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Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not. With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on: • The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children • The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career • The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family • The myth of co-parenting • Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers • The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism • Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook • Anger at being criticized for one’s weight • Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong • And–well–more anger... “This book was born out of anger,” begins Cathi Hanauer, but the end result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. The Bitch in the House is a perfect companion for your students as they plot a course through the many voices of modern feminism. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today-in all their anger, grace, and glory.


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Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate Virginia Woolf introduced us to the “Angel in the House”, now prepare to meet... The Bitch In the House. Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not. With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on: • The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children • The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career • The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family • The myth of co-parenting • Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers • The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism • Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook • Anger at being criticized for one’s weight • Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong • And–well–more anger... “This book was born out of anger,” begins Cathi Hanauer, but the end result is an intimate sharing of experience that will move, amuse, and enlighten. The Bitch in the House is a perfect companion for your students as they plot a course through the many voices of modern feminism. This is the sound of the collective voice of successful women today-in all their anger, grace, and glory.

30 review for The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Guilmart

    Honestly, I found it hard to sympathize with the women who contributed essays to this book. Could I identify with them? Kind of... I am a college-educated, middle-class white woman who will no doubt struggle with issues of motherhood and career. I just wish the editors had reached out to women who weren't writers and/or who weren't all middle to upper class. I felt like I was reading the same stories over and over...which I understand is kind of the point: we professional women all have similar Honestly, I found it hard to sympathize with the women who contributed essays to this book. Could I identify with them? Kind of... I am a college-educated, middle-class white woman who will no doubt struggle with issues of motherhood and career. I just wish the editors had reached out to women who weren't writers and/or who weren't all middle to upper class. I felt like I was reading the same stories over and over...which I understand is kind of the point: we professional women all have similar struggles, yadda yadda. It's just that these women are so damn privileged! They make lots of money, hire nannies, live in New York City, get to write for a living. What about women who don't get to choose whether they work or stay home? I wonder how the writers would cope with their issues? Okay, the writers do have struggles: with feelings of guilt for not being there for their kids 24-7, or for feeling more peace and enjoyment at work than at home, or for craving a space independent of their spouse/partner/families. Again, all "problems" that come with privilege. Maybe they should look beyond their own situations and they'll find that they have it pretty darn good. One essay is enough; an entire book? Overkill.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    Seriously!?! There are people out there that liked this book. I just wanted to scream at these women to get over themselves and do something about their lives. If you are that unhappy, do something about it!!! I couldn't relate at all. Sure maybe when I was 19 and stupid I experienced some of the bad boyfriend situations or felt lost, but I got over that. Unless you want to be force-fed a bunch of poorly written stories about self-deprecating women, go ahead and read this. I'll go kiss my husban Seriously!?! There are people out there that liked this book. I just wanted to scream at these women to get over themselves and do something about their lives. If you are that unhappy, do something about it!!! I couldn't relate at all. Sure maybe when I was 19 and stupid I experienced some of the bad boyfriend situations or felt lost, but I got over that. Unless you want to be force-fed a bunch of poorly written stories about self-deprecating women, go ahead and read this. I'll go kiss my husband and remind myself that yes life could be bad, I could be one of them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Ugh. Unlike. I'll try to sum up why: 1) Every collection of stories from moms on the issue of working / not working is over-powered by the opinions of women who WRITE for a living. A job they don't have to do from an office. Where are the teachers? the attorneys? the saleswomen? the corporate workers? I get it, those moms don't write thoughtful essays on the "should I work or stay home" issue, writers write those. But I am so annoyed that publishers think this is a representative sample of workin Ugh. Unlike. I'll try to sum up why: 1) Every collection of stories from moms on the issue of working / not working is over-powered by the opinions of women who WRITE for a living. A job they don't have to do from an office. Where are the teachers? the attorneys? the saleswomen? the corporate workers? I get it, those moms don't write thoughtful essays on the "should I work or stay home" issue, writers write those. But I am so annoyed that publishers think this is a representative sample of working women. 2) The editor/writer of this one, Hanauer, needs to Get. Over. It. We choose our own happiness, people! If you are going to pile unrealistic expectations on yourself and your relationship, you will be unhappy, and perhaps, bitchy. And if you don't recognize you are unhappy/angry and try to fix it with self-reflection, therapy, better communication with spouse, you are just a whiner and I don't want to hear it. Don't blame society, lack of role models from our mothers, media, etc. Who cares! Buck up sister! Deal with your own house and your own relationships! 