Househusband

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Overview

Lincoln Menner is finding out just how hard it is to be a woman. When his wife Jo was offered her dream job, Linc supported her wholeheartedly, leaving his thriving landscape business in Los Angeles and moving to Rochester, New York. This was a chance to escape the cloying needs and atrocious tastes of his celebrity clientele, start over in fresh surroundings, and spend a little quality time with their three-year-old daughter, Violet.

But Linc...

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Overview

Lincoln Menner is finding out just how hard it is to be a woman. When his wife Jo was offered her dream job, Linc supported her wholeheartedly, leaving his thriving landscape business in Los Angeles and moving to Rochester, New York. This was a chance to escape the cloying needs and atrocious tastes of his celebrity clientele, start over in fresh surroundings, and spend a little quality time with their three-year-old daughter, Violet.

But Linc had no idea what it really meant to be a househusband: To stay home every day, folding laundry, cleaning soap scum, and teaching his little girl to use the potty. To be ignored at parties by his wife’s colleagues who see him as just a homemaker. To be looked upon with suspicious eyes by the neighborhood women who can’t understand what sort of man would choose to stay home. And with each new day, Linc is sure that the next load of whites will be the one that sends him off the deep end.

Though he has the house humming, Linc misses the outside world, longing to carry on an adult conversation with adult friends (the electrician and the UPS guy are starting to avoid him). Most of all he misses Jo, who is working all hours of the day and night and barely notices the fabulous dinners he slaves over, much less the husband who cooked them. And then there is Marilyn, the attractive next-door neighbor, who has been so friendly and supportive. . . .

Now the only thing Linc knows for sure is that something’s got to give. Should he go back to work and leave Violet in the hands of someone who is sure to be less competent? Or should he give in and embrace his role as househusband extraordinaire? Atturns funny, neurotic, and endearingly vulnerable, Linc Menner will win your heart–and make you wish you had a househusband all your own. (and you’l love the recipes!).


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The novel of feminist awakening is given an unexpected twist in Hudler's entertaining debut: its protagonist is a man. Lincoln Menner, once a California landscape designer, is now a stay-at-home dad who knows every creak and crevice of his huge suburban Rochester, N.Y., house. He is plagued by insecurities about wife Jo's high-profile job, three-year-old daughter Violet's schooling and development and his own wrestling with wanting and not wanting to be the perfect man to everyone. In a burst of self-pity, he contemplates his situation: "I felt as helpless as Amelia Earhart, alive on some island, reading a copy of Aviation Today that had washed up on the beach." Meanwhile, Linc's mother, Carol, a deferential wife who temporarily escapes her unimaginative car-salesman husband after stealing one of his own vehicles and driving off to explore the country and herself, provides an alternate voicing of desire and longing through her on-the-road e-mails to her son. The themes of career, family and power struggles between the sexes are prosaic, and the occasional recipes inserted into the text seem out of place, but Linc's plaintive observations about passing days alone and, finally, his self-acceptance, redeem his narrative. 5-city author tour. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Linc Menner's wife, Jo, is given the chance to climb the corporate ladder, but it means moving from California to Rochester, NY. Tired of running his own landscaping business, Linc agrees to give up his job to take care of their young daughter, Violet, while they move and get settled into their new home. Linc immediately bonds with Violet and has the house running smoothly, but he soon discovers the downside to being a stay-at-home dad: most of the neighborhood women snub him, he wonders if he will ever get back into the "real" workplace, and he feels that Jo doesn't truly appreciate what he does. Hudler, who is a househusband himself, creates a light and humorous tone that is a perfect match for this entertaining look at how much work really goes into keeping a house clean and a family fed. A scattering of real recipes is included, and somewhere in between the cooking, cleaning, and childcare comes a genuine glimpse at the guilt and joy that only other stay-at-home parents really understand. This first novel is a great choice for most public libraries. John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Adriana Trigiani
You’ll think it’s a man’s world until you read Househusband, Ad Hudler’s hilarious debut. It will make you laugh, cry, and eat -- move over Martha Stewart: wait until you taste his tortellini!
Jenny McPhee
Househusband is hilarious, smart, surprising, and full of mouth-watering descriptions of gourmet meals concocted on the fly (recipes included). But the best thing about Ad Hudler’s ingenious novel is its fresh perspective on humanity’s oldest conundrum: [the] relations between the sexes.
Publishers Weekly
The novel of feminist awakening is given an unexpected twist in Hudler's entertaining debut; its protagonist is a man.
Sara Moulton
I’ve always believed that everyone, man or woman, needs a wife. Apparently, so does Ad Hudler. He has written a very funny book on a serious subject -- contemporary gender roles. And he can bake a cherry pie. Wotta man!
Kirkus Reviews
A first novel whose self-impressed narrator takes on househusbanding with a vengeance and makes a better wife and mother than any woman could. When his wife Jo accepts a job as a hospital administrator, landscape architect Linc Menner moves with her and their three-year-old daughter, Violet, from California to Rochester, New York. Having agreed to stay home with Violet until he makes his next career move, Linc immediately becomes that supermom most real housewives and mothers hate. He is a wonderful cook, as the recipes included at the end of several chapters seem intended to prove. He keeps the house immaculately clean, cleaner than the average housewife does (as he more than once says with some pride), and he fills the high-ceilinged, many-windowed rooms of the house with plants. (Cynical readers may wonder about astronomical heating bills for those curtainless rooms in upstate New York, but money never becomes an issue in this family.) Precocious, adorable, and beautifully behaved Violet is proof of Linc's extraordinary parenting skills since, as he points out, Jo has little input. Linc does miss adult companionship-especially since the other stay-at-home moms shun him for being a man-until he becomes friends with his neighbor Marilyn. Although she's attractive and obviously attracted to him, he stays loyal to Jo, who appreciates Linc's domestic efforts even while she does resent them a little. Besides, Marilyn lets her kids eat junk food and watch too much TV, issues about which the much more strict Linc is a stickler. In fact, the first hint that the new babysitter is evil occurs when she commits the unpardonable sin of giving Violet a Malibu Barbie. Linc struggles to maintain hismasculinity as he identifies increasingly with the wives and mothers in his life. He succeeds, naturally, with Jo's second pregnancy emerging as the physical proof. Women readers (and what male would read this book?) will want to strangle Linc by his story's self-congratulatory end. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345451279
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/26/2003

