Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Be an American Housewife - Margaret Dilloway - Review & Giveaway

How to be an American Housewife is the debut novel of author Margaret Dilloway.

We meet Shoko and her American husband Charlie in their retirement years. Shoko is Japanese born, but married Charlie at the end of the war.  She survived the bombing of Nagasaki, but her heart has been affected. As her future is not certain, she decides it is time to deal with the past at last. In the first part of the book, through flashbacks and memories, we learn of Shoko's childhood, her dreams, her secrets and what reality, her parents and society dictated she must do.

She is estranged from her brother Taro, having neither seen nor spoken to him
for the 50 years she has lived in the States. Unable to make the trip, she asks her daughter Sue to make the trip for her. Sue agrees and takes along her teenage daughter Helena. Their trip is the focus of the second part of the book.

Every chapter in the book is prefaced by an excerpt from a fictional book called 'How to Be an American Housewife'. Some of the excerpts are downright funny, but some are heartbreaking. An early one reads -
"When you marry and integrate with Americans, it is only natural not to have friends. Most American women will dislike you. Perhaps looking for other Japanese women will be possible, but probably not. Expect to be alone much of the time. Children help relieve this melancholy."
Shoko's life in America is very much different  - the food, the language, the customs and so much more. With political sentiment running high, she is never really accepted. Shoko stays true to herself though, coming up with some truly memorable lines...

"I kept my head high and said Hello! It didn't matter whether peple said hello back or not. I was holding up my end. What they did was their own business."
Shoko's son Mike and daughter Sue also find acceptance difficult as they are 'mixed.' Charlie is truly a 'good guy' though. I wish more of his feelings and thoughts had been explored as well as those of Mike.

But the true focus of the book is the relationship between mothers and daughters - Shoko and her mother, Shoko and Sue, Sue and Helena. Shoko did not agree with the path laid out for her but acquiesced to her parent's wishes. Sue finally has the opportunity to discover and explore her heritage. As the youngest generation, Helena shines with her acceptance of everyone and everything.

Dilloway's personal story is what made this debut novel such a poignant read. Dilloway's own mother was a Japanese war bride who did pass away from heart related illness. The fictionalized  how to manual is based upon a book her father gave her mother to help her with her new life. I wonder how much of Sue is from Margaret's own life. An impressive debut from a new voice - I look forward to her next novel.

This would be a great selection for a book club. A reading guide is already done for you. You can find Margaret on Twitter  and on her blog. Margaret is on tour with TLC Book Tours this month - check out the other stops.

And I have a copy to giveaway!! Simply comment to be entered. Open to Canada and the US, no po boxes please. Ends Sat. Aug 7th at 6 pm EST.

92 comments:

Mystica said...

I love this kind of story but dont enter me as I am overseas. This sounds a really interesting book.

Patti V. said...

This sounds good. Please enter me.

Kathleen said...

This book looks fantastic! Thank you!!!

Kay said...

Very nice review, Luanne. I don't need to be entered in the contest as I have a copy of this book, but I'm looking forward to reading it even more now.

Linda said...

This book sounds fascinating - I enjoy mother/daughter stories, and stories about war brides. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

I love stories that allow me to explore a different culture, so I would love to be entered to win this one!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Margay said...

This does sound like an amazing book and I would love a chance to read it.

Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

bermudaonion said...

This sounds fabulous! You have to have very deep love for someone to leave your culture and join them in theirs. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

pinkflipflops said...

this sounds really interesting!

Cindy said...

Luanne great review. I have this down on my wishlist and would love to enter this contest please include me.

cindysloveofbooksATgmailDOTcom

PoCoKat said...

Sounds awesome! Please enter me.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

LisaMM said...

Hi Luanne, terrific review! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

I read this book on vacation last week and just loved it-probably my favorite book of the year. I found myself moved to tears on more than one occasion. It held personal meaning for me as my stepdad is Japanese and the Shoko character reminded me so much of his mother, a woman I loved dearly who passed away recently.

Thank you so much for being on this tour! We truly appreciate it.

Sandy Jay said...

Great review. It certainly made me want to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

fredamans said...

This sounds like an amazing book to read on a hot summer day! Thanks for the chance!

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

Karen said...

It seems like my kind of book.
kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Crystal said...

Sounds like a wonderful book - please enter me.

margaretdilloway.com said...

Hi-- the author here. Thanks so much for reading and entering! Hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to stop by my website, ask me questions, friend me on Facebook. I'm also available for reading groups (thank goodness for Skype).

margaretdilloway.com said...

Hi-- the author here. Thanks so much for reading and entering! Hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to stop by my website, ask me questions, friend me on Facebook. I'm also available for reading groups (thank goodness for Skype).

Marjorie said...

The storyline sounds just so interesting, I would love to win it.
I really enjoyed the review.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

holdenj said...

What a nice review, it sounds like a book I'd really like to read. Thanks for the chance.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Shannon said...

Thank you for entering me. =)
tiredwkids at live dot com

Margie said...

This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Martha Lawson said...

Looks great. Please enter me.

