Friday, April 2, 2010

The Actor and the Housewife

By Shannon Hale

Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. A few hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later something has happened, though nothing has happened…It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But soon Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends-talk-on-the-phone, drop-everything-in-an-emergency, laugh-out-loud-at-stupid-jokes best friends.
Becky’s loving and devoted husband, Mike, is mostly unconcerned. Her children roll their eyes. Her large extended family and neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special, something unusual, something that seems from the outside-and sometimes the inside too-completely impossible to sustain.
On the surface, Becky’s story of a steadfast housewife and the handsome star is the ultimate romantic fantasy. But the depth of emotion that Shannon Hale shows us in Becky is the strength that underpins only the strongest relationships. It is what makes this story resonate beyond the glitter of Felix’s movie-stardom to the deeper understanding of the kinds of true love we all dream of having.
Shannon Hale has created a magical and often hilarious story that explores what might happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life, and changes everything.

Okay, I just want to say to Shannon Hale: You rock like a cradle. I was laughing so hard that I actually snorted, then laughed even harder. I can honestly say I have never laughed so hard in my whole life while reading a work of fiction. The witty banter was just too hilarious. And what made it better- this isn’t a book about adultery. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s about staying true and what being a friend is all about. And I will also admit to the astonishing fact that I can add this to the half-dozen books that I really cried at. But by the end I was laughing again. To get that range of emotion, you’ve got something magic. My only interesting comment is this: I’ve read all of Shannon’s books now and this is the only one that swears. I was a little let down by that fact, but I can see why she did it. She’s talking about real life, but she does it tactfully. I heartily enjoyed this book, just like all of Shannon’s previous works.
One of my favorite parts is when Felix tags along to a Mormon potluck and the people in the ward recognize him and think he’s Mormon. They all start saying, “I didn’t know you were LDS! Come over her Brother Callahan and we’ll get you some food.” It was then that, in a confused and slightly panicked voice Felix whispers to Becky, “Did I just get accused of using drugs?”
Yeah, and that’s one of the lesser funny moments. I just remembered it offhand because I didn’t get it and when I finally did I laughed my head off. (Yes, I’m pitifully slow sometimes).

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