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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Hudler, Ad: Man of the House

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

Ad Hudler's Man of the House (a sequel to the author's 2002 novel Househusband, which I have not read) is told in the first person from four different perspectives, but his main character is Linc Menner, who quit a successful landscaping business years back to take care of his daughter Violet full time. While Linc's wife Jo brings home the bacon, Linc not only fries it up in a pan--with considerably more skill than most of us--but he keeps a spotless house, regularly fires off cranky missives to the administration of his daughter's prep school, and generally performs the role of perfect, engaged parent in a way that could only irritate the average mother. Linc is obsessive about his care-giving responsibilities. This is a convenience for his loved ones--who thus never have to worry about anything domestic--but it is also maddening because, frankly, Linc can be something of a know-it-all jerk.

Linc has been firmly in touch with his feminine side for more than a decade. But Man of the House finds him exploring his masculinity, a transformation prompted in part by Violet's increasing independence--she's now thirteen--and by the appearance in his world of manly workmen, come to renovate the family's house in Florida. Linc in fact develops a sort of man crush on the head contractor. We learn about Linc's transformation through his own eyes and from chapters told from his wife's and daughters' points of view. The fourth character on whom Hudler focuses is Jessica Varnadore, Violet's English teacher, who likewise notices the changes wrought in Linc by, for example, his weekly visits to a new barber shop and his more ambitious weightlifting regimen.

Hudler's book is impressive because his characters' transformations seem realistic: Linc's pendulum swing into testosterone territory, Jo's increased domesticity as Linc's changed priorities leave a vacuum on the home front. The gradual revelation of the nature of Jessica's interest in Linc is also deft: in this case it is not her character that evolves so much as our appreciation of her character. One gets the impression (particularly after reading the charming author interview at the back of this edition) that Linc is a lightly fictionalized version of the author himself, the book serving as a vehicle for Hudler's various hobbyhorses.

In short, Man of the House is a decent, light read about the possibility of reinventing oneself mid-life, once the responsibilities of parenting have lightened.

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