3) I had to put this down because it is in the toxic category of "fuel on the fire". As much as I believe my #2 above, I too, get angry at unfair roles. A book like this can get me on a rant and alienate me from my husband and kids. I'm better bitching for an hour and getting over it, rather than stewing in it with this book. 4) The first story, from the 26 year old author was pathetic. Boring to read and made me think - you are just getting started girl. You haven't earned the right to complain that life isn't what you expected. You aren't even 30. And that is what I've been telling David since i put this book down. I might try to read one more entry and see if I'm more impressed. I usually don't feel this strongly about things... but this one pushed some button!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A bit upper middle class problem-y.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    My generation of women is the first to be stuck on the middle of "traditional" feminine roles and the new roles advocated by the feminist movement. Identifying as a feminist myself, and finding myself less than fulfilled in several "traditional" aspects of my marriage and life as a stepmother, I found myself relating to so much of the essays in this book. Basically, our mom's were the last generation that were able to be at home and raise us. We learned, through observing them, that our fathers My generation of women is the first to be stuck on the middle of "traditional" feminine roles and the new roles advocated by the feminist movement. Identifying as a feminist myself, and finding myself less than fulfilled in several "traditional" aspects of my marriage and life as a stepmother, I found myself relating to so much of the essays in this book. Basically, our mom's were the last generation that were able to be at home and raise us. We learned, through observing them, that our fathers were to be obeyed, our fathers worked hard, and our mothers worked hard at home preparing three hot meals a day, doing laundry, and keeping a spotless house, and were often unfulfilled in doing this. We grew up, got our own careers, and married men that were more "enlightened" about gender roles than our fathers. We expected them not only to vocalize feminine ideals, but to also automatically revert to them in life. This of course leads to profound disappointment, as they were also raised by the last generation of "homemakers" and they are just as happy to let us handle all the domestic chores, as their mothers did. No WONDER we are all so angry, bitter, and feel disallusioned. It's not that our husbands won't pitch in if we ask them, but it's not their default setting. And instead of us being vocal and asking for what we need, we are still conditioned to "take over and just do it" because it's easier. Which of course leads to huge resentment, and tons of puzzled life-partners and husbands. This is a fascinating volume about what it means to be a woman in our generation - how we balance all of our roles together, how we negotiate the motherly instincts that some of us have with our careers, why do we feel so ANGRY and resentful? I have found myself in this trap many times, and it was comforting to read some of these missives that I myself could have penned. A few of these essays were just depressing - but the overall message is that we as women are able to forge our lives in the manner that we see fit - which is a luxury many of our mothers and grandmother's didn't have. And for that, they deserve our thanks. This one is going on the bookshelf to stay.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    Why is it that, when we come home at the end of a long day at work and our partner offers to cook dinner, we refuse and then stomp around the kitchen resentfully whipping up a fancy meal? Why do we get angrier and angrier as we wait for our partner to notice the pile of unwashed dishes instead of just asking him to help out? Where does this "irrational" behavior come from, and how do we deal with the problem of having it all--career, marriage, children--when having it all becomes too much? A lot Why is it that, when we come home at the end of a long day at work and our partner offers to cook dinner, we refuse and then stomp around the kitchen resentfully whipping up a fancy meal? Why do we get angrier and angrier as we wait for our partner to notice the pile of unwashed dishes instead of just asking him to help out? Where does this "irrational" behavior come from, and how do we deal with the problem of having it all--career, marriage, children--when having it all becomes too much? A lot of these essays really made a lot of sense to me. I could have written an essay just like this. I especially liked: - E.S. Maduro's "Excuse Me While I Explode" - Kate Christiansen's "Killing the Puritan Within" - Jill Bialosky's "How We Became Strangers" - Helen Schulman's "My Mother's Ring" - Kristin van Ogtrop's "Attila the Honey I'm Home" - Elissa Schappell's "Crossing the Line in the Sand" These essays spoke to me the most because, first of all, the authors' voices sounded most like me, and because the events they're describing are things I either recently went through or am soon to go through (marriage, children): it was like a Preview of Coming Events in the sense that I could totally see myself being as angry and stressed as these women write about being. They're kind of terrifying essays in that way. But these women also write about joy, and about trying to work through the anger to appreciate the wonderful things in their lives and how lucky they are. I also liked Vivian Gornick's piece on independence, which closes the book. Gornick, as an older and unmarried woman, reflects back on the life she's lived and the choices she's made. Here's a passage that particularly touched me: I am, simply, a person living a life partly that I chose and partly that chose me, a life that, though filled with friends and family and colleagues, is primarily one of solitude, one lived autonomously. And though this is far from ideal at all times--and though some days loneliness plagues me--for the most part, this is a life, my life, that I have come to embrace and appreciate. For how impossible it would have been to live it only fifty years ago! And what a privilege it has been to live it now. Overall, I highly recommend this book to all the smart women in my life, and I am also making F read the essays mentioned above.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy D.

