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Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – March 29, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 467 customer reviews

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In Twenty Years: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Five friends live through three decades of marriages, child raising, neighborhood parties, bad husbands and good brownies-and Landvik (Patty Jane's House of Curl) doesn't miss a single cliche as she chronicles their lives in this pleasant but wholly familiar novel of female bonding. When Faith Owens's husband is transferred from Texas to the "stupid godforsaken frozen tundra" of Freesia Court, Minn., in 1968, her life looks like it's going to be one dull, snowy slog-until the power goes out one evening and a group of what appear to be madwomen start a snowball fight in her backyard. These dervishes turn out to be her neighbors: antiwar activist Slip; sexpot Audrey; painfully shy Merit; and widow Kari. They become fast friends and decide to escape their humdrum routine by starting the Freesia Court Book Club, later given the eponymous name by one of their disgruntled husbands. As the years pass, Audrey and Merit get divorced, Kari adopts her niece's illegitimate baby, all five of the women find work outside their homes and they even smoke a joint together. Their personal dramas are regularly punctuated by reflections on political milestones ("First Martin Luther King, Jr., then Bobby Kennedy. As if we didn't have enough to worry about with this stupid war..."). While some scenes are touching and genuinely funny, readers of Fannie Flagg, Rita Mae Brown, Rebecca Wells and many imitators will feel that they've seen this before.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

At the heart of this new work from the popular Landvik (Welcome to the Great Mysterious) is the Freesia Court Book Club, whose five women members go through a lot together.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; First Edition edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345475690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345475695
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (467 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Good friends and good books---who could ask for anything more? Especially if you happen to throw in lots of good food featuring heavy doses of chocolate----and you have a fascinating neighborhood book club called Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. Faith is a transplanted Southerner feeling out-of-place in the frozen wasteland of Minnesota when one night a power outage sends her outdoors to meet her neighbors in a snowball fight that will change her life. Years later, when a therapist asks her how she was able to hold things together for so long, she will reply "That's easy. I belong to a book club." For it is on that cold and snowy night that Faith and four of her neighbors conceive of a book club that will bind them for life and see them through their darkest traumas and most joyful events. Readers will be totally engrossed in the lives of these stay-at-home moms: Faith, who hides a past that shames her; Audrey, the proverbial sex kitten who can't hold her husband; Merit, the shy introvert who suffers physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her doctor husband; Slip, the antiwar activist who finds plenty to shout about during the Vietnam era; and Kari, the widowed elder of the group whose life takes on new meaning when an unexpected event gives her the child she has always longed for. From the sixties to the nineties you will follow these women and share their deep friendship, big laughs, and heart-breaking tears. The big bonus for book-lovers is that each chapter features the book title and author being discussed at the monthly meeting. Your interest will be piqued as you rediscover old favorites and may be inspired to read a few you missed along the way.
Lorna Landvik has created unforgettable characters, strong women who discover amazing things about themselves as they adapt to changing times and changing lives. I heartily recommend this most enjoyable book and only wish my own neighborhood had a chapter of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.
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Format: Paperback
Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons is the sort of tale that makes you laugh out loud, cry (repeatedly), reminisce, and feel privileged to be invited along for the ride. The story of five women on a cul-de-sac in Minneapolis, Minnesota, their adventures, their confessions, and their joys made me want to be part of their book club, their neighborhood, their lives.
Narrated in turn by each of the five, while the other four weave in and out of each chapter, AHEB covers 30 years' worth of book club meetings, and incidentally, their raising their children to adulthood. Each woman has traits to admire and to recoil from; most of us will identify with at least one of them. Motherly Kari (who has no child), Confident Audrey (sex on the brain, all the time), Terrified Merit (the beauty without power who rebels quietly), Indomitable Slip (small but powerful), Secretive Faith (whose casual lies keep all from knowing who she really is). Typical readers of the genre will find at least one to identify with and use the others as foils. We get to know all of them well enough to care.
It's not the emptiness of "chick lit" but it's not canonical either; this is 99.44% pure middlebrow. The housewives are upper-middle-class moms who are affected by cultural changes despite their priveleged place; by the early nineties all of them have returned to work. Some of the book is overly formulaic; by setting each chapter as a book club meeting, the author clearly used best-seller lists through the last 30 years. Would such a book club always be ahead, or even on, that curve? The sixties and early seventies seem more accurately researched and presented than the later seventies through early nineties; there was little sense of emotional presence or changed times in those chapters.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok -- I'm not part of the sisterhood. I'm male and I'm straight and normally guys like me would be put off by a book like this. Yet, I was drawn to it by its goofy title and ended up enjoying the book because of its memorable characters. The short summary of the book is that you follow the lives of four housewives and neighbors who form a book club and meaningful friendships. Along the way, you get a taste of the way the world changed between the 1970's and 1990's and you get to feel as if you know the main characters quite well.
What I found amazing is that you even get to like and remember secondary and supporting characters such as husbands and children. Most importantly all of this happens with a lot of humor, some insight and the occasional sappy story that might draw a tear or two.
My only fault with the book is that it seemed much more richer at the beginning of the book as the characters first learned more about each other. Later on in the book, the human interaction seems to slow a bit. In fact, the book club even adds a gay male as a member whose role as a confidant is important but seems to distract at times.
As a whole I enjoyed it a great deal and found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I also marveled at how close and important female friendships can be. Some other reviewers have mentioned that there are other books that cover this ground better. While that might be true, I would endorse this book to just about anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fast, light read. Ms. Landvik tells a good story but I had several issues:
- Point of View (POV): There are six POVs in this book, some in first and some in third. The author isn't consistent in POVs throughout a chapter, and the jumps to other characters can be difficult to follow.
- Plot: Every plot line except the kitchen sink is thrown into this novel. Issues include spousal abuse, alcoholism, drug use, race relations, war, peace protests, car accidents, adultery, infertility, homosexuality, AIDS, and cancer. A crisis arises, it's dealt with, and the story moves on to another crisis. The author could have trimmed the scope and characters and focused more on a smaller list of issues.
- Slip: Slip was the most annoying character. The woman never met a rally she couldn't protest or a gathering she couldn't crash. Her political preaching was over the top. Standing up for the proletariat? Wouldn't the failure of socialism in the USSR, North Korea, Cuba, in fact every country it's been attempted, encourage the author to leave this plot line out of the novel? I nearly put the book down several times because all Republicans were portrayed as uptight and bad, and all Democrats (of course, all the characters are Democrats) were fun and good.
- Vietnam: The recycling of the psychologically-damaged Vietnam veteran was also irritating. Does Ms. Landvik know any men who actually served in Vietnam? I know several, including a medic who saw truly horrific fights and wounds, and all these men lead normal lives. All war leaves scars, both mental and physical, but most Vietnam veterans didn't come home and drift through life, lost. Every vet in this novel is a basketcase, unable to function in life.
I enjoyed parts of the story, but I wouldn't consider it a great book. There are more enjoyable books that deal with women's issues without throwing in EVERY problem. I recommend Fried Green Tomatoes.
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