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really good book!

billiondollarprincesss@hotmail.com

baileythebookworm said...

This looks like a beautifully written book -I'd love a chance to read it!

baileythebookworm[at]gmail.com

J.T. Oldfield said...

Looks like a good one! Please enter me!

j.t.oldfield[at]gmail.com

Anna said...

No need to enter me, as I'm part of the tour. Just wanted to stop by and say I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are from different cultures so I always enjoy a book on this topic.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

janetfaye said...

This books sounds like it is a good read.

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

Amber said...

I'd love to be entered - this looks like a great summer read!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Amber said...

I follow your blog with google friend connect
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Denise S. said...

This sounds interesting, thanks!

abfantom said...

This sounds like an interesting book that I'd like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom at yahoo dot com

Colleen Turner said...

This sounds like a great read, and I agree it would be perfect for a book club. Please enter me in your giveaway!
candc320@gmail.com

Nicole C. said...

I have been dying to read this book!

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan said...

I love books like this one, they just suck me in and I don't want to get up from my cuddly reading spot.
Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

georgiabloom316 at gmail dot com

rubynreba said...

This is a book I would find very interesting! Thanks.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Melanie L said...

Please enter me in the contest. Thank you!
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

nfmgirl said...

Sounds good! Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Renee G said...

Would love to read this.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

justpeachy36 said...

This one looks really good. Please enter me in the giveaway.

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Tammy said...

This storey sound sweet in a way
tjfirth@yahoo.com

Deborah said...

Even today there are cultural differences and, in some places, barriers that are difficult to overcome (on both sides of the globe). "How to be an American Housewife" sounds like a very interesting study of this phenomenom.

sweetsue said...

I love reading about women from other cultures!
smchester at gmail dot com

Ruthie said...

You're right, this does sound like my book club would like this one.
Please enter me,thanks

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

ikkinlala said...

I'd like to enter, please.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I would love to read How to Be an American Housewife -- it reminds me of my parents' story :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Amy said...

This story sounds riveting. I don't think I could ever read enough stories about mothers & daughters. The cover is so pretty too!

Thank you!

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I would absolutely love to read this. It sounds incredible. Thanks for hosting this! =)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

bridget3420 said...

I would like to be entered. Thanks!

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

shel772 said...

A book about assimilation (or not) is bound to be interesting.

Phoenix said...

This sounds very moving as it's based on the author's family.

Linda Kish said...

Count me in, please.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sue said...

Looks so good. Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

degood said...

This sounds like the kind of book I would enjoy reading.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Vidisha said...

Great Giveaway!!

vidishamun@gmail.com

ChristyJan said...

Please enter me

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Laurie said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. "How to Be an American Housewife" sounds intriguing. Thanks! 006andaHalf

laurielamb@comcast.net

Jenn S. said...

This sounds like something I would enjoy reading. Enter me please.

Meredith said...

Please enter me. I'd like to win this one!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Sir Thrift-A-Lot said...

Sounds fantastic! Please enter me.

jchaborek[at]hotmail[dot]com

Hoa said...

Sounds good! I would love to read it!
Please enter me. Thank you!

alittlepieceofheaven777(at)yahoo(dot)com

LBSGONE said...

Thank you for the entry :D

Nickolay said...

Interesting sounding book. Thanks for the chance

jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

Janice Crespo said...

Thanks for the chance to win this - you make it sound like a very good book to read!
janicecrespo@gmail.com

k_sunshine1977 said...

i love multigenerational stories...please count me in for this one...

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Joanne Gregory said...

My kind of book!

jednc @ hotmail . com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book!

girlygirljess52207@yahoo.com

Rebecca said...

Sounds like a great book! Very interesting look at culture : )

-Becky
beckyspoolstra at gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read!
shawnac68@hotmail.com

Sharon said...

Sounds like a very interesting read.

cdmarteny said...

sounds like the kind of book my friend and i like to read and shair

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Thanks for the great review! I would love to be entered to read this book :) thanks again

Benita said...

Please count me in.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

lknott said...

Looking like a good book. Please enter me. Enjoyed your review. Thanks for the chance to win!


lknott@partnercom.net

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I'd love to read this-thanks!

taxchyk said...

Sounds like a read designed to help us examine our own faults and prejudices, to help us see things from another's perspective. Thanks!

Heather said...

Sign me up to win and to read it during book club! Sounds like a good one.

purango said...

It sounds like a most interesting book. I want to read it. garrettsambo@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Wow, I want to know..
Diane Baum esldiane@gmail.com

susan1215 said...

Sounds like a good book

kathy pease said...

klp1965@myfairpoint.net
Thank you for the Great giveaway please count me in :)

Breanne said...

I would love to read this!

Sweets Ambassador said...

Sounds great! Count me in!

krista_megan@yahoo.com

dvice said...

This looks entertaining

Atreau said...

This sounds like a wonderful book!

Miss Nessa said...

Oh, I'd love to read this book. Thanks :)

FDP 4 Life said...

i would love to read this

susansmoaks at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would like to read this!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com