    When you read a book of compiled essays, it's natural to connect with some more than others. The Bitch in the House is no exception, but worthy of a read and discussion? Absolutely. Being only a female of my early twenties, I have yet to experience much of this book's content, such as marriage and childbirth. I will say, however, as a feminist of a younger generation, this book really did touch upon rapidly growing concerns of mine, such as gender and domestic roles. A few of the essays (most not When you read a book of compiled essays, it's natural to connect with some more than others. The Bitch in the House is no exception, but worthy of a read and discussion? Absolutely. Being only a female of my early twenties, I have yet to experience much of this book's content, such as marriage and childbirth. I will say, however, as a feminist of a younger generation, this book really did touch upon rapidly growing concerns of mine, such as gender and domestic roles. A few of the essays (most notably, the first by E.S. Maduro) really spoke to me, while others were, to be honest, a bit dull and uninspiring. But with 26 contributors who are surely quite different from one another (and, well, me!), you can't realistically expect to be enthralled by every single story. I read at least one fellow Good Reads reviewer that said they were bothered by the fact that all of these women shared an occupation as some sort of literary professional. This didn't bother me, personally. Every one of them were completely passionate about the lives they lead outside of their romantic relationships or general domesticity. For them it is writing, but that could easily be replaced for us other women as something else. The point is, it is a difficult task to balance the two for many of us modern women, and I felt connected with them for that very reason, writer or not.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karyl

    I just couldn't do it anymore. I got halfway through this book and had to quit -- and I never quit books. I felt like most of these women are rather narcissistic and self-absorbed, and because they had to deal with someone else taking up space in their lives, they felt resentful. My marriage is by no means perfect (we just celebrated nine years this past week, though I'm surprised we've made it this long), but I realize that the only person that can make me happy is me. I married my husband, I c I just couldn't do it anymore. I got halfway through this book and had to quit -- and I never quit books. I felt like most of these women are rather narcissistic and self-absorbed, and because they had to deal with someone else taking up space in their lives, they felt resentful. My marriage is by no means perfect (we just celebrated nine years this past week, though I'm surprised we've made it this long), but I realize that the only person that can make me happy is me. I married my husband, I chose him -- the good and the bad. I didn't feel like I gave up any of myself to marry my husband; instead our two half-selves came together into a better whole. Maybe that's because I was married at 22, a relatively young age, and I was too young to know better. But I believe I am better off being part of my marriage than being alone. That said, marriage isn't for everyone, and I would never expect anyone to get married just because everyone else is. It's a personal choice, and I would never judge someone for choosing a different lifestyle from my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stasia