Meet the Author

Ad Hudler is a househusband, having given up his career as a journalist to stay home. This is his first novel. He lives in Florida.


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Read an Excerpt

This is a good day. Though it began as gray and sluggish as simmering oatmeal, it has steadily grown into an energizing, high-speed puree, ever since noon, when I got the phone call from Jo.

“Can you handle a dinner for five?”

“Who?”

“My boss and his entourage.”

“Let me get my calendar.”

“I mean tonight,” she said.

“Tonight! You mean five hours from now?”

“I’m sorry. Can you do it?”

“Of course I can do it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“I really can take them out, Lincoln, but it’s Jerry and his group, and they always prefer a home-cooked meal. And they like your cooking.”

“I can do it,” I said.

On the drive to the grocery store, with Violet listening to a tape of Sesame Street songs in her car seat, I decided on an Indian chicken masala, which, after being thrown together, could simmer for hours with an occasional stirring while I cleaned the house. I’d serve it with basmati rice and some kind of cool, astringent salad that would cut the curry.

Jo had said the house was already clean, that it wouldn’t take much to get it ready for guests, but she doesn’t understand these things. It wasn’t dinner-party clean, it wasn’t clean like a fresh hotel room, everything aligned and pulled tight and poofed up, all the collapsed fibers standing upright once again.

So, with my masala simmering on low, I launched into tornado mode, like the Tasmanian Devil on the Bugs Bunny videos. I’velearned that housework, done well, is impossible with a single-task mind-set. It’s best to dart about like a hummingbird, tangential but still focused, conquering as you go, racking up little victories that accumulate and form something larger and significant. I be- gan zipping from room to room, multitasking, occasionally peeking into Violet’s bedroom where she played with paper dolls.

As the Lysol steeped in the toilet bowls, I watered all the plants on the main floor, stopping midway to make the bed in the master bedroom and pick up from the floor two pens and Jo’s calculator, which I stowed in the pocket of my cargo shorts until I passed through Jo’s office on my way to transfer the red load from washer to dryer.

Which reminded me: Heat of a dryer.

Which reminded me: Dry heat.

Which reminded me: Dry heaves.

Buy Mylanta for Jo.

Atlanta Braves.

Play date. Violet needs more friends.

As I dusted an end table, I glanced at my watch. Would there be enough time for the wine to sufficiently chill? I pushed three bottles of chardonnay into the ice bin of the freezer then set the oven timer for forty minutes. Before leaving the kitchen, I washed the floor in the main cooking area on my hands and knees, because damp mops simply redistribute the dirt into fuzzy lines.

