How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

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Synopsis

A mother-daughter story about the strong pull of tradition, and the lure and cost of breaking free of it.

When Shoko decided to marry an American GI and leave Japan, she had her parents' blessing, her brother's scorn, and a gift from her husband-a book on how to be a proper American housewife.

As she crossed the ocean to America, Shoko also brought with her a secret she would need to keep her entire life...

Half a century later, Shoko's plans to finally return to Japan and reconcile with her brother are derailed by illness. In her place, she sends her grown American daughter, Sue, a divorced single mother whose own life isn't what she hoped for. As Sue takes in Japan, with all its beauty and contradictions, she discovers another side to her mother and returns to America unexpectedly changed and irrevocably touched.


 

About Margaret Dilloway

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MARGARET DILLOWAY was inspired by her Japanese mother's experiences when she wrote this novel, and especially by a book her father had given to her mother called The American Way of Housekeeping. She lives in Hawaii with her husband and their three young children.
 
Published July 23, 2010 by Berkley. 286 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How to Be an American Housewife

Kirkus Reviews

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At the end of the war, 18-year-old Shoko had to go to work so her younger brother Taro could finish school, even though she was the better student.

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Publishers Weekly

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In this enchanting first novel, Dilloway mines her own family's history to produce the story of Japanese war bride Shoko, her American daughter, Sue, and their challenging relationship.

Jun 21 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Be an American Housewife

New York Journal of Books

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Her transformation is assisted by a guidebook, printed in Japanese and English, labeled How to Be an American Housewife.The character of Shoko is based on the life of the author’s mother, Suiko O’Brien, who told Dilloway that, “her life would make a great book.” It does, and Suiko relied on a boo...

Aug 05 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Be an American Housewife

Book Reporter

When Shoko arrives in California on the arm of her GI husband, Charlie, she is determined to assimilate into American life.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Be an American Housewife

Pajiba

[Please note that mswas wrote this review in mid-January—TU.] “I had always been a disobedient girl.” Thus opens How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway, a wonderful read that I didn’t want to end.

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Shelf Awareness

"It is a fantasy to think that you can sit behind a counter and read until a customer comes up to pay for a book.

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TLC Book Tours

Laura and the Biloxi Page Turners won The Santa Claus Man by Alex Palmer, Sandy and The Book Bags won The Last Dreamer by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Helen and The Girls won Wyoming Rugged by Diana Palmer, Michelle and the Midwest Goddesses Book Club won Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hide, and An...

Mar 30 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Be an American Housewife

Reader Rating for How to Be an American Housewife
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