Michelle Robinson's Reviews > How to Be an American Housewife

How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
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I so enjoyed reading this book. I was excited when it initially arrived. The premise was pretty novel to me, when you have been reading for a number of years it is hard to find a topic that feel new. How to e an American Housewife delivers.

Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American in the Navy at the end of World War Two tells us her story in such an interesting fashion. I don't know anything about Japanese culture so, I cannot say how truly authentic this book would feel for someone of that descent. However, as a mother, her feeling of not really communicating what she really means to her daughter. The frustration of feeling never truly being understood by the one tha matters most to you certainly rang true.

We also get to hear from Sue, Shoko's daughter, as part of the book is told from her perspective. She was interesting charachter that was fully fleshed out for me. I was interested in her life and what choices she would make.

There were times that I cried a little while reading this book. I felt sorry for Shoko at times, however she never seemed to indulge in any self pitty and only seemed to try to move on in life as best she could.

There is another child, Mike, he is very much a mystery for me. We don't get to know him or Charlie well.

Each chapter of the book is introduced with a quote from an old military guidebook for Japanese wives of American soldiers, the book is entitled, How to Be An American WIfe, this odd little book helped formulate the way SHoko realted to American life and how she behaved as an American wife here. It was interesting to see Sue use this book on the trip she makes.

I don't want to put any real spoilers in this review. FOrgive me if I did.
I will say, this is the best book I have read this year, and I have read quite a few. A number of those were pretty good.

I will not get rid of this book. It is worth keeping and reading again and again.

Shoko is my favorite heroine in a number of years.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Lennie (new) - added it

Lennie This is a well written review and now I want to read the book!


Julie Limbaugh I agree with you - this is not normally the type of book I would have read, I tend to stick to the same genre of fiction. Something about this book just drew me to it when I saw it on the shelf. I am so glad I bought it. Shoko is a very strong woman, and even helping with Taro's education, she never really complained...and she kept that same attitude throughout her life. I am not a mother, but I HAVE a mother : ) and this book really captured that struggle between mothers and daughters. It was an interesting twist to read both "sides". I don't think we really even needed Mike - except to illustrate how accepting Charlie is. The only thing that I had a hard time swallowing was that Taro would react the way he did in the end, especially knowing how strongly he felt. Still, I could not put this book down once they were in Japan - I had to finish it, and spent nearly an entire Saturday in bed finishing it!


Alexandra i loved shoko also. what an adorable lady <3
i didn't care for mike however. he acted too young for his age.
but i couldn't hate him because he wasn't a bad character or anything. just an underachiever.


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