Publication Date: June 18, 2014
What do a retired efficiency expert, an all-star baseball player and a man who would procrastinate leaving his house if it was on fire have in common? They’re all driving their wives crazy. In Husband Training School by Ruth Harris, Former Marine Corps Drill Instructor, Robin Aguirre and her sister are happy to help. They own the Husband Training School and are determined to whip these lost causes into shape before their wives either divorce or kill them. Are the sisters up to the challenge?
The author, Ruth Harris, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
I reviewed the prequel to this novel and was impressed with how relatable it was. This is not a topic to which I would naturally gravitate. As stated in that review, I’m not generally a fan of the infantilization of men. In the case of Will, Howard and Gordo, these are not men that can’t — these are men that won’t. Each man has a unique set of problems spurred by their own issues. We meet Will when his busy wife comes home to find him next to useless. We meet Howard when he’s timing his wife’s household chores with a stopwatch to “help” her find a way to do them better. We meet Gordo when his ready-to-give-birth wife comes home to find nothing done for the baby’s room beyond crib parts on the garage floor. Any one of these men would drive the average partner insane.
Harris has a light style that makes Husband Training School a joy to read. In a scene where Gordo makes a mess and then makes a greater mess trying to clean up the original mess could have gone to an ugly place. We could have been laughing at how stupid he is or inept; Harris’ cleverly takes the mean away from such scenes by giving us characters that are actually trying. Robin is trying to train the men and Gordo is trying to save his marriage. Let’s face it, some folks are unlucky and not everything is in a person’s wheelhouse, so adding that level of humanity leads the laughter to a warmer place. Thankfully, Harris’ story is laced with such moments leading to a fast-moving plot that is well crafted and just good fun to read.
Harris doesn’t seem to acknowledge the age sweet spot in her fiction. She has characters of varied ages and stations in life coming together without awkwardness or ego. The point of Husband Training School isn’t fish out of the water but making the water the right temperature for the fish and that is the author’s focus. Her mastery in writing characters for which readers will cheer is impressive. Readers will certainly recognize the rounded out archetypes she writes in their own lives. I hesitate to acknowledge recognizing some of Mr. Rabid Reader and myself in the pages. Which makes me perhaps approach those moments with a reflective humor and affection. There are things that aren’t deal-breakers but if we could train our spouse to edit them out of his or her life, would we?
The sisters, Robin and Melanie, are something of a separate story running concurrently with the main plot. They’re women trying to build a reputation, make a business work and live their own unique lives. Robin is very serious about her goal and Melanie is very serious about staying financially afloat, so while Robin acts at the time as an unintentional straight man to her pupils, her softer side comes out in the beautifully written sister relationship.[easyazon_link identifier=”B00L4INUS6″ locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]HUSBAND TRAINING SCHOOL[/easyazon_link] is a charming read. If you like humor and real people, pick it up today.
For further reading check out our reviews of A Kiss at Kilhali: A Story of Romance, Mystery and Beauty and The Chanel Caper by Ruth Harris and Brainwashed: Killer Thriller Series–Part 1 by Ruth Harris and Michael Harris
You can read an excerpt and buy Husband Training School by Ruth Harris on