Novels in November: The Actor and The Housewife

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity hearththrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened…though nothing has happened. It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. H er children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special…something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it? A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything."

The Actor and the Housewife is a sweet chick lit book unlike anything else I've read. And I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it. Becky, the main character, is believable, though not relatable (for me, anyway). Felix, the actor in question, is a bit more plot point than character, but given that Becky's eyes are how we see the world, that seems appropriate. 

The setup is charming, and my biggest happy point about this novel is that it seriously address the age-old question: "can a man and a woman REALLY just be friends?". It does this respectfully, realistically, and just for fun, also pits an opposites attract type situation. The drama centers around this question, though there's plenty of standard Shannon Hale-esque quips and dialogue funnies.

I felt that the religious aspect was a bit heavy-handed, and made Becky rather naive as an adult woman, though I understand the need to represent a faith of some sort for her to rely on at key moments in the book. I also recognize that, as someone who isn't Christian (let alone Mormon!), I can be super sensitive about a faith system being brought up repeatedly in a book. Regardless, there were about 5 pages at the end that I skimmed over because I couldn't take any more "aha! God's plan is all so clear to me now!" talk (epiphany, good....epiphany that takes 3 pages to squee out makes your character look like an idiot who never questioned anything in her life).

Overall, it was a well-balance piece of chick lit, with plenty of heart. I recommend this book for fans of that sort of novel, and anyone who has ever wondered "What if George Clooney and I met and hit it off platonically?"

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