I thought “stories” would mean essays about Ellis’ experiences as a housewife but it’s actually a series of short stories and most of them are pretty terrible.
The best part was Southern Lady code:
“Is this too dressy?” is Southern Lady code for: I look fabulous and it would be in your best interest to tell me so.
“She’s old” means she’s racist as Sandy Duncan in Roots.
“Hmm” is Southern Lady code for: I don’t agree with you but am polite enough not to rub your nose in your ignorance.
“Nice talking with you” is code for: Party’s over, now scoot.”
Most of them involve terrible people being terrible. There is a feud between neighbors that ends in feline bloodshed, a cancer ridden woman whose husband is the “best bra fitter South of the Mason Dixon line” who ends up picking her successor, a housewife who kills several doormen and a particularly awful story about a woman who is stalked by Tampax after agreeing to write a book on behalf of the brand.
If this hadn’t been a 4 and a half hour audio book that I managed to get through 2/3rds of while housecleaning with headphones on one afternoon (and subsequently took 6 days to get through the final 50 or so minutes) I would have put it down almost immediately.