
Her advice worked. Her message, however you may feel about the packaging, is inspiring and all about self-empowerment. It's group therapy in a book. I will refer to it when I'm feeling blue and unappreciated. I'm also blowing the dust off of '203 Ways to Drive a Man Wild in Bed'. Between the two of these books, feeling good and looking better is right there for you. Thank you, Darla!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good information, but a little crude,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)I got this book to affirm my choice to be a stay at home mom. I am so blessed that I can stay home, but sometimes the drudgery gets to me...as it does so many other moms/housewives. I wanted to try to focus on the blessings of being home and taking care of my family, instead of the negatives. This book has some very good information to offer, but the author can be very crude and negative. Some of the words she uses really turned me off, and I ended up putting the book away because of it. I get it back out sometimes if I need a little pick me up, but I try to focus on the good parts and skim over the bad. Overall, I would not recommend this book. One that is full of the positives about being a mom without the negatives is "The Momstown Guide to Getting it All". Would definitely recommend that one over this one.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slick Package with a Few Good Points...,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)First, the positives. I can give this an A+ for the scrumptious looking package -- the bright colors, the 50's-era cartoon housewife in your choice of hair and apron color, and so on. Frankly, it's why I bought the book. I am a collector of "house-wifey" type books -- a true weakness of mine!
I will give the book points for the following:
***LOVE the concept of "PLEASE STOP WHINING". I personally cannot stand the whining and complaining of SAHMs -- including myself, when I catch myself doing it! No matter what your situation, TRUST me, someone has it harder, so quit your "woe is me, this is so hard" act....(OFF SOAPBOX!)
***Her points on keeping your home nice and taking pride in homemaking -- thumbs up from me on that. These things perhaps seem trivial to some, but bring me a feeling of peace and fulfillment. Not ALL of my fulfillment, mind you, but a nice serving of it, at least. : )
***Darla Shine can be pretty funny -- and occasionally, I enjoy the "tone" in her book -- it's very chummy and blunt at the same time (notice I said that I enjoy it "occasionally" , see below for exceptions!).
***Overall, in a general sense, I like her message that one should be proud to be a housewife/sahm. I agree.
Okay, now for the things that lower the score for me:
***Yes, Darla Shine can be funny -- but she sports a mean streak, too. And she is a snob -- not in the "high society" sense, but in the even more abhorrent JUNIOR HIGH sense. I mean, really -- are there really moms out there who yearn to be in the "in crowd of moms"? Is there such a thing? And back to the "mean streak" -- everyone here who has read this book knows what I'm about to say: she wanted to ram her cart into a woman's "fat ass"?? HOLY cow, I canNOT believe the editor let that part of the book stay in. It spoke VOLUMES about Darla Shine's character, and really ripped her credibility to shreds in my eyes at least. Face it, we all have our little witchy moments and thoughts, but I can safely say that I have never, ever wanted to ram someone's ass (fat or not) with a cart over the groceries they had in it. ISSUES, anyone??
***Can you say SHRILL? Her nearly incoherent rambling about health foods and parasites truly detracted from the point of the book. She really sounded asinine. I think she is a hypochondriac and a bit neurotic.
***I don't agree that women who choose a different path (i.e., career rather than sahm) should be targets of criticism. We should treat working mamas with the very same respect we ask of them! No exceptions -- period. Yes, even if they don't "have" to work, LOL. Being a mom is hard work, and we all deserve respect, not scrutiny and criticism of our choices.
So, all in all -- I gave this book 3 stars because I do love what she is TRYING to get across in her book; yet I can't give it one iota more than that because her lower level snobbery, mean streak, and occasional shrillness seriously detract from her message. Plus, I didn't buy a book entitled "Happy Housewives" to hear about her health food obsession - what a turnoff that was.
My suggestion would be to check it out from the library before purchasing it. You might love it and want to buy it, but I wish I hadn't...
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An expert in Her own Mind,
This review is from: Happy Housewives: I Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife--But I Finally Snapped Out of It...You Can, Too! (Paperback)I'm wondering if this book is God's way of telling me not to complain so much about the rosy Christian books I dislike. I've long found those types of "pat" Christian authors annoying and rather wished they'd be more realistic. Boy, was Darla Shine a kick in the mouth to that wish! The typical Christian book for wives tends to be focused on these messages: don't be too focused on your outer beauty, have a humble spirit, and respect your husband. Darla Shine's book? She treats good looks like they're a sacred requirement for all women, occassionally speaks of men like they're the sludge of the earth, and uses swear words to namecall other people. Shine's far from humble behavior, crassness, and sometimes cruel description of others made me wonder why she even mentioned Christianity or God; they really just seemed like footnotes to the book and her life.
The main thing that offended me about her profanity is that she used it to describe other people. Darla's advice that we shouldn't b*tch is rather hilariously contradictory of her own practices; maybe she just meant that we shouldn't complain with a bitter tone and should instead resort to her rather gleeful style of insulting things and people that annoy her. She didn't at all mind sharing a cruel fantasy of hurting a poor overweight woman and her unbelievably insulting words about men made me wonder how she dares to speak badly of feminists! An example: She claims that men are simple, want only three things, and if they don't get these things from you, "They will either look someplace else or become miserable bas*ards that annoy you" (her exact words). Okay, I've seen even submissive women manage to sound patronizing of men, but Miss Sunshine really took the cake with these words. First she insults men by acting like their needs are few and stupid, then she sounds like they inconvenience their wives by having these needs. Gee, how dare a man bother his wife with requests for respect and attention! How many men are actually okay with this portrayal of themselves? I know that housewives are busy and that their husbands shouldn't be demanding, but working husbands are busy too; it's not as though they have nothing to do but bug their wives for sex.
