Discussion questions for Ad Hudler's Househusband
- What sorts of barriers exist among the men and women in the novel? Are they issues of gender or job or both?
- Linc's five main relationships are with women. Discuss the situation of each one - Jo, Violet, Marilyn, Patty and Carol - and the effect it has on Linc.
- What sets Linc apart from other stay-at-home dads? What separates him from the stay-at-home moms?
- Does his success as a landscape architect add anything to his role as a full-time caregiver? Does it hinder him in any way?
- Food plays a central role in the novel. Why is it so important to Linc? What part does it play in his relationship with Marilyn?
- As vulnerable and lonely as Linc is, wouldn't he be especially susceptible to an affair? Why doesn't he respond to Marilyn's oh-so-obvious advances?
- Linc seems to loathe Patty from the outset. It isn't long before she appears to reciprocate. What causes such mutual enmity?
- A frustrated feminist mother had a great impact on Linc, giving him an awareness of the female condition unknown to most men. What effect do you think Linc's attitudes and actions will have on Violet's view of herself and the opposite sex?
- At one point, Carol likens marriage to a closet. She says: "We all marry a beautiful, wonderful door and, for a while anyway, just looking at that door pleases us all enough. What solid strength! … What lovely curves on the door handle! Then we get bored and we open it and start poking around inside … we see the dust…the shoes that don't fit … and the skeletons, of course." Is her metaphor correct? Why or why not?
- Consider the three married couples in the book - Jo and Linc, Marilyn and Steve, Linc's parents. What do their marriages have in common? How do they differ?
- What does Linc learn over time about being a caregiver? What does he learn about himself?
- The issue of control permeates the book. Examine the role of control in Linc's relationship to the house, to Violet, to Jo, to Patty, to Marilyn. What about his mother's struggle with control? What controls does society impose?