    I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars, right in the middle. There were certainly some though-provoking essays in it, essays that I might give to other people to read if I'd come across them on their own. However, the book in its entirety is a little hard to handle. First of all, even though it's 26 different women, they all start to blur together. Mostly because the majority of them seem to be writers/editors/teachers who live in New York, do lots of yoga, have a fair amount of money, and, odd I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars, right in the middle. There were certainly some though-provoking essays in it, essays that I might give to other people to read if I'd come across them on their own. However, the book in its entirety is a little hard to handle. First of all, even though it's 26 different women, they all start to blur together. Mostly because the majority of them seem to be writers/editors/teachers who live in New York, do lots of yoga, have a fair amount of money, and, oddly enough, live in "brownstone" houses. It's crazy how many essays mentioned brownstones, a term I'd heard maybe once before in my life. But the biggest thing was that I was hoping for some sort of empowering look at what it means to be a woman in the world today, but it mostly ended up feeling like, yes, a bitchfest. Complaining about very first-world problems abounds. And it was very alienating for me: Hanauer (the editor) presented these essays like they're things that every woman goes through at some point, making me feel like because I'm not constantly upset about balancing children, housework, career, because I don't spend most of my time obsessing about why I am or am not happy in a relationship, I must not be a woman. So yeah. Some of it was good, and it's a quick and sometimes entertaining read, but best taken in small doses.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    My biggest problem with this collection was that it seemed to me that I was reading the same story over and over again. I'd say about 90% of the contributors are upper-middle class, middle aged white women who are writers, live in New York City and do yoga. It also seemed to me that none of them really offered any advice or in some cases, a coherent story line. I got the feeling that a lot of them contributed just to get something off of their chests, no necessarily to offer help to any other wo My biggest problem with this collection was that it seemed to me that I was reading the same story over and over again. I'd say about 90% of the contributors are upper-middle class, middle aged white women who are writers, live in New York City and do yoga. It also seemed to me that none of them really offered any advice or in some cases, a coherent story line. I got the feeling that a lot of them contributed just to get something off of their chests, no necessarily to offer help to any other women. I think I just expected too much from the book -- maybe that's all it was ever meant to be. There were some gems in here - "The Fat Lady Sings" and "The Middle Way", to name a few - which is why it grudingly gets 2 stars. But for the most part, I didn't come away with a whole lot from this collection.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dana Clinton

    In spite of the (I think) rather unfortunate title and ugly image on the cover of The Bitch in the House (a series of essays by 26 women, edited by Cathi Hannauer), this was an interesting read, with some excellent essays and some less good. I think women should in fact hear what other women have to say about their various experiences navigating the world, for some struggles are indeed unique to them; in fact, it would do men good to read them as well! There is a wide range of thoughts here abou In spite of the (I think) rather unfortunate title and ugly image on the cover of The Bitch in the House (a series of essays by 26 women, edited by Cathi Hannauer), this was an interesting read, with some excellent essays and some less good. I think women should in fact hear what other women have to say about their various experiences navigating the world, for some struggles are indeed unique to them; in fact, it would do men good to read them as well! There is a wide range of thoughts here about, as the subtitle says "sex, solitude, work, motherhood and marriage", with something each one of us could identify with. My favorite came towards the end, with "What Independence Has Come to Mean to Me"... I don't think I "chose" to be alone, life doesn't come pre-planned, but I do know that it has come about as much because of my own personal realities as due to the societal fabric around me during my lifetime. Vivian Gornick says this: "What I didn't understand was that the kind of independence I am talking about is not a thing one demands or pleads for but a thing one earns; not a gift granted but a condition pulled out of one's own reluctant self; not a passive but an active state of being. As Chekov said, 'Others made me a slave, but I must squeeze the slave out of myself, drop by drop.' ...You work hard to acquire self-knowledge so that you may look directly at the cards that life has dealt you, and learn to play them rather than regret them, thereby giving yourself the greatest single strength a human being can possess: knowing what you can live with and what you can't live with -- and why. That...is independence." Is that the true subject of Walden?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angie Lussier

    Absolutely wonderful! Must read for tired, overworked moms and wives! Hilarious, easy, true, real life

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book since the reviews are all over the place. I went in with an open mind, and I'm so glad I did. I loved the stories, and I actually want more. Each of the women shared their story - whatever story that happened to be. They opened themselves up for judgment and share very uncomfortable truths from their lives. Although I do agree with other reviewers that it would be better to have a more diverse set of authors for the essays, I was still able to identify I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book since the reviews are all over the place. I went in with an open mind, and I'm so glad I did. I loved the stories, and I actually want more. Each of the women shared their story - whatever story that happened to be. They opened themselves up for judgment and share very uncomfortable truths from their lives. Although I do agree with other reviewers that it would be better to have a more diverse set of authors for the essays, I was still able to identify with something from everyone's essay. There is something universal about the things these women wrote that I felt was powerful and touching. I didn't see the stories as whiny or bitchy at all. They were personal stories and feelings, and I think there is a lot of overlap in how women are made to feel about our choices. Why those hardships are perceived as whiny, I'm not entirely sure - I just viewed it as the stories for each of those women. Speaking of which, an unexpected finding of this book was the relief I felt in my own choice to be childfree. The trials and tribulations of motherhood became clear in ways that most other writers won't discuss (probably because they'd be accused of being bitchy). I appreciated this open honest viewing of life with kids, and it just solidified for me that I made the right choice. I don't think for a second that everyone will walk away from the book with this feeling. In fact, I would expect that some women will want a child even more. But, that's the beauty of a personal story - everyone can take from it what they want or need. There is no one truth to fit us all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    quinnster

