THE BITCH IN THE HOUSE: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage
In the spirit of Virginia Woolf, who wrote of killing the "Angel in the House," these 26 women—mostly professional writers—focus on the inner "bitch": the frustration, anger and rage that's never far from the surface of many women's lives. They sound off on the difficult decisions of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children. Those who haven't chosen the single life are almost always frustrated by their mates' incompetence or their toddlers' neediness. (They reserve special scorn for overly laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman's checkbook.) While a handful of entries touch other sources of anger—being criticized for one's weight, simultaneously caring for ailing parents and a young family, coping with a husband who's out to win his baby daughter's loyalty—most focus on the love vs. work problem. For many of these women, this means a struggle over the right to be a bitch and inflict unpleasantness on others for the sake of a higher goal (one's work) versus the feminine imperative to "make nice." While unbridled rage is terribly cathartic—even in print—it's the quieter moments that provide more food for thought. Daphne Merkin's observation that she's "more equipped to handle the risks of loneliness than those of intimacy" and thus better off divorced, or Nancy Wartik's thought that "some compromises might actually be healthy," will ring true for many readers. Others may find it comforting to know that even smart, articulate, successful women can have deeply unsettled inner lives. Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan. (On sale Sept. 17)
Forecast:With a classy list of contributors (ranging from Natalie Angier to Vivian Gornick), and first serial rights sold to O magazine, Elle, Glamour and Self, this one will find an enthusiastic readership.
Release date: 09/01/2002