By the Book

By the Book

by Susan Mary Malone, Susan M. Malone

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This painfully detailed first novel limns the psyche of a Fort Worth housewife in her late 30s whose loutish, manipulative husband subjects her to physical and emotional abuse in the name of Jesus Christ and ``family values.'' Childless, jobless and pathetically dependent on her husband Roger, Nettie Rhodes has little contact with the world outside her immaculately tended home other than weekly visits with her feminist, ``heathen'' sister Becca and nieces Sara and Jeannie. The author fails to make convincing Nettie's abject submission to Roger, an obvious alcoholic who engages in extramarital affairs, is obsessed with sadistic pornography, beats his wife mercilessly and never attends church, although he insists that she do so. The story becomes somewhat more believable when a family tragedy forces Nettie to change her life and two elderly aunts help her understand how she has been an accessory to her victimization. But the book never really recovers from its early portrayal of a grim existence that doesn't quite ring true. ( May )
Library Journal - Library Journal
Malone's first novel tells the story of Nettie Rhodes, a housewife who is abused by her husband and subjugated into submission by her religion. Her only friend is her sister, a liberated member of NOW. By listening to her sister, Nettie undergoes a gradual transformation from a timid housewife into a self-aware, enlightened individual. Her story is interesting, but, unfortunately, not quite believable. After 17 years telling her how to clean the house and beating her for imagined slights, her husband hardly says a word when she finally leaves him. In addition, Nettie makes this transformation from a shadow to a real person without seeming to realize it. It may be that life does change in this way--so gradually that monumental changes are unnoticed--but the reader is left wishing for characters who are more thoughtful. Reasonably entertaining but not an essential purchase.-- Kathy Armendt Sorci, IIT Research Inst ., Annapolis, Md.

Product Details

Baskerville Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.07(d)

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