The Actor and the Housewife
Bloomsbury USA, 2009
First off, this is not a romance, even though the relationship Becky
Jack has with her husband is very romantic.
Second, I suspect that this book could be a little uncomfortable for any
reader who has not had a strong, though platonic, relationship with one
or more members of the opposite sex.
I enjoyed it immensely. The dialogue is "snappy" and made me laugh out
loud more times than I have in a book in years. The friendship it
explores, between the housewife, Becky Jack, and the actor, Felix
Callahan, is a lovely friendship, and it made me nostalgic for the good
buddies I had before I got married.
I appreciated all that the author did to explore the complications of
such a relationship along with the joys. When Becky's husband indicates
that he has problems with her friendship, she breaks it off completely,
even though it costs her. And when he realizes that it never threatened
their marriage, he loves his wife enough to see how important it is to
her and to her friend, the actor.
This book also made me cry, because sad things happen, and the author
explores those honestly and completely as well. At no point in the
story did I find myself thinking that there were questions the author
had avoided or aspects that had been given short shrift. The author
created characters with clearly shown motivations and well-thought-out
Becky is LDS, and her beliefs are part of the story. She even goes to
her bishop at one point, and I found the meeting with him to be very
believable. She prays when it makes sense in the story for her to pray,
and she struggles with losses in her life in a way that also makes
sense. She tries to be a good wife, mother, and friend, and I found her
and the other characters to be true to themselves and very real.
One small thing that I particularly liked was how different people would
confide to Becky just who the movie star they wished they could have
been friends with was. For me, it would have been Patrick Swayze.
Perhaps this book is not for everyone, especially those who can't
imagine anything other than a romantic relationship between members of
the opposite sex. It worked for me, and if you don't expect a romance,
it can work for any reader who enjoys real people in caring relationships.