    Right off the bat I realized my mistake. I picked the audiobook (because it was available right away) instead of the actual book. There are just some people who are not cut out to read out loud and this book had a lot of them. Some were so bad even my husband who only heard a couple of minutes of one essay said 'What are you listening to? That is the worst thing I've ever heard!' because it was. I wanted to scream. It didn't help that I couldn't relate to these women. These working women. These Right off the bat I realized my mistake. I picked the audiobook (because it was available right away) instead of the actual book. There are just some people who are not cut out to read out loud and this book had a lot of them. Some were so bad even my husband who only heard a couple of minutes of one essay said 'What are you listening to? That is the worst thing I've ever heard!' because it was. I wanted to scream. It didn't help that I couldn't relate to these women. These working women. These working women with flexible schedules. I didn't understand this anger towards their husband. This fighting and rage. My husband and I bicker, of course, but to fight? To be angry and resentful towards him? I don't have that and these women do. I felt guilty for thinking of them as whiny, but all I thought about when I was listening to them reading was 'oh my god the whining.' Which I suppose is something I should feel guilty about, the unsupportiveness of those of my gender who 'want it all', but these women don't 'want it all'. They want perfection and they want it their way, without sacrifice or compromise. They want it all, but they want someone to give it to them. Sure they want to work for their reputations in their chosen careers, but everything else, they want those people to just give it to them and that's just annoying. There were a couple of essays that I did enjoy, hence the 2 stars instead of just one, but pressed at this moment I couldn't tell you what those ones were about or why I liked them and that kind of says something too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    K

    I particularly resonated with the essay subtitled "Staying Bad. Staying Married" and "My Marriage. My Affairs." They seem to resonate with a soulful understanding of life that acknowledges that "clear communication" and so-called "healthy" workshoppy skills are not the key to a satisfying relationship. They're good to have, but we all crave artful chaos uncertainty and mystery, maybe more than we crave openness and "I statements." Oh and that suffering is both a natural and unavoidable part of l I particularly resonated with the essay subtitled "Staying Bad. Staying Married" and "My Marriage. My Affairs." They seem to resonate with a soulful understanding of life that acknowledges that "clear communication" and so-called "healthy" workshoppy skills are not the key to a satisfying relationship. They're good to have, but we all crave artful chaos uncertainty and mystery, maybe more than we crave openness and "I statements." Oh and that suffering is both a natural and unavoidable part of life. At the same time they are deeply loving essays- the women who wrote them are full of hard-fought love for themselves and vast, abiding, and intensely supportive and freely-given love for their partners. The crazy dark mysterious glorious landscape of love requires honoring energies and narratives that are ancient and closer to poetry and witchcraft than they are to a self-help book. I am grateful these women wrote these things and offered me some insight into some what it might look like to have that kind of love in a long-term relationship. The book in general reminded me to be grateful for all the ways I've loved and been loved and for what a pleasure it is to be as free I have chosen to be, and not to close my heart or judge myself based on a too-narrow definition of what a woman is supposed to want or how a woman is supposed to be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna

