Monday, April 13, 2009

Busy Woman Seeks Wife

I picked this one out of the ARCs that my friend the Kenyon College bookstore manager provides me access to because of the great title. I mean really, what woman doesn't want a wife, and how many of us first realize it when we read Judy Syfers Brady's "Why I Want a Wife"? (See my discussion of that essay here.) Busy Woman Seeks Wife, by Annie Sanders (written by two women under the one name) will be available April 29, 2009.

It's one of those novels in which a busy person has friends and family she doesn't fully appreciate, and when she unbends enough to ask for their help, they all pitch in to save the day for her. The busy woman, Alex, has a demanding job, a best friend, Saff, who is a housewife, and a once-famous mother (known as "The Bean") who has broken her arm and needs help with day-to-day activities as the novel begins. It's also a very British novel--Saff's name is actually "Saffron." Oh, and don't miss it--there's some symbolism--Saff likes to cook. And Saff is the friend who volunteers to place an ad to find Alex some domestic help:

"The more Saff thought about it, the more she knew a wife would fit the bill. Max always said he couldn't function without her running his life--though Saff wasn't that stupid. A kiss on the forehead and the flattery were just a man's way of saying 'I won't bother learning so long as you are there to do it for me.'"

Despite the formulaic aspect, though, I enjoyed reading about how Alex and Saff hire Ella and Frankie as domestic help, and how they get along with Alex's mother, the formerly famous "Bean." And the crisis towards the end is exciting, with everyone pitching in, and most entertainingly. My favorite part is when the Bean takes charge of a spoiled supermodel who is vital for Alex's presentation the next day and whisks her out for the kind of evening they both enjoy.

Things end happily. A good time will be had by most readers. And then there's the "send off":

"Five reasons a woman needs a wife
Because if she didn't have a wife, she'd have to employ a secretary, chef, taxi driver, laundry administrator, mechanic, decorator, chambermaid, nurse, gardener, social diary coordinator, seamstress, school gate administrator, technician, psychologist, therapist...oh, that's fifteen!"

This time of year, the social diary coordinator and school gate administrator jobs hang most heavily around my neck. What's dragging at yours?


Harriet M. Welsch said...

Me? Secretary, accountant, and maid (it is the season of mud, after all).

Alison said...

Accountant and maid, just at the moment. It's daunting knowing that the Munchkin's birthday (and the resulting visit from the grandparents) is, for the foreseeable future, at least, always going to arrive as part of a one-two punch with tax day.

Alison said...

Almost forgot - a personal shopper. I'd pay good money to avoid ever buying clothing for anyone again.

TexasRed said...

I agree! Its amazing how many things can only be done between 9-5 and how many "minor" things slide when work goes crazy.

Cschu said...

I need a secretary and a maid. The house and my office are both wrecks, so part of this would be just to straighten up the junk that is making me claustrophobic. The problem is the secretary also has to have at least a master's degree in math so that my grading gets done.

PAJ said...

Laundress. Cook. Social secretary. Pet groomer. Maid. Travel coordinator.
Still, I wouldn't leave these jobs to just anyone.

Jeanne said...

CSchu, you're the only person I know well who actually HAS a maid.

Isn't it encouraging to see how we're all pretty much in the same boat?

meg said...

hello - thanks for your excellent review. glad to hear the title rings a bell with so many of you!
meg x (half of annie sanders)