- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
“A LIVELY STORY AS DELECTABLE AS A FIVE-POUND BOX OF CHOCOLATES . . . A thoroughly engaging chronicle of friendship and the substantive place it holds in women’s lives.”
Author of Leaving Eden
“It is impossible not to get caught up in the lives of the book group members. . . . Landvik’s gift lies in bringing these familiar women to life with insight and humor.”
—The Denver Post
“A GUILTY PLEASURE . . . THIS LIGHT, SNAPPY READ MAY BE HER BEST YET.”
—Midwest Living magazine
“Honesty, humor, and profound emotion . . . are the hallmarks of the book. Told alternately from each woman’s perspective, and ranging in time from the late 1960s to the late 1990s, Landvik accurately captures the thinking, the culture, and the feeling of each decade. . . . [She] treats her characters, whose stories drive the novel, with the same warmth and love with which they regard each other. . . . For anyone who has connected with another person on any emotional level, this appealing novel provides the special comfort of recognition.”
“[A] delicious novel . . . If you love . . . Fannie Flagg, Lee Smith, Adriana Trigiani—you will love this. It’s a buddy book, a story of women sharing friendship, love, loss, and laughter.”
—Millbrook Round Table (NY)
“Readers might feel a twinge of sadness and loss as they turn the last page of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons—finishing this book is like leaving five dear friends.”
“Witty and wise . . . Landvik’s ladies endure the best and worst of times together (and recommend some great reads along the way).”
From the Trade Paperback edition.
1. During the sixties and seventies, the Angry Housewives smoked cigarettes and threw back highballs—even while pregnant—without knowledge of the harm it could do. If they could have glimpsed their futures then, what do you think would have surprised them most about their future selves? What is one thing you know now that you would have really appreciated being aware of ten years ago?
2. Why do you think groups like AHEB—women who live near each other, raise children together, and bond over books together—persist even in a climate of working moms and in a culture that is flooded with other types of media?
3. Discuss Faith's letters to her deceased mother. What kind of catharsis do they provide Faith, and how do the tone and nature of the letters change as the years go by?
4. Audrey gets a kick out of introducing Kari to strangers as a recently released convict. Discuss the women's jokes, nicknames, and embarrassing moments—how does humor work to solidify friendship?
5. Kari faces a critical decision when Mary Jo forbids her from telling Anders that the baby is his grandchild. Would you be able to keep such a secret? For which character is this secret most constructive; for which is it most destructive?
6. The women suggest that Slip thinks that by wearing revealing clothes Audrey perpetuates her role as a sex object and 'subverts [her] real self.' Audrey replies that she takes no one's opinion into account when she dresses—she simply likes it. How much does physical appearance burden or bless the women in AHEB? Do you think it is easy to make generalizations regarding persons who dress provocatively?
7. Faith becomes a guardian figure after staying up with the gun waiting for Eric Iverson's return, and keeping watch over Slip in the hospital bed, prepared to confront the Grim Reaper. What do you think are her conscious or subconscious motivations for being ever watchful?
8. Audrey has a talent for sensing upcoming events. In what ways do her capabilities influence how she deals with her family? Does it differ from how they affect her friendships? How much do you believe in psychic phenomena? Would being endowed with such a gift help or hinder one's decisions?
9. Merit is ashamed that a part of her believes her mother's statement that her brave Aunt Gaylene--happily unmarried, fulfilled with friends and books--was 'living half a life.' What sides of Merit's character produce these contradictory feelings? How do you think the other women of AHEB would respond to this opinion, and why?
10. At the AHEB meeting for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the women toast their favorite and most influential teachers. In what other ways does the act of teaching influence the relationships in this novel?
11. Slip and Audrey allow a conflict between their children to seriously harm their friendship for a short time. If you ever had the desire to openly criticize a friend because of the way he or she raised a child, would you do so? How does Landvik's portrayal of differing parenting techniques and the children they produce function as social commentary within the novel?
12. What do you think caused Faith to (almost absent-mindedly) bring Audrey to Trilby? How did confronting Beau's sexuality help her have the strength to confront the reality of her own past?
13. Merit attributes her quiet acts of rebellion--trash rolled up furtively in her hair, choosing only banned books for AHEB meetings--to her maintenance of sanity during her years of marriage. What do you make of these coping methods? How do they compare to the methods of the other women in AHEB? Discuss your own strategies for staying lucid and balanced when confronted with situations that can be unbearable.
14. Kari and Mary Jo both question the timing and content of their admission to Julia after it's too late. Do you think it would have been wiser to have Julia grow up knowing the truth, or perhaps never knowing at all? How do you feel about Kari's impromptu decision to come clean in front of Mary Jo and without her prior knowledge? Was Julia right to be so upset?
15. How do you feel about the later inclusion of Grant as a member of AHEB? Did you think the inclusion of a male affected their particular group dynamic? What is valuable about inviting men to participate in women's dialogue?
16. Merit eventually finds Paradise, literally and figuratively. Do you believe that good things come to people who wait?
17. At the peace march, Fred states that, 'Only by trying to help someone else save their life could I save my own.' What do you make of this statement considering the horrors he experienced during the war? Do other characters in the novel embody or contradict this notion? Are certain characters better described as saviors than saved?
18. How are midwestern values portrayed in this book? In what ways might the book have differed if it had been set in the northeast or the south?
