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How to Be an American Housewife Hardcover – August 5, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
In this novel centering around identity, growth, healing and motherhood, our protagonists are Shoko and Suiko, or Sue. The Japanese wife of a former American GI, Shoko has become American through assimilation. She chose to marry Charlie, a shy redheaded military man, and left her native Japan after the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima left her culture, land and family devastated. Sue is Shoko and Charlie's divorced American daughter, a lovely woman with a 12-year-old daughter, Helena, who understands her mother little and their Japanese heritage even less. Now aging and facing serious surgery, Shoko is looking back at the life she left in the Japanese countryside -- and the family that disowned her when she married an American. After her father chose her future husband out of a photo line-up of American suitors, Shoko said goodbye to her native country . . . and hello to a world even more foreign than the frightening one she abandoned. But toward the end of her life, did Shoko make the right choices? Could she have changed things for herself, for Charlie, for their son Mike -- or for Sue?
From the novel's first words to its rapid conclusion, I was enchanted with everything about Dilloway's story. In the cover blurb, author Jamie Ford calls the story "tender and captivating" -- a description I second whole-heartedly.Read more ›
Dilloway's heroine is Shoko Morgan, a Japanese woman who marries a Navy medic not so much for love, but out of duty to her parents and for the opportunity of a new life in America. The story is told by two voices. The first part of the book is narrated by Shoko, old and seriously ill, remembering her childhood and youth in Japan, her estrangement from her brother Taro, and the challenges she faced as a military wife in a biracial marriage and as a mother witnessing the growing emotional and cultural gap between her and her two children, Mike and Sue.
The story then switches to Sue's point of view. Sue, along with her own teen daughter, Helena, embarks on a trip to Japan on Shoko's behalf to find Taro. As Sue travels the country to Shoko's village, she finds herself not only pondering on the mother-daughter bond with both Shoko and Helena, but also on her own cultural identity.
As I read Dilloway's novel, I couldn't help but think about what her book has in common with Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club." The mother-daughter relationship theme is strong in both as it is the immigration and assimilation experience and the tension that belonging to different cultures can cause in an individual. In spite of the similarities, I enjoyed "How to Be An American Housewife." Shoko is not a shrinking wallflower. Instead, she's a beautiful woman who knows she's beautiful and is not afraid to say it. Her defiance may bring admiration from the readers as she incites her children to ignore those kids who make fun of them. But Shoko cannot escape from the traditions instilled by her parents.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was flawless. I could hear the distinct voices of both narrators. The mother-daughter dynamic was realistic and moving. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tracey Christensen
Wasn't expecting too much, but from the first line I loved the book! I'm so glad I stumbled across this. I definitely recommend this book to any and everyone.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This novel about a Japanese woman who married an American serviceman and the life she experienced as a result of this decision is simply beautiful and moving. Read morePublished 8 months ago by A_Roper
It gave a good insight as to what "the other side" went through and how they adjusted.
I thought it was very well written.
I loved the book and the descriptions of the Japanese culture.Published 10 months ago by gourmet rose
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it was told from the mother's point of view and the daughters. The book brought back some of my memories of when I lived in Japan.Published 11 months ago by Maria