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The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage Paperback – September 16, 2003
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“The writing is superb: smart, sassy and honest–oh, are they honest...in this must–read for every woman.” (Booklist)
“What a book, for men and women both. There is no bitterness here, only the eloquence of honesty.” (Elizabeth Strout, author of Amy and Isabelle)
“THE BITCH IN THE HOUSE is… smart, funny, wise, honest, and very probably…the story of your life.” (Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This)
“I devoured these essays, and took great guilty pleasure in trespassing into these private lives.” (Elinor Lipman, author of The Dearly Departed and The Inn at Lake Devine)
“…This essay anthology will offer comfort to real women living real lives” (Library Journal)
“A rollicking, free-flowing, double-barreled think piece.” (Hartford Courant)
“Starkly revealing …Here is unvarnished truth and more than a smidgen of anger about marriage, motherhood, solitude, and sex.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
“The writing is superb: smart, sassy and honest-oh, are they honest-in this must-read for every woman.” (Booklist)
“The great thing about The Bitch in the House is knowing how many of us there are out there.” (O magazine)
About the Author
Cathi Hanauer is the author of three novels—My Sister’s Bones, Sweet Ruin, and Gone—and is the editor of the New York Times bestselling essay collection The Bitch in the House. A former columnist for Glamour, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen, she has written for The New York Times, Elle, Self, Real Simple, and other magazines. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, New York Times “Modern Love” editor Daniel Jones, and their daughter and son.
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The premise, having a collection of essays by women who write about their lives, their feelings, experiences, thoughts, disappointments and successes and hopes for the future. It should have been fascinating.
Some of the essays were very good. Others not so much.
The simple cause of one of the problems, which I did not expect at all to find, is that pretty much every essayist is a professional writer.
Right there, you have a very, very skewed perspective. I expected writers, but..... after reading this, realized that despite a sort of surface difference in authors, the book was slanted simply by this demographic.
Plus, a few of the essayists appear not to have spent much time on their work--a few had that off-the-cuff, ill-thought-out tenor. This may or may not be true, but to me, some of the writing was less than stellar. Others, of course, seemed very gifted at their craft. Some writers were very insightful, others....seemed not to see their forests for their trees.
In addition, most of the women seemed fairly young---not all, but enough that again, the perspective was skewed. And again, a few of the essays by the younger writers were not well articulated. (One reviewer here, I think, calls this: whiny.) Rather than whiny, I think the women simply had not the experience to frame their lives for other readers, in a less grating way.
Overall, I did find this worth reading.
[And I have bought the second book--which looks at the lives of some (not all) of the women in this book as they've moved through time and life. There are also new writers. I'm finding these essays more mature & broad in perspective and in the approaches used to write them. I will review this next book when I've finished it.]
I think if you are interested in women, feminism, social trends and /or just like essays, you might enjoy this. If you've a beef with the perceptions of women, probably not.
This is one of the better books on feminism and motherhood that I have read. I recommend it to anyone who likes to meditate on working and being a mother.