Book Review: The Actor and The Housewife

The Actor and The Housewife
Published By: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: January 2009
Page Count: 352
Source: Library
Audience: Adult - Chick Lit

Utah housewife Becky Jack is in LA selling a movie script. When Felix Callahan barges into the meeting, she must confront her movie star crush face to face and the sparks fly. Have you ever met someone you just clicked with, as though the universe meant for you to find each other? As their friendship progresses, Becky and Felix must navigate what effect that friendship has on their marriages. Can a man and a woman be best friends without the question of romance hanging over it? 

This is the second time I’ve read The Actor and the Housewife and I have to say that I laughed just as hard (and cried just as much – you’ve been warned!) as I did the first time. Shannon Hale always creates great characters and the titular actor and housewife are no exception. Becky is smart, talented, hilarious, and bakes her pies three at a time. Felix is smirky, smart-alecky, and outrageous enough to draw anyone’s interest. But what I really found striking is that the friendship between Becky and Felix almost feels like its own character – from the time the two of them meet they are trading sarcastic one-liners and finishing each other’s thoughts as though they’d known each other for decades. 

I loved that Hale took chances with this story. The main characters are happily married to other people, so there is a lot of tension in the book. Felix himself, early on in the story, thinks that he must be attracted somehow to this unfashionable house frau because he can’t imagine just being good friends with a woman. Becky for her part struggles with being a good friend as well as a good wife and mother – the same struggles sometimes happen even when the friend is the same gender, but the added layer of it being someone that the world-at-large finds desirable (and that Becky herself had a movie crush on) keeps the reader guessing what will happen. 

One tiny little gripe: Becky’s explanation of her epiphany at the end of the book read more like the author trying to explain what was happening rather than the character’s thoughts. I don’t generally want or need for characters to spell things out for me at the end of a novel. I like to figure things out for myself. 

In The Actor and the Housewife, Shannon Hale demonstrates her huge sense of fun and the ridiculous, as well as showing how sweet and touching friendship can be. And I fully admit I spent at least the first half of the book wishing I were Becky and wondering who would be my movie star BFF!

What if you were to meet the number-one person on your laminated list—you know, that list you joke about with your significant other about which five celebrities you’d be allowed to run off with if ever given the chance? And of course since it’ll never happen it doesn’t matter… 

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.


  1. I loved this book. I laughed, I cried. Shannon's "inner voice" for Becky is priceless. This is the book that sold me on Shannon Hale :-)


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