“HAUSFRAU”, by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Review)

This book was really interesting and not at all what I was expecting. The reviews plastered all over the cover were calling it “50 shades of Grey” meets “Anna Karenina”. I wasn’t thrilled about the comparison to “50 shades” because I really really loathe those books, and I am very pleased to report “Hausfrau” was nothing like “50 shades”. I don’t mean to offend any 50 shades fans, I just find the over the top graphic sex scenes uncomfortable and a bit cringe to read (especially on the bus, which is where I do 99% of my reading). Also the story was a bit creepy.IMG_3899“Hausfrau” was a bit racy don’t get me wrong, but in a much more self destructive and sad way. And the author wasn’t just looking for a cheap cheeky thrill.
This book was incredibly poetic and full of some very powerful metaphors. I found myself stopping reading and really thinking about what I had just read, even stopping to read certain parts over and over again to make sure I “got” her meaning.
The overall story was very sad and depressing. It was basically this one woman’s spiral into major self destruction, as a result of depression and boredom in her marriage/ unhappiness of living in Switzerland.
The only real negatives I had about the book was that the character came across a bit whiny in parts and just a bit.. Frustrating. But overall she was really complex and interesting. Other than that the other thing I didn’t really love was how the author liked to literally describe every single train stop, street name, street corner, and any and every location on the map around where this character was living. It would have been one thing if it was in English, but it was a ton of Swiss/ German/ Swiss German names and locations.. So I found myself struggling to pronounce these long and unfamiliar words in my head, and I found this a bit over the top and exhausting. I mean obviously this book takes place in Zurich so what was I expecting? But it did seem a bit excessive. I think however the author may have used this as a way to kind of show how the main character Anna (who was from the US) felt about being in a foreign place, where she didn’t have a good grasp on the language either. Maybe we were supposed to feel her confusion. Or maybe that’s in my imagination haha. Either was this book was wonderful, but quite depressing just warning you all 🙂


“A LONELY WOMAN IS a dangerous woman.” Doktor Messerli spoke with grave sincerity. “A lonely woman is a bored woman. Bored women act on impulse.”

“There are no accidents, Anna. Everything correlates. Everything connects. Every detail bears a consequence. One instant begets the next. And the next. And the next.”

“The trouble with mistakes is that they rarely seem like mistakes when they are made.”

“A mistake made once is an oversight. The same mistake made twice? An abberation. A blunder. But a third time?” Doktor Messerli shook her head. “Whatever’s been done has been done to an end. Your will is at work. You beg a result. A repercussion. A precedent has been established. You will get what you want. And there’s no need to seek out these mistakes. For now it is they who seek you.”

— Quotes from “Hausfrau”, by Jill Alexander Essbaum

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