19. Slip is described throughout the book as the strongest--physically--of the Angry Housewives, in addition to her dynamic will and stalwart convictions. What emotions are stirred when someone who is perceived as invincible suddenly becomes critically ill? How does she continue to display conviction and energy? Do you think she will prevail?
20. Audrey says she believes in luck and God acting in tandem. What events in her life do you think contributed to this belief? How much weight do you give this sentiment regarding your own life? Do you think people tend to attribute life's painful events more to luck or to God? What about the joyous events?
21. Did you like the format of the book? How did giving every character the opportunity to voice their thoughts support the all-for-one and one-for-all theme of the book and the club itself?
22. This book covers a lot of ground, both personal and political. What do you think the most important lesson these women learn over thirty years is? Which characters were most ripe for change with the political and cultural tide? Whose story did you think most embodied the emergence of women as a growing force outside the home?
23. In order to attain a greater understanding of herself, Faith utilizes therapy, learns from her friendships and culls inspiration from books. How do these three supplement each other as means of self discovery? Which books and authors have inspired you most through the years?
24. What did you think of Merit's idea to unite mothers around the world to stop war and halt violence? Were you surprised this notion came from her?
25. Slip tells Merit that re-dubbing their book club Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons would be taking their husbands' words and 'giving them and their chauvinism the finger.' What other subversive techniques do the women display for giving chauvinism the finger? Do you feel it's an apt name for the club and all it turns out to be?
26. Discuss Kari's notion that her heart was able to put itself back together after the loss of Bjorn much like a lizard that can regenerate a tail. Do you think this sort of regeneration would have ever been possible without the arrival of Julia?
27. Marjorie McMahon has a plethora of nicknames: Slip, Warrior Bear, the Big Kahuna; and she is called everything from a leprechaun to a member of a 'bloodstained group of nuts.' What in her character lends itself so well to these various labels? Which do you think is the most accurate?
28. What do you think about Merit's final interaction with Eric Iverson? Was the slap beneath her or just what he deserved?
29. How does AHEB compare to your book club? Are there any ideas in the novel, like themes for meetings, which you'd like to incorporate?
30. Which character was your favorite? Was she or he the one you identified most with?
31. A number of the characters in the book harbor secrets. What does secret-keeping do to characters like Faith and Fred, who fear their actual secrets as opposed to Kari or Beau who fear the reactions of others?
Posted April 27, 2011
This was a great novel to start our book club so many years ago. Not only did it show us how such a club could bring disparate women with different backgrounds, ages, and values together in a heart-wrenching, lovely story, it also gave us ideas for how to conduct our meetings. Most of us were merely acquaintances when we started, and now we are a group of friends who have begun exchanging presents at our December meeting. The ladies in the novel choose to have meals that relate to whatever novel they are reading, and we've continued to carry on this tradition in our club as well, encouraging us to try some new and yummy recipes. This novel tells of five different women who each have their own story to share as they bond together through four decades of change. This is an American history novel, a woman's novel, and an inspirational novel. I highly recommend it. To read more of my book reviews, please visit my blog at bookclubpicks dot blogspot dot com.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 28, 2012
Posted August 13, 2013
A lovely and realistic story about a group of friends over the course of 30 years. I felt, with each page, I grew with the characters. To be honest, the changing perspectives (mid chapter in many cases) was a bit jarring, but, upon reflection, it was like many people telling the same story. Of course, someone's going to jump in the middle and carry on her (or his) piece of it in the individual perspective.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 25, 2013
Posted February 11, 2013
Posted February 1, 2013
I really connected with the characters. I felt like I was part of the book club and enjoyed the progression through the years. A friend of mine read the book and recommended it to me. I am so glad I read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2012
Posted October 20, 2012
Posted October 18, 2012
Posted October 18, 2012
Posted October 17, 2012
"Well, she's the one who saved you, isn't she? Or are you a different kit?" I ask, confused.+Geckoleaf (there were three kits that day, so l'm sorry if l mixed you up.)
0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2012
Posted September 24, 2012
Posted August 21, 2012
This is the story of five women who form a book club, following the women over decades of friendship.
This story is character-driven, with full, well-fleshed out characters. But that is not to say that the plot plays second-fiddle. This story is equally plot and character driven, and it covers the gamut. Childhood heartbreak, unhappy marriages, domestic abuse, substance abuse, the horrors of war, the pain and joys of parenthood. It has it all.
My final word: I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the writing, and some of the stories the characters would tell. It had both serious moments and humorous moments, allowing you to watch the development of the character's lives over decades. I would recommend this one.
Posted August 6, 2012
Posted August 3, 2012
Posted July 24, 2012
Follow the lives of 5 complicated women. The normal lives they lead are not what they would first appear. Watch them grow and develop into the individuals they become. See a little of yourself in one or more of them. You won't regret reading this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 6, 2012
My book club read "Angry Wive". We all enjoyed it immensely! The characters were so real that we identified with them. It was really interesting to follow a friendship over decades. We should be so lucky to be together that long!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2012
Posted November 16, 2011
This book was light and enjoyable to read. You really get to see the characters grow and change throughout time. They make you laugh and cry. I chose it for our bookclub and we all enjoyed it. Each chapter lists the book the ladies chose for their bookclub and we wrote down some of the titles to read in the future. I even threw a dinner party using themes from the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.