The Actor and the Housewife is an adult novel by Shannon Hale
Becky thinks the most exciting thing in her life is selling a screenplay on a whim in Los Angeles. Then by chance she runs into her celebrity crush Felix Callahan, and proceeds to bicker with him in good fun. Felix decides he wants this new friend in his life, after mistakenly believing he's in love with her, and over the next decade they wrestle with being able to be friends.
Tropes for this book include:
- Accidental Adultery: Discussed so many times, where Becky wrestles with the idea about her platonic friendship with Felix potentially ruining her marriage with Mike. Her brother mentions that he's seen it happen with other couples.
- Adult Fear:
- The issues of having an adult male friend while married and if that relationship can stay platonic.
- Mike's cancer. That is all.
- Big Damn Kiss: Subverted; when Becky has to kiss Felix for the film they're doing, she pranks him by eating garlic, and he retaliates by eating pickled fish. And subverted again when they realize they're not in attracted to each other in the climax.
- Child Hater: Felix starts out as an awkward one. He warms up to Becky's kids, however. It's why Celeste divorces him after having an affair with an Italian director.
- Comforting the Widow: Averted; after Mike dies, Felix waits a reasonable amount of time before courting Becky, notably after he takes her on vacation to help her through her grief. And even then, they realize they're not attracted to each other and are too different to make it work.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked when during a roasting game of "Fun for Some," Becky's sister-in-law Carolyn who has a history of being a Jerkass jokes about Becky being secretly in love with Felix and Mike being oblivious. That ends the game rather quickly, and Becky has to wash dishes to calm down.
- The Fashionista: Celeste, given she's a famous model. Felix is a minor one.
- Hope Spot:
- Mike's remission for about seven years. Lampshaded in the text with anger and grief.
- Becky thinking Felix and she might work out after she writes a screenplay about their friendship. Then she can't even kiss him without laughing.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Becky's maternity wardrobe. When she needs better clothes for her press tour with Felix, she asks Celeste for help with shopping.
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Celeste has this reaction about Fiona, and says she wants to adopt her if anything ever happens to Mike and Becky.
- Just Friends: Felix and Becky; he's not attracted to her, and she loves Mike. Even after Felix is divorced and Mike is dead.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Becky by some members of her family, for keeping up her friendship with Felix. She angrily sets them straight. When a news tabloid suspects the same thing, her family supports her.
- Mood Whiplash: In the middle of this poignant comedy, Mike gets cancer twice, and dies during the second fight.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Becky and Mike, even when Felix offers to pay for fees like trips, and a better salary for the film. Becky believes that money is a curse. She only acquiesces twice, to cover Mike's cancer treatment and when Felix steals her credit cards after taking her on vacation.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Felix is hurting following his divorce from Celeste, Becky flies to New York to take care of him. He then proceeds to hit on her while drunk, takes her to a nightclub where he stays until the wee hours of the morning with two college girls leaving her as a fourth wheel, and when she flies home without her luggage mails it back to her third-class. Becky doesn't even need to call him out for this; she just waits for him to send an apology and flowers. Mike does chew him out off-screen however, while they're playing golf.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Subverted with Felix and Becky. Although he asks permission to kiss her, she politely turns him down and explains he's not in love with her, but wants a friend in her.
- Celeste has an affair and a baby with an Italian director while married to Felix.