Shine's portrayal of women isn't that nice either, though, which brings me to her advice for housewives. Some of it's really good; her statements that your baby's worth staying home for is very sweet and true. However, statements like these are often accompanied with according-to-Darla statements like "This is what you were meant to do." Um, says who? Staying home is a wife's choice, not some golden rule. One of her silliest statements was "If you made the choice to get pregnant, you should make the choice to raise that baby if you can afford to". First of all, not everyone "decides" to get pregnant. Second of all, using that logic, why not tell a man that if he chose to impregnate a woman, he should have to raise that baby?
The book is basically meant to do two things: explain how women are meant to stay at home, and tell them how staying home can be fun. Her ideas of fun can be cute, but the problem is that her suggestions and tone are often very shallow. Telling wives they can still look nice? Good. Basing so much importance on looks that SAHM's (Stay At Home Moms) become fashion contestants with each other? Bad. Shine freely calls herself and her friends cute, thin and hot. She reverts to high school girl maturity when she actually says there are "mommy cliques" and that cute wives and frumpy wives only flock with their own kind. She claims that her friend improved her appearance, got a slew of new girlfriends, and was in the A-list mommy clique. She immediately follows this with, "Which is stupid, I know, but that's the way it is." Too late, Darla hon; you've already proved that you think it's important inspite of your admittance that it's stupid. How old are these women?? This isn't high school anymore! Her last statement in this section was, "So look good, don't be a b*tch, and you may be the next popular mommy in town". Firstly, this made me strongly suspicious that there's an underground beauty contest for SAHM's I don't know about, and secondly, could you give me some examples of how not to be a b*tch? So far, I've gotten nothing but insults of men, unattractive women, and working wives.
If you enjoy this book, that's fine; she is occassionally funny and helpful. However, I personally think Darla's staying at home because she either has no choice or finds that it's actually fun. After all, if she had a big career, she probably couldn't have as much girlfriend/beauty time as she'd like. Whatever her reason, though, I highly doubt it's anything as noble as making a sacrifice just for family. I'm not saying she doesn't see the value of it now; she seemed very sincere in her comments about how dear children are, but I doubt she'd be as happy or as willing to be a SAHM if she hadn't found the fun aspects of it. And please, refrain from insulting those who don't like her; I've heard people call negative reviewers bitter and even accuse them of tearing down the sacredness of SAHMs. Maybe it's just that we don't like to hear b*tching.
41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars States the obvious. Claims it genius.,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)I cannot express how much I was annoyed by Darla Shine. I don't really care that she has a slightly twisted view of self-worth, but what struck me the most is what a horrible, horrible writer she is. Bouncing all over the place. Rude and redundant. She hooks you with a few simple thoughts that resonate with most stay-at-home-moms, but then suddenly she is talking about ramming her cart into someones fat ass. Seriously? Is she really like that? Super angry because some mom either doesn't know about good nutrition or doesn't care?
My favorite would have to be her recipes... she prattles on endlessly about buying organic and eating healthy. Then you get to her recipes. Not only does she have the audacity to name them after her: "My Famous Scrambled Eggs", but the eggs are really just scrambled eggs with cheese. Honey, if that's nutritious to you, I should be ramming my cart into your stupid ass.
How did this chick ever get a book deal? More important, why was she on TV? Oh wait... her husband is a top exec at Fox... need I say more?
Save your money. Read Family First and get a subscription to Real Simple.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying,
This review is from: Happy Housewives (Hardcover)I really wanted to like this book because I am also tired of all the whining that goes on (especially if it is from me). However, the author was shallow, random, hypocritical, and annoying. I agree with the premise that we should all encourage each other to be stronger and take pride in our role as Mom, but this woman is not qualified to hand out the advice. She is amazed that anyone would go out without makeup but admits sending her kids to school without brushing their teeth. She also admits to letting the skip school to watch a movie.
This books was so shallow in its recipe for happiness beginning with tight t-shirts and lipstick. It did not resonate at all with any kind of love or joy in what she does. She was petty and mean throughout. It reads like an emotional rant of things that bug her. I really cannot believe anyone published it.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, redundant, vulgar, and ignorant,
This review is from: Happy Housewives: I Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife--But I Finally Snapped Out of It...You Can, Too! (Paperback)Other reviewers have done an excellent job describing almost everything I hated about this book. The thing that finally made me toss the book aside, though, was a little gem that simultaneously destroyed her credibility and cast serious doubt on the credibility of Susan Powter (although I will give her the benefit of the doubt until and unless I actually read Powter's book and confirm): "A few years ago she wrote a new book, *The Politics of Stupid*.... She taught me how to eat real food, not a bunch of processed junk. She gives oatmeal as one example. She says everyone thinks oatmeal is a healthy food, but did you ever hear of an oat tree?" (p. 44) What the.... Seriously? Where does she think oats *do* come from, a lab? Anyone that ignorant should not be giving advice on healty eating habits. Just my opinion.
So disappointed with this book.
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Happy Housewives by Darla Shine (Hardcover - September 20, 2005)
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