The Bitch in the House by Cathi Hanauer

1527642Title: The Bitch in the House
Author: Cathi Hanauer (Editor)
Pages: 275
Year: 2002
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Time taken to read: 4 days
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads synopsisWomen 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 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 — ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced — offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed. The result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today, in all their anger, grace, and glory.

This was an interesting read for me because the women who wrote these stories are all much closer to my mother’s age than mine, and many of them even have children who are older than me (though not by much). I could most relate to the first few stories because they were by girls in their twenties who were talking about moving in with boyfriends, which is what I’ve just done this past summer. Even the stories about the older women, though, felt relatable in some ways, and when they weren’t, they were at least fairly interesting.

The reason I’m only giving this 3 out of 5 stars is that all the stories are from very similar women. They were all writers living in NYC, which was interesting for me because I want to be a writer and I (sometimes) want to live in NYC, but I mean, how many people have those goals? How many people could so closely relate to the specific aspirations and lifestyles of these women? Not that many. And there was one writer who talked about being Indian, but as far as I could tell, these women are mostly white and well-off, and because of their similarities, all the stories really blended together. There were only a few that felt really unique, and because of that I grew bored in the middle of a lot of the stories. A couple of the stories were a little annoying, actually. Some of these women seemed to be angry over nothing, when they have incredible lives with lovely families and fulfilling careers. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be angry or upset ever, but I wanted to tell them to notice how much they have and appreciate it.

Plus, the stories are pretty outdated at this point. I would be very interested in a second edition of this book with the same concept but more modern women. I do think it’s neat, though, to think about how so much has changed but also not very much has changed at all. The anger and frustrations of these women are just as present in young women today, as far as I can tell. At least, many of their frustrations are just as present in me.

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