Ruth Ozeki, Author, Anna Fields, Read by , read by Anna Fields. Blackstone Audiobooks $56.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7861-2478-7

Japanese-American documentary filmmaker Jane Takagi Little seems to have found the perfect job producing My American Wife, a program sponsored by American beef exporters that introduces Japanese housewives to "typical, wholesome" American wives, their families and their beef recipes. Jane and her crew travel around the U.S., filming wives and their families as they make beef dinners. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, shy Akiko has been driven to bulimia by her domineering and abusive husband, John, who works with the beef exporters on the show. John insists that Akiko watch the show, cook, gain weight and get pregnant. Over the course of the "year of meats," Jane begins to feel guilty about exploiting the wives, confused about her romantic life and disturbed by the sordid secrets she uncovers about meat production. Inspired by Jane's increasingly subversive episodes (particularly the segment on lesbian vegetarians), Akiko gradually realizes what she wants out of life and finds the courage to reach for it. Narrator Fields gives a sterling performance, vividly bringing to life the many disparate voices—from Jane's sharp-tongued mother to the various housewives on the show. Ozeki's prior experience producing similar shows for beef lobbyists and obvious compassion for Jane, combined with Fields's empathetic performance, make this a worthwhile listen. Based on the Viking hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on: 11/03/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-2486-2
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