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Man of the House    by Ad Hudler order for
Man of the House
by Ad Hudler
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

It's not easy to be Mr. Mom, but Linc Menner manages it beautifully. While his wife oversees six hospitals and travels often, Linc dedicates all his time to their daughter, Violet, and to the household. He cooks, he cleans, he decorates, he helps with schoolwork - and he does all of it without a word of complaint.

But when the family relocates from upstate New York to Naples, Florida, Linc's well-organized life begins to unravel. He's got a home renovation project to oversee, and hurricanes to obsess over. Yet being surrounded by contractors who don't understand him makes him wonder whether he's gone wrong by choosing this girly-man path. Soon, Linc begins to experiment with things outside his comfort zone, like going to the gym and learning to shoot guns. Meanwhile, his daughter is struggling with teenage crises, Linc's wife feels lonelier than ever, and life continues to fall apart around all of them.

It's clear from the first page of Man of the House that Hudler has insider knowledge into the life of a househusband. Indeed, Hudler himself is a stay-at-home dad. Although Linc's experiences are often exaggerated, Hudler's writing offers unique insights into the mind of a man who isn't the breadwinner and provider in the household. As Linc transforms from a loving husband and devoted father into the Alpha male he believes he should be, readers are treated to an interesting (and often intense) glimpse into the male psyche.

There are a number of subplots as well, the most significant of which revolves around Violet's English teacher, who develops an interest in Linc. While this part of the story wasn't quite as engaging as watching Linc struggle with his identity crisis, it did manage to bring a different female perspective to a largely male-driven plot.

Humorous, engaging and surprisingly tender at times, Man of the House offers an unusual look at gender roles, and the impact they have on a traditional family.

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