Man of the House
Ballantine, Sep 30 2008, $14.00
In Upstate New York Linc Menner loved being a Househusband raising his preadolescent daughter Violet and making gourmet meals for them and his wife, Jo (and Violet’s mom), who works longs difficult hours as a hospital administrator. He enjoys being a stay-at-home dad driving Violet everywhere.
The family moves to a fixer upper in Naples, Florida as Violet turns thirteen. Linc feels disappointed and somewhat depressed as Violet seems to need him less and less with each passing day. Meanwhile the male contractors look at him with pity and scorn. When he overhears their locker room style jokes about him being a girlie, Linc wonders if he lost his penis. To reassert his masculinity he begins to do what society considers male activities like shooting a gun at the firing range. His wife hates the new model and yearns for her sensitive guy while his daughter loathes the new daddy who is never there for her when she needs him. However, Linc begins to reassess his assessment as instead of finding contentment with his masculine side, he remains unhappy as he misses the mommy philosophical chatter on what matters in life.
MAN OF THE HOUSE is an interesting gender bending mommy lit tale starring the Menner family and to a lesser degree an obsessed teacher, Jessica Varnadore. The story line is treated for the most part with a light humorous touch as it focuses on Linc’s sudden need to be a “real man” and how his wife and daughter react to his quest to find himself; the trio rotates first person perspective. When the tale turns to a couple of dangerous segues (the teacher and a storm), it loses traction turning from a warm amusing family drama to a family in peril thriller that seems out of place. Still fans will enjoy this lighthearted romp pondering what gender identity truly is.