    I realize that my life (adjusted easily into marriage, had two even-tempered children, was happy to be a SAHM, etc.) wouldn't fit very well into this particular book of essays, but I couldn't help looking askance at some of the women represented in there. There were some interesting insights, but some of these women just seemed to make life harder for themselves than they needed to. Again, it may be that this book was by and for different people than the person that I am. Almost all of them were I realize that my life (adjusted easily into marriage, had two even-tempered children, was happy to be a SAHM, etc.) wouldn't fit very well into this particular book of essays, but I couldn't help looking askance at some of the women represented in there. There were some interesting insights, but some of these women just seemed to make life harder for themselves than they needed to. Again, it may be that this book was by and for different people than the person that I am. Almost all of them were professional writers and/or editors, and a large majority were in therapy for multiple years, neither of which I have any experience with. There were a few essays where I found myself muttering, "Oh, get over yourself already!" The essays were quite readable, some were very touching, and I would be interested in discussing the book with someone for whom it was more personally meaningful.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Cathi Hanauer found herself angry all the time: about her job, her children, her husband. She had a great life, on paper, so she wondered where all this anger was coming from and how to deal with it. She wondered if other women felt this way. This book is the result. Filled with essays from over 20 different women from different walks of life and the choices they made, The Bitch in the House is as absorbing, amusing and sobering as the subjects it addresses. The voices of the different women ring Cathi Hanauer found herself angry all the time: about her job, her children, her husband. She had a great life, on paper, so she wondered where all this anger was coming from and how to deal with it. She wondered if other women felt this way. This book is the result. Filled with essays from over 20 different women from different walks of life and the choices they made, The Bitch in the House is as absorbing, amusing and sobering as the subjects it addresses. The voices of the different women ring out passionately from the open page, each one detailing the options she chose and why she felt justified in doing so. Women have come a long way since fighting to gain the vote but this book shows the struggle isn’t over yet. However, great strides have been made and each woman essayist comes off as a silent victor in the battle that was her right to express (or suppress) anger and love.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is an engrossing collection of 26 accomplished women's meditations on the conundrum that is life as a professional woman/mother/wife in contemporary America. I loved that each story was its own window into an entirely personal and unique struggle that at the same time is inherently universal. Though several of the authors fall into the same work/family category, the fact that each offered a fresh take on the central issues of equality and personal fulfillment speaks to the plurality of wome This is an engrossing collection of 26 accomplished women's meditations on the conundrum that is life as a professional woman/mother/wife in contemporary America. I loved that each story was its own window into an entirely personal and unique struggle that at the same time is inherently universal. Though several of the authors fall into the same work/family category, the fact that each offered a fresh take on the central issues of equality and personal fulfillment speaks to the plurality of women's experiences as they are shaped by each woman's own upbringing, personality, and desires. The essays compiled here avoid prescriptiveness, thank god--I found them enlightening (even comforting) rather than preachy, and all were well-written and engaging. I plan to add this book to my collection for future re-reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    The good: More women need to read more things like this. It's good to find that there are essays exploring the issues that keep us up at night, and it's good to know we're not the (only) crazy ones. The bad: More women need to seek out actual therapy and counseling, or take other empowering steps, to change their lives for the better. Reading an essay about how life is hard doesn't make life any easier! Stop bitching and start treating yourself like to deserve to live well. The ugly: I got this o The good: More women need to read more things like this. It's good to find that there are essays exploring the issues that keep us up at night, and it's good to know we're not the (only) crazy ones. The bad: More women need to seek out actual therapy and counseling, or take other empowering steps, to change their lives for the better. Reading an essay about how life is hard doesn't make life any easier! Stop bitching and start treating yourself like to deserve to live well. The ugly: I got this on loan, and gave my copy of A Memory a Monologue a Rant and a Prayer in exchange. I'll probably never see my book again, and it was vastly superior to this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    The title is based on the Virginia Woolf essay about "the angel in the house" a tongue in cheek reference to the perfect woman who pretty much makes other people's lives go smoothly. The essays contain essays about being a woman, relationships, sex, having children...that are far more honest than most I've read. I'm really enjoying this. Hanauer's husband, also a writer, followed up with a companion book The Bastard on the Couch. The only problem is the titles...I brought this book to the pool.. The title is based on the Virginia Woolf essay about "the angel in the house" a tongue in cheek reference to the perfect woman who pretty much makes other people's lives go smoothly. The essays contain essays about being a woman, relationships, sex, having children...that are far more honest than most I've read. I'm really enjoying this. Hanauer's husband, also a writer, followed up with a companion book The Bastard on the Couch. The only problem is the titles...I brought this book to the pool...which is located on the school grounds...where I teach. Felt I needed to hide the cover. No children asked what I was reading. Hmm...what would I have said if they had? Will bring another book to the pool tomorrow.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Wright

