Given my thoughts earlier this week on the viral video, Be a Lady They Said, I thought it only appropriate to focus on this new little book, Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. Although this is a fiction book and not a viral video, here too we find a story about women fitting into a role they have been taught to aspire to in society. In this case, marriage!
Basically, the modern-day story is one we know all too well. A woman marries, follows her husband to the suburbs, and sets up a life for him and for her that is less than appealing. After all, our character left an exciting job in the big city.
The story gets interesting when this modern woman finds an old cookbook that belonged to a wife from a gone-by era in this same home who cooks her way to happiness(?) — actually to a mystery — in order to be the perfect wife of her times. Between following her recipes, our modern-day gal begins to piece together the real life of this perfect wife and begins to take courage in crafting her own life in the times she is living in — maybe with a secret or two in the mix.
It’s another tale of trying to prescribe to women who they are to be in any given marriage in any given era. There are many quotes, recipes, and puns to lead the way and give guidance in this book, but in the end it’s ultimate lesson is that women must define this for themselves. Hard to do in a society where we are told to be a lady at every turn and what exactly that means.
It feels like in the end times haven’t changed that much. I devoured this book because of the movement back and forth between the old and new ways that women try to make married life work for them. Although we think it is so far removed from yesterday, but, in fact, women have been trying to carve out their lives in secret for generations — even right up until today.
With no answers given, it is still a pleasure to read the recipes, take in the quotes, see how one woman tries to guide another and then reflect on how we define ourselves in our own marriages. The reflection is strong I believe.