Ever since the start of the holidays, I hate to admit that my schedule has been a bit of a whirlwind. And with the process of moving to a different state for my husband’s job in a week, it has gotten even busier. One of my goals at the start of the year were to produce three articles per week and it’s already lacking big time! But at least I was able to complete one thing, and that was finishing this novel by Margaret Dilloway called “How to be an American Housewife“.
How to Be an American Housewife is a novel about mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition. It tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn’t been what she’d expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways. Offering an entertaining glimpse into American and Japanese family lives and their potent aspirations, this is a warm and engaging novel full of unexpected insight.
I have to say that my initial pull towards this novel was the beautiful book cover that immediately caught my eye as I skipped through rows of bookshelves in the library. The art style is beautifully drawn with color schemes that welcomes, and I was drawn into mystery behind who this woman is.
The story is a slice-of-life kind of story full of heartfelt moments that transpires between mothers and daughters. This time, within three generations. What makes it more complex is when the mother is from a different culture than the daughter. Not only do things get lost in translation in words, but also in action.
As a daughter living in America whose mom came from Indonesia, I can relate so much between the relationship dynamic between Shoko and Sue. My mother speaks broken English and I hardly speak any Indonesian, so when we talk, sometimes it’s not a fluid conversation. Something is always missing. I know it’s been hard for my mom to adjust to America, as Shoko experienced as well, so reading the point of view of an immigrant mother trying to make her way in the country has enlightened me of my own mother’s possible journey.
If you’re looking for something light to read but touches the heart, look no more than How to be an American Housewife.
It seems like these days, my books are taking me to different parts of the world. The last book took me to England, this one to Japan, and the new book I’ll be reading will be taking me to Scotland. I love it. It allows me to travel when I can’t leave my home.
What have you read recently?