Hudler, Ad 1965(?)-
HUDLER, Ad 1965(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1965; married; wife's name, Carol (a publisher); children: Haley Joy. Education: Graduate of the University of Nebraska. Hobbies and other interests: Kayaking, gardening, cooking, reading, tennis.
CAREER: Writer. Fort Myers News-Press, Fort Myers, FL, journalist.
Househusband, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Ad Hudler casts himself as the title character of his debut novel, Househusband. Hudler moved to Macon, Georgia, when his wife took a job as a publisher, and he chose to care for their daughter and their home while she pursued her career. A former journalist, Hudler had already begun one book, but paused to begin and finish this one, in which he sprinkles recipes throughout the story of alterego Linc Menner and his househusbandly life. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the novel's "self-impressed narrator takes on househusbanding with a vengeance and makes a better wife and mother than any woman could."
Linc and his wife, Jo, move from California to Rochester, New York, when Jo accepts a job as a hospital administrator. Linc, a former landscape architect of the gardens of the West Coast rich and famous, agrees to stay at home with their small daughter, Violet. Linc is a superdad—cleaning, cooking, and filling the house with plants. He finds no daytime friends with the stay-at-home moms, except for Marilyn, the attractive neighbor whose child-rearing techniques—allowing her children to eat junk food and watch a lot of television—sharply contrast with Linc's own stricter methods. But Linc and Marilyn become friends, drinking and cooking together, and complaining to each other. Eventually, when the other women are able to get over their fear of having their children be alone with a man, they also warm up to Linc, whose cooking and horticultural talents they admire.
A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that while Link tries to be the perfect father and husband, his mother Carol "provides an alternate voicing of desire and longing through her on-the-road e-mails to her son." Carol Menner breaks free from her uncommunicative used-car-salesman husband by stealing one of his cars and taking a road-trip adventure. In reviewing the novel for BookReporter.com, Anita Bunn commented that "although [Carol] . . . often indulges herself with revealing too much personal information to her son, and she might not have always been the best parent, Linc does credit her with teaching him to understand women. Carol Menner is also the one to remind her son to relax with his duties as a househusband and to enjoy his daughter more, not to think of her as just another job."
Hudler, in an interview for BookReporter.com, was asked whether any of the characters are based on real people and why he chose to use the mother character. Hudler replied, "Linc, of course. And Violet. Linc's mother is also my mother. Though my mom has never run away from home, it is her spirit that resides in the character of Carol. . . . She's my favorite character in the book. I needed a device to help set a time structure for the book, and the mother's e-mails came to mind. . . . I thought the mother would be an interesting counterbalance to Linc's situation. He suddenly finds himself stuck in the life of domestic servitude that she has decided to flee.
"Househusband is the story of a man struggling to make it in a woman's world. Linc Menner's masculinity and pride are under fire every day. His journey shows that many of the hazards associated with being a stay-at-home mom—low self-esteem, a sagging sex drive, and a feeling that no one appreciates all his hard work—are not female-specific."
Library Journal's John Charles wrote that Househusband provides "a genuine glimpse at the guilt and joy that only other stay-at-home parents really understand."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2002, review of Househusband, p. 127.
Library Journal, May 1, 2002, John Charles, review of Househusband, p. 133.
Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2002, review of Househusband, p. 37.
Ad Hudler Home Page,http://www.adhudler.com (July 9, 2002).