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Diary of a Mad Housewife: A Novel by Sue…
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Diary of a Mad Housewife: A Novel (1967)

by Sue Kaufman

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2891455,372 (3.66)16
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book seems a little dated now, but I still like the descriptions of Jonathan Balser's excesses as he tries to become one of the "Beautiful People". Tina, his wife, sees clearly that these new & unwelcome friends think Jonathan is Not Our Kind, Dear but good enough to sponge off. Tina's situation was one of the great arguments for the feminist movement: "Without a checking account, without a penny of my own..." - she can't even pay for her own abortion should she need one after her affair with George. She has to wait for Jonathan to pay the household bills, while he procrastinates to the point where the neighbourhood stores won't let her charge things anymore. Tina's ultimate decision is that she loves her life (with some much-needed improvements), but she doesn't want to be a career woman and she wants to stay home and raise her own children - "Tabitha-Twitchit-Danvers-me". A very fun capture of a moment in time in 1960s New York. ( )
  booksandscones | Jul 19, 2016 |
  lauraparigi | Oct 15, 2014 |
Diary of a Mad Housewife is predictable and yet - not. Bettina Balser is a middle-class housewife and mother in New York City. She has two daughters, ages seven and nine and an up and coming lawyer for a husband. She thinks she is slowly going out of her mind until her husband plays it big in the stock market and moves up in his law firm. By all standards they are now rich. Suddenly, Bettina's mental stability goes from questionable to outright mad. She thinks she has every phobia in the book. As the Balser family status changes life unravels even more for Bettina. Her husband Jonathan's demands for only the finest everything has Bettina running around like his personal assistant, even in the bedroom. The only way Bettina can sort through her emotions, resentments and increasing mania is to start a journal. This diary is her release, the outpouring of everything.
In the end, and the end is somewhat predictable, Bettina comes to understand that every stability (mental health included) comes at a price and everyone is paying at some level. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 22, 2013 |
I can see why this was considered a contriversial feminist novel in its time. A lot of truth in the storyline that still holds together today though it pulls back on the ending dissapointingly. ( )
  shelleyraec | May 9, 2011 |
Have to disagree with the previous review in terms of the book portraying depression. Although the clinical aspects of depression may be reflected in the story, I believe that the emphasis is actually on the fact that the protagonist wasn't depressed at all, but rather supressed or oppressed (lots of pressing anyway!) by her husband, class expectations and so on. The prose is marvellous, the descriptions vivid and a window on upper class New York "Society" with a capital "S". Tina, the protagonist, is an example of what Betty Friedan termed women with a "problem that has no name" ( )
  TurtleCreekBooks | Dec 10, 2010 |
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It is nine-fifteen on this hot September morn, hotter than any summer day we had.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394421698, Hardcover)

Made into a major motion picture that garnered an Oscar nomination, Diary of a Mad Housewife is a classic of women’s fiction that gave a wry voice to the nascent feminist stirrings of the 1960s and helped incite a revolution in the consciousness of a generation. After many years, this best-selling novel of Manhattan ennui is finally back in print.

When Bettina Balser begins to suspect that she is going mad, she starts a secret diary as a form of therapy and escape. Her fears pour onto the page: “Elevators, subways, bridges, tunnels, high places, low places, tightly enclosed spaces, boats, cars, planes, trains, crowds....” Through her observations of herself and those around her, Bettina seeks meaning in her exceedingly dreary life. Her frank examinations lead to many changes, including an extramarital fling, and her voice touches a timeless nerve, resonating on many levels— from the ever-evolving feminist consciousness to the gnawing existential search that is universal.

Diary of a Mad Housewife’s humor and insight are as alive and pertinent today as they were yesterday, and will charm and disarm men and women of any generation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A satirical comedy about a bored homemaker and her egotistical husband. Tina records in her diary the conditions of her everyday life as a housewife in New York City, with her nagging, climber of a husband Jonathan, and her two girls, aged nine and seven, who so completely take after him that Tina hardly recognises them as her own. As a form of therapy, Tina begins a secret diary. The self-awareness she gains propels her into a new set of experiences, most notably, an extra-marital affair. She discovers that this man is as hateful as her husband, but she has good sex for the first time since her early married days, and it gets her out of the house one afternoon a week.… (more)

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