What does your husband think? - SPOILERS|
I get this question a lot. First, you should know something about my husband--he's my best friend, biggest fan, and best supporter. And he just doesn't get my adult books. austenland left him mystified. Dean is usually my first reader, and will read my book 2-3 times at different stages, giving me wonderful feedback. This time, he was my eighth reader. He was scared. He might not admit it, but he was scared half to death.
First, it's the style of book. Dean is honestly confused by what purpose any book could hold if it isn't science fiction or fantasy. I mean, why bother to read a book if it's reality? In austenland I found a way to mention a giant robot suit, and in this book I used some form of the word "zombie" nine times. My nod to my husband.
But it's not just the lack of fantasy (though I think both my adult books, though technically realistic fiction, could be considered fantasies at heart) it's the men that confuse him. He doesn't get it.
Let me kind of show you his reaction. He read around my sixth draft of the book to give me feedback. Here are some of the comments he made in my manuscript, bolding certain words and making comments in the margin. If you're confused about Dean's tone, just assume "affable sarcasm," i.e. he is kind of mocking me but in a loving and humorous way, which of course, makes it okay.
A&H: Augie Beuter--she hadn't seen him since her wedding, and she still missed him.
Dean: Augie should be gay. Or Swedish.
A&H: She'd fallen in love with characters all her life--Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Rochester...
Dean: I have no idea who these people are.
A&H: No more daydreaming. Sheesh, Thank goodness mind reading only existed in comic books
Dean: Says who? And no, I'm not reading your mind right now.
Dean: Now I am.
A&H: That was the sort of scene that was okay to daydream when alone and bored, but definitely not with the object of the fantasy standing beside her.
Dean: okay in what sense? morally? because if we're talking intellectual and social decay, that's another matter... :)
A&H: ...she and Augie could keep each other laughing until past midnight.
Dean: Augie better show up with a knife at the end and stab Felix to death
A&H: Yaaaaaayyy! Yay for love and the perfect man and the absolute complete gorgeousness of everything, everything!
Dean: I am now officially alienated
(one paragraph later)
A&H: Family. That word alone felt stronger in Becky's mind than "army" or "fortress" or "Justice League."
Dean: Justice League... Okay, I'm back.
A&H: Becky was going to keep her new Augie.
Dean: Waiting for the knife...
A&H: ...how Hyrum broke his arm, and the mini-crisis that created in Becky's marriage when in a moment of frustration Mike blamed her for negligence...
Dean: Well, it was clearly her fault
A&H: Normally Becky would enjoy this moment with Mike and almost looked at him to share a smile. But she still felt like a wounded bird, so she kept her eyes on her plate. She could feel him looking at her. She knew he was comprehending just how ticked off she really was.
Dean: Really not empathisizing, sadly enough. Personal issues.
After a fight with Mike and they make up, Becky thinks,
A&H: "I love him so much, she thought. I just love him so much."
Dean: I've just realized this woman is mentally ill.
A&H: "I know. I'm a shameless, heartless, ruthless man. Also, I miss you." He'd never said anything like that before. Her heart jumped.
Dean: hmm. maybe its because the only time my heart jumps is when I'm in love. Romantic love. Or when I get pushed off a cliff. Is this like one of those?
A&H: "What a circus," Mike said because on the way they passed a man dressed up as a hotdog,
Dean: that guy is everywhere! I'm glad he made it in.
after the press junket
Dean: you ARE funny, even if I don't say so
A&H: "Augie! How is he?"
"Fine I guess. He's got three kids, they're living in Draper."
Dean: Shouldn't you mention he's gay?
A&H: "You are lying to me now. You borrowed this creature from somewhere to play a prank on me. This isn't even really a cat, is it? This is some sort of rat and opossum hybrid. This is a lifelike Japanese robot that bites intruders."
Dean: this is awesome
Besides his notes, Dean left me other little surprises in the manuscript--he helpfully rewrote scenes. Here's an early scene with Becky and Mike:
"Becky started to kiss him just to distract him from tickling her, which worked almost immediately, as his fingers left her ribs and found the small of her back and her neck, and then he was kissing her neck, which so wasn't fair, because it made her vomit embarrassingly up and down into the hollow of her throat. The brush of his lips there nearly made her sigh, but she held it in, knowing that holding her breath gave her skin that subtle blue color he found so irresistible."
And here are the last lines of the book, as suggested by my husband:
"And they kissed one last time, for as the helicopter descended, its blades tangled in the streetside power lines. They pulled loose, sparked, and drove the helicopter into the ground. The explosion was spectacular."
After reading a certain part, he got emotional. And we hugged and cried together, and I thought, I am such a callous, horrid beast, to write something that makes my husband cry just because I think the story needs it. It was very sad, but sweet too, and reminded me of the power of stories.
Although Dean is not the intended audience for this book, he is kind and supportive. He thought it was funny at times and sweet at times. He liked the kids. And he's happy to never read it again. I won't make him.
And in turn, he won't make me watch horror movies anymore. Though he'd really, really like to.
Return to main actor and the housewife page