I shook the foyer rug outside and draped it over my shoulder, then pulled out my pocket knife and snipped enough daisies and snapdragons and rosemary sprigs for a dining-room-table centerpiece.

Passing through the kitchen, I stirred the masala and called to ask the electrician to return on Friday to correct that flickering fluorescent bulb that made the laundry room look like an old black-and-white movie. The electrician reminded me of the light he fixed in the bathroom, which reminded me of the bathroom-wall bulletin board where we display clippings that amuse us. Since one of these guests tonight was Jo’s boss, I found and pinned up the story from the Rochester Business Journal that featured Jo in the “Twenty Young Executives to Watch” issue.

All the while, I performed house-cleaning triage in my mind: The sandy front stoop—critical. I did not have to soak the knobs on the stove in ammonia water, not until tomorrow, but the backdoor throw rug with dried banana pudding either needed to be laundered or tossed into the closet. I could ignore the master bedroom if I shut and locked the door, but what if they wanted to see the house? They’d know we’d only lived here a year. Out of courtesy, women would request a tour, men wouldn’t, but I couldn’t be certain the group would be all male.

Make bed.

Cover Violet’s pee stain with throw pillows from living-room couch.

Remember to call man to come shampoo couch.

New couch?

Property taxes paid first.

Call CPA.

C-3PO. Was Violet too young for Star Wars?

By five-thirty, I’d set the table and made the salad. Wine was back in the refrigerator, rice simmering in the steamer. I had time to pick five innocuous CDs that would allow for conversation but still convey to the world that we are eclectic and current.

At five to six, I was dressed and sipping a glass of cabernet. I dimmed the lights and lit the candles. This was the first time all afternoon I’d slowed down enough to notice my breathing and the beating in my chest. Though I’d taken a shower, my head was warm and flushed, fresh sweat beading on my forehead. I had that lingering glow from a full day of aerobics. Maybe I’d lost a few pounds.

Join a gym?

Buy birthday card for Jim, Jo’s CFO.

Get Violet’s portrait taken.

Check with dentist to make sure baking-soda toothpaste is okay for children’s teeth.

I knew Jo would remember the evening as a success, though the details that created it would escape her. She wouldn’t realize that a meal from scratch takes at least six hours, and that I’d magically done it in three. She wouldn’t know that I vacuumed the seats of the dining-room chairs or oiled the squeaky hinge of the front door or played the CDs in random mode to help stimulate anticipation, but these things are important to me because this is what I do, and I do it very well.

Linc’s Tame-and-Easy Masala serves six

This is a good dish to try on people who are wary of Indian food. It tastes more like a cross between Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.

1/2cup vegetable oil

1tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2stick cinnamon

7cardamom pods (Any variety is fine, but I like the large black pods; they have a deep, smoky flavor.)

1/2teaspoon peppercorns

8ounces onions, chopped

9cloves of garlic, chopped

3tablespoons minced ginger

3big tomatoes, chopped

3pounds skinned chicken thighs (Don’t even think of using white meat; it’s dry and tasteless in this and most other recipes.)

1/3cup plain yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

1teaspoon garam masala (This can be bought, already made, in any Asian market. It’s not a critical ingredient, but it does add some life to the sauce.)

Heat the oil in a big pan over medium heat. Put in the cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom and stir a few seconds before adding the garlic, ginger and onions. Stir a few more minutes, then put in the tomatoes and chicken. Add a few shakes or pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix together and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for an hour. Add the yogurt and garam masala, stir and serve over basmati rice.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    Great Book, a MUST have, I personally think all genders should read. Maybe then, there might be a bit of understanding on BOTH parts. I think Ad is a great writer, because he really understands people, and what he doesn't, he is NOT afraid to ask...

    This is book for everyone...(well...maybe not YOUNG people). Ad has brought out so much within the home as well as society. Walking the halls of elementary school...on up to dinner parties with his wife. He is quick and eager to share his opinions, and if you don't want to hear them....then walk away. Love this guy and his family is TOPS in my book.
    Very interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004

    Great Book!

    This is a very good book. It's an interesting twist on typical gender roles. I saw it on a table at a bookstore, and thought the cover looked a bit silly, but I'm happy to say the text proved me wrong. The character has interesting views on staying home with children, and funny observations on suburbia. It's an easy, fun read.

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