Ironing John: The Househusband's Tales

James Leith, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87113-615-2
A British actor more often at liberty than onstage and a failed restaurateur, and married to a highly successful writer, Leith decided to let his wife win the bread while he became a househusband, what he refers to as a Houseworm. He began the job with few illusions about the huge amount of work involved but quickly learned he had badly underestimated how busy he was going to be, because his wife (the Househead) had been able to do all manner of tasks simultaneously. He also learned that, just as male groups often shut out females, the converse is equally true: he was definitely cold-shouldered by the moms in his child's play group. And he had to endure jibes from other males when he reacted coldly to their badinage and was asked if it was the wrong time of the month for him. But even cooking for a family partly carnivorous, partly vegetarian didn't faze him, and he developed a feeling of kinship for housewives. One minor objection: a glossary of British terms would have been helpful for those without access to the OED. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-385-40495-2
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