The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

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9780060936464: The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House.

Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not.

With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on:

· The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children

· The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career

· The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family

· The myth of co-parenting

· Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers

· The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism

· Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook

· Anger at being criticized for one’s weight

· Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong

· And–well–more anger...

“This book was born out of anger,” begins Cathi Hanauer, but the end result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. The Bitch in the House is a perfect companion for your students as they plot a course through the many voices of modern feminism. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today-in all their anger, grace, and glory.

From The Bitch In the House:

“I believed myself to be a feminist, and I vowed never to fall into the same trap of domestic boredom and servitude that I saw my mother as being fully entrenched in; never to settle for a life that was, as I saw it, lacking independence, authority, and respect.” –E.S. Maduro, page 5

“Here are a few things people have said about me at the office: ‘You’re unflappable.’ ‘Are you ever in a bad mood?’ Here are things people—okay, the members of my family—have said about me at home: ‘‘Mommy is always grumpy.’ ‘Why are you so tense?’ ‘You’re too mean to live in this house and I want you to go back to work for the rest of your life!’” –Kristin van Ogtrop, page 161

“I didn’t want to be a bad mother I wanted to be my mother-safe, protective, rational, calm-without giving up all my anger, because my anger fueled me.” – Elissa Schappell, page 195

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Review:

"This book was born out of anger," begins Cathi Hanauer, which seems appropriate considering the book's title: The Bitch in the House. What could have been a collective gripe about the day-to-day routine of holding a family or relationship together is instead a witty, and sometimes bitchy, read. These postfeminist mothers, lovers, wives, and independent women candidly put forward their anger in the taffy-pull world of household responsibility. Jill Bialosky puts it most succinctly, "I had wanted to get married, but I realized now that I had never wanted to be a 'wife'." There are essays written by those who willfully, and often playfully, seek a life independent from domesticated routine, and others who have aged past the concerns of being a self-fulfilled and responsible mother. Author and poet Ellen Gilchrist, who is also a mother and a grandmother, sets this lasting tone of contentment, "Family and work. Family and work. I can let them be at war, with guilt as their nuclear weapon and mutually assured destruction as their aim, or I can let them nourish each other."

Not entirely angry, it is ultimately a satisfying read. There are no intended messages on how women can improve their relationships with their husbands, partners, and children. That is the beauty of the book. They have instead revealed modern motherhood, and solitude, as it is, and may have been all along. --Karin Rosman

About the Author:

Cathi Hanauer is the author of three novels—My Sister’s Bones, Sweet Ruin, and Gone—and is the editor of the New York Times bestselling essay collection The Bitch in the House. A former columnist for Glamour, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen, she has written for The New York Times, Elle, Self, Real Simple, and other magazines. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, New York Times “Modern Love” editor Daniel Jones, and their daughter and son.

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