Synopsis from Goodreads: When his wife, Jo, is offered her dream job, Lincoln Menner leaves his thriving landscape business in Los Angeles and moves to Rochester, New York. This will be his chance to start over, spend a little time with their three-year-old daughter, and finally do things right at home.
But Linc had no idea what it really meant to be a househusband: to stay home every day, folding laundry, cleaning soap scum, and teaching his little girl to use the potty. To be ignored at parties by his wife’s colleagues who see him as just a homemaker. Though he soon has the house humming, Linc misses the outside world. Most of all he misses Jo, who works too late and barely notices the fabulous dinners he slaves over. Drastic action must be taken to make his efficiently run house truly a home, sweet home. And Linc knows he is just the man for the job!
First line: This is a good day.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Ballantine Books, 2004.
How acquired: Bought.
My thoughts: I went into this book thinking it was going to be light, amusing chick lit (for lack of a better word) style, even though it’s written by a man. I mean, look at that cartoon cover. But it was actually a deeper, almost depressing look at what it means to be a stay at home parent, losing your own identity in the shadow of your working spouse.
Staying home starts out as a temporary situation. Jo has gotten a really good executive level job and the family have moved across the country. While Jo settles into her new job, Linc takes care of three year old Violet, and gets the new household up and running. But when he begins looking for a nanny, he can’t find anyone he likes as much as the one they had to leave behind, and staying home with Violet rather than looking for work stretches out longer and longer.
I didn’t relate to either Linc or Jo, having been a working parent for my daughters’ entire lives, but still being the primary care giver as well since my husband also worked. My older daughter started day care at nine months, and my younger at two weeks, which would have horrified Linc, a controlling snob. Spotless house. Healthy gourmet meals. Violet is not allowed to eat junk food, and when she starts refusing to eat carrots, he cuts them up small, makes a little incision into pieces of tortellini and sticks a piece of carrot inside so she’ll eat them without realizing it. She can watch Pocahontas, a strong female role model with “…knowledge of plant life, awareness of the biosphere and where she fits into it. Respect for her father. Curiosity of things unknown” etc., but she isn’t allowed to watch Rugrats, “one big lesson in how to mock and sneak around authority figures” or The Little Mermaid, “no redeeming traits. Zero. She continually defies her father and wants nothing more than to be some rich hunk’s bride.” I got exhausted just reading about everything Linc does.
I loved this line:
I tried to tell my clients that flowers were intended to be random, dropped into place by birds and the wind. Flowers should be occasional, visual surprises, like a found conch shell on the beach.
An enjoyable, quick, but unremarkable story.