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The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the…

The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work,… (2002)

by Cathi Hanauer (Editor)

Other authors: Laurie Abraham (Contributor), Natalie Angier (Contributor), Jill Bialosky (Contributor), Veronica Chambers (Contributor), Kate Christensen (Contributor)21 more, Chitra Divakaruni (Contributor), Hope Edelman (Contributor), Ellen Gilchrist (Contributor), Vivian Gornick (Contributor), Kerry Herlihy (Contributor), Pam Houston (Contributor), Karen Karbo (Contributor), Cynthia Kling (Contributor), Natalie Kusz (Contributor), E. S. Maduro (Contributor), Jen Marshall (Contributor), Hazel McClay (Contributor), Daphne Merkin (Contributor), Sarah Miller (Contributor), Catherine Newman (Contributor), Hannah Pine (Contributor), Elissa Schappell (Contributor), Helen Schulman (Contributor), Susan Squire (Contributor), Kristin van Ogtrop (Contributor), Nancy Wartik (Contributor)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I QUIT!!!!

I've ordered this in print.....

The first narrator was so Awful! Honestly her voice was flat and devoid of all feeling. As if I was listening to a high pitched zombie

In fact her voice was so blah, that I completely tuned out to the first several minutes of her narration....I didn't hear a word she said! That's when I knew I was finished!

If "listening" to a book is a skill...it's obviously one I do not have.

So, as for the book itself......I'll go for ★ ★ ★
Reading this was so very much better than listening to it.....I was able to finish it.

I understand completely the situations these women have put themselves in.....most of them take the blame for choosing to be/staying in bad relationships. They describe their honest feelings & again take responsibility for allowing family to take advantage of them.....

There was a woman who had a control issue: she had to do it ALL herself.....and her husband really wanted to help her, but she felt it was easier to do it herself rather than teach him how. So of course, when he stopped offering his help she began to feel resentful.

Another woman loved her b.f because he was the "sensitive & creative" artistic type...so he'd work on his art, get stoned & play video games while she went out to work and when she finally asked for his help, he'd complain that she was mean & picking on him...is this a "no brainer" or what?

Then there was the couple who has an "open marriage" and both continue with a series of "affairs".....she of course has conflicting emotions....but she too has affairs of her own.

One woman is in a monogamous long-term relationship with the same man....they're great friends & have a child together. Neither feel the need or desire to marry. Their sexual relationship isn't the hottest", but that's not why she's still with him.....she simply loves him & is happy with what they have.

Another (an author that I read often) learned that she doesn't have to be beholden to her family from India. It took her quite a bit of their visiting (of course at home we do it this way) and feeling that she had to go back to the old ways of India hospitality. She learned that she can drop them off for the day, let them go shopping, out for a tour and still do her work while they are out...as for dinner, she orders take-away or takes them out to eat.

Although, there was one woman I really wanted to slap silly.....she doesn't like being "mean mommy" and disciplining her kids when they misbehave & make her angry, because she's afraid of her anger..... Come on, the 3-4 yr old refused to go to sleep, was jumping on the bed w/ his sister. When "mommy" went in the room telling them to stop & go to bed, the kid threw his book at her head & hit her in her eye and laughed at her....and she screamed @ the kid and then he & his sister cried and she forgave him. That mother is an IDIOT...that child needed to be disciplined, Period. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. I think it explores quite well the often-repressed feelings of anger that many women have. However, I wish that there had been a bit more diversity in the voices presented. Although I don't know this for a fact, it certainly seems like the authors of the essays are all upper/middle-class, heterosexual, and white (I'm assuming the last race, but I don't think it's much of a stretch, given the complete lack of discussion of race or orientation). I was also quite frustrated by the attitudes of many of the authors - more than once I found myself saying "go to a therapist, you daft cow, and deal with your freaking mommy issues." Unsympathetic, I know. On the other hand, I definitely related quite strongly to some of the writers' experiences - like putting pressure on myself to have a clean house and being irritated that my partner doesn't have the same internal pressure. Which is stupid, because I can just ask for help and I get it.

That being said, there were four or five essays that stood out for me and provided really interesting conversation jumping-off points for me and my partner. I don't have the names right now, but they dealt with couples in a relationship living apart, why a couple would choose not to marry, non-monogamy (in theory and practice), and choosing to put your "crushes" on your partner, not on someone else.

The section of the book called "Mommy Maddest" made me turn to my partner and say "let's never have children. Seriously." ( )
  liz.mabry | Sep 11, 2013 |
this is a great essay collection (subtitle says it all). i especially like the pieces on motherhood. ( )
  julierh | Apr 7, 2013 |
Some essays spoke to me more than others, but overall I was entranced by these women and their stories. Their honest sharing of their lives and doubts, dreams, mistakes, choices felt like a gift. I would love to meet some of them and talk to them over coffee. ( )
  MelissaMcB | Aug 19, 2012 |
The unfortunate downside of the feminist movement is that there isn't enough time in a day to "have it all," which really, really frustrates and in some cases enrages the essayists in this book. However, the overarching theme seems to be a positive one. Sometimes, through the process of writing about it, these women seem to have come to terms with the prioritizing and compromise involved with being a wife, mother, and an employee (or choosing not to do any of those things). It's also comforting and enlightening to the reader to know that "you are not alone" and "we are all still trying to figure this out" as well as "this is what I've learned." I recommend this to everyone, particularly every woman. ( )
1 vote EmScape | Dec 6, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A hot new collection of essays (all of them interesting and one of them—by Ellen Gilchrist—exquisite).

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hanauer, CathiEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abraham, LaurieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angier, NatalieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bialosky, JillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chambers, VeronicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Divakaruni, ChitraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edelman, HopeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilchrist, EllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gornick, VivianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herlihy, KerryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Houston, PamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karbo, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kling, CynthiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kusz, NatalieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maduro, E. S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marshall, JenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McClay, HazelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Merkin, DaphneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newman, CatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pine, HannahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schappell, ElissaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schulman, HelenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Squire, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
van Ogtrop, KristinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wartik, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her—you may not know what I mean by The Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrficied herself daily. If there was a chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draft she sat in it—in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others.
—Virginia Wool, "Professions for Women," a paper presented to the Women's Service League
I am greedy. Puritans scold me for running breathlessly over life's table of contents and for wishing and longing for everything.
—Nina Cassian
For Dan, of course
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060936460, Paperback)

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

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A selection of women authors discuss their disillusionment with relationships with men and their role in society.

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