    Love! I'm surprised that some of the reviewers found it hard to sympathize with these women. These essays echo the voices of most of my professional friends. How can I balance my career and family goals? Where does drive become selfishness? Why, in this era of shared parenting, does it still seem that I'm the only family member who can locate the batteries? And why the hell am I the only one struggling with guilt each time I have a late work meeting or out of town trip? Great, thought-provoking Love! I'm surprised that some of the reviewers found it hard to sympathize with these women. These essays echo the voices of most of my professional friends. How can I balance my career and family goals? Where does drive become selfishness? Why, in this era of shared parenting, does it still seem that I'm the only family member who can locate the batteries? And why the hell am I the only one struggling with guilt each time I have a late work meeting or out of town trip? Great, thought-provoking reflections on modern day womanhood.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    I am not even half-way finished with this book but, so far, it is wonderful! It provides accounts from the lives of a diverse group of women - the single, the married, the divorced, the "willingly other woman" type, the maternal, the childless, the heterosexual, the bisexual, the young, the wise. Very insightful. I was able to identify with a few of the women, whether their feelings are those that I am feeling now or those that I felt in the past.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    For anyone who enjoys fabulous female authors, short essays, and the truth about what it is like to be a woman...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    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 qu 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."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    Some essays are better than others, but all are revealing, touching, and resonating, this is a great book to come for any woman in her life. The essays don't offer solutions, but they offer peace in understanding where her emotions, passions, frustrations might be coming from. If you read only a few, choose: If you have a boyfriend or husband... "Excuse Me While I Explode" by ES Maduro If your work personality is totally different from your home personality.. "Attila the Honey I'm Home" by Kristi Some essays are better than others, but all are revealing, touching, and resonating, this is a great book to come for any woman in her life. The essays don't offer solutions, but they offer peace in understanding where her emotions, passions, frustrations might be coming from. If you read only a few, choose: If you have a boyfriend or husband... "Excuse Me While I Explode" by ES Maduro If your work personality is totally different from your home personality.. "Attila the Honey I'm Home" by Kristin van Ogtrop If you are thinking about having kids... "The Myth of Co-Parenting" by Hope Edelman If you have kids (or spend a lot of time with kids) "Crossing the Line in the Sand" by Elissa Schapell Or any of the last 4 essays, if you are not sure that boyfriend, husband, children, and/or any other kind of family are right for you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Personally, I really liked the essays in this book. Yes, some of them were not to my taste, but for the most part, I felt like I identified with some part of all of them. Then again, I'm in that space right now, trying to figure out what it means to me to be a wife, and what it will mean to me to be a mother. It's probably not something most men would find interesting, it's definitely gender specific. It helped me feel less... alone... reading other women working through some of the same issues Personally, I really liked the essays in this book. Yes, some of them were not to my taste, but for the most part, I felt like I identified with some part of all of them. Then again, I'm in that space right now, trying to figure out what it means to me to be a wife, and what it will mean to me to be a mother. It's probably not something most men would find interesting, it's definitely gender specific. It helped me feel less... alone... reading other women working through some of the same issues I currently am. It helped me to hear someone else insist that marriage and babies are not always straight out of a fairy tale. Sometimes, it sucks and you're angry and the world will not end if you're a "bitch."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cecelia

    Some of the essays seemed out of place, like the essay towards the end about the woman who is struggling with her weight. But, overall, I found it to be interesting. It is a collection of essays written by women about their relationships and motherhood. The authors shatter the myths of white picket fences, two well-adjusted kids, a home in the suburbs, six-figure salaries, homemade cookies, and stress-free living. They are honest (sometimes brutally so) about their situations and private thought Some of the essays seemed out of place, like the essay towards the end about the woman who is struggling with her weight. But, overall, I found it to be interesting. It is a collection of essays written by women about their relationships and motherhood. The authors shatter the myths of white picket fences, two well-adjusted kids, a home in the suburbs, six-figure salaries, homemade cookies, and stress-free living. They are honest (sometimes brutally so) about their situations and private thoughts. As a whole, the book debunks the "super woman" myth. The writers don't necessarily try to provide solutions to their readers. But, they tell their readers that it is okay to be overwhelmed, to struggle, to be sad, to be worried, to chart your own path, and to breakaway from what society expects.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Despite the fact that this was written 15 years ago, everything in these essays still rings true. It was interesting to read about different lifestyles than mine. My choices were pretty generic compared to most of these authors. I was intrigued at so many women who chose to have children late in their thirties 15 years ago. Now, it seems ladies are doing that more and more. Overall, I really enjoyed their points of view and look forward to the next book, The Bitch is Back.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is well-worn territory at this point... but that might not be so true if this collection hadn't been published to some fanfare back in the day. Uneven, but worth the price of admission for Elissa Schappell's simple and incredibly brave reckoning of her own maternal anger.

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