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How To Be An American Housewife by Margaret…
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How To Be An American Housewife

by Margaret Dilloway

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5646025,496 (3.72)38

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Could have been better, I really only liked the last part. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
3.5 I really really enjoyed this book. I loved the story of the mother and daughter relationship and how they each felt the other was always disappointed in them. It flowed well even with the chapters sometimes changing between characters. ( )
  dawnlopez29 | Feb 21, 2018 |
A pleasant read that had a trite ending. I felt like having a chance of pace book after reading 'Going Clear' and this seemed like right on the money. Shoko is a Japanese woman who left Japan after marrying her American GI. This might not seem like a big deal, but this was not too long after World War II, and this meant a severing of her relationship to her brother.
 
Now Shoko is older and ill and wants to make amends for what happened. This is the story of her, her daughter, and a family.
 
I had this book for quite a while but never got around to reading it. It started off well, with the story of Shoko from her childhood to WWII to her marriage to Charlie, the medic and adjusting to life in Southern California. Her section ends with her preparing to undergo some surgery and it switches over the viewpoint of her daughter, Sue. It is up to Sue to find Shoko's brother Taro and make amends on behalf of her mother. Sue and daughter Helena travel Japan and try to find Sue's mother's family.
 
Honestly, I got a little bored after awhile. The writing is pleasant and it flowed, but I noted the book was classified as chick-lit and for good reason. There are some twists and turns but it all ends relatively well, with perhaps just a hint of romance for Sue towards the end.
 
As other reviews say, there is little to no depth. A child not belonging to the man who assumes he is the father is readily accepted to the family. There is a troublesome older son but that story thread doesn't pan out. The fact that Sue and Helena are mixed seems to generate little comment or stares in Japan (as I understand that foreigners may be subject to stares, having their photos taken without their consent and more).
 
It was interesting to read that Dilloway seemed to pull much of the story from her own background: her mother is Japanese and seems to be the model for Shoko. But sadly there isn't more to the characters and the story.
 
Still, it was a pleasant read for a few hours and I might check out her other works. I got this as a bargain and that sounds about right. Library is also a good option. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Interesting set-up of now — every chapter started w/ quote from old manual supposedly given to Jap wives
Everything for sons — siblings didn't know bond — always sorrry
learn Eng only — not confused w/ 2 languages
Pg 130
* cremation not burial purifies the spirit prepares for afterlife
Pg 231 — too old + too tired to keep up pretenses
P. 232 — if there is more — not my story to tell
Nagasaki Peace Park — Enlarged Heart — Radiation
20th c California
WWII aftermath — occupied Japan
P. 168 Learn only Eng. — not confuse 2 languages

How to Be an American Housewife is a novel about mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition. It tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn't been what she'd expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways. Offering an entertaining glimpse into American and Japanese family lives and their potent aspirations, this is a warm and engaging novel full of unexpected insight
  christinejoseph | Aug 1, 2017 |
a quick read, too easily wrapped up at the end. Shoko has been in this country what, 50 years and she still talks like a bad Japanese dubbed movie? not sure if I buy it. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
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Epigraph
"Once you leave Japan, it is extremely likely that you will return, unless your husband is stationed there again or becomes wealthy. Take a few reminders of Japan with you, if you have room. Or make arrangements to write to a caring relative who is willing to send you letters or items from your homeland. This can ease homesickness. And be sure to tell your family, 'Sayonara.'"
-- Tamiko Kelly and Jun Tanaka, How To Be An American Housewife (1955); from the chapter "Turning American"
Dedication
For my mother, Suiko O'Brien, 1932-1994.
First words
I had always been a disobedient girl.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399156372, Hardcover)

A lively and surprising novel about a Japanese woman with a closely guarded secret, the American daughter who strives to live up to her mother's standards, and the rejuvenating power of forgiveness.

How to Be an American Housewife is a novel about mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition. It tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn't been what she'd expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways. Offering an entertaining glimpse into American and Japanese family lives and their potent aspirations, this is a warm and engaging novel full of unexpected insight.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn't been what she'd expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways.… (more)

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