by Emily B.
Over the past few years, Real Housewives of New York has become one of my go-to comfort shows. Is the premise of the show a bit shallow? Maybe it is, at least on the surface. Following a group of wealthy women who’ve been identified as “housewives” does sound vapid at first glance, but watch the show and you’ll realize there’s a lot more to it. We watch as the Housewives support and quarrel with each other, marriages dissolve, Housewives run into trouble with the law, Housewives embark on new business ventures. Once you dig deeper, Real Housewives provides an almost anthropological peek into the lives and relationships of women across the country – from Beverly Hills, CA to Potomac, MD.
In 2021, fans of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchises were in luck – two insider accounts detailing the franchises’ histories were released. Only one of these books (Dave Quinn’s account) had the official blessing of Bravo executives, which led to a bit of drama, not unlike the shows!
Dave Quinn’s Not All Diamonds and Rosé (also requestable as an ebook from Libby/OverDrive) is a fun and invigorating trip down memory lane for Housewives fans. It reads like one of the end-of-the-season reunions on the shows, when all the ladies gather to rehash big arguments and drama in hopes of resolving any unfinished business. Quinn dedicates a chapter to each franchise and guides us through the most memorable scenes. With constant commentary from the Housewives themselves, secrets are revealed and new perspectives are offered on some of the most iconic moments.
Brian Moylan’s The Housewives (also available in ebook and eaudiobook format from Libby/OverDrive) doesn’t offer quite as many juicy tidbits as Not All Diamonds and Rosé, but it’s no fault of Moylan’s. He wasn’t willing to bend to Bravo’s rules for the book and, thus, the Housewives were asked not to speak with him. This book, however, excels in its examinations of the fanbase and their perspectives. One of the most interesting chapters details a fan-attended Vicki Gunvalson weekend trip to Puerto Vallerta, where Moylan details his interactions with fellow super fans and Vicki herself. Moylan peppers in lists detailing essential episodes for first-time viewers as well as his ranking of Housewife-released dance singles.
I highly recommend both of these books to any Real Housewives fan or to anyone curious to take a peek behind the scenes of a long-running reality franchise.
Emily is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and re-watching old seasons of Survivor.