People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Archive

Picks and Pans Review: Housewife

Posted on

by Ruth Jernick

In a sardonic first novel about “just-a-housewife,” Long Island journalist Ruth Jernick gives a comically convincing view of suburbia that is at once sordid, hilarious, unsettling and hopeful. Jernick’s Everywoman (she remains nameless) talks endlessly on the phone with her best friend/worst enemy, a hypochondriac who claims part of her face is paralyzed, possibly from doing “telephone isometrics.” Despite diets, “soap opera therapy” and part-time jobs, the woman tries mightily to imitate Jane Wyatt in Father Knows Best, but her husband bears no resemblance to Robert Young. It’s all familiar yet amusing, and Jernick offers her heroine an escape, a fantasy world where she plots revenge on her tyrannical mate: “I sit on the beach in summer, smiling…and hope that a giant wave will come along and throw him onto his head, break his neck, carry him out to sea.” (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, $9.95)