Quirky House

The Black Widow - Ronnie Whitaker
Black Widow

A good option for Woman's Day...

Introducing the Black Widow

At 39, in her second marriage, balancing a busy career, two step children, two of her own and setting a perfect example for the superwoman syndrome, Ronnie Whitaker was struck down by an illness which had her bedridden and in a wheelchair for ten years. As her health gradually improved, she realised that she needed a job she could do lying down. Somewhat overweight and a little too past the sell-by date for the age-old profession, she had to opt for other ways of earning money in bed. With her experience and skill in research and writing, and with her husband’s good idea of having a heart attack during this time of soul searching, it was a natural progression that she should write a little book on “how to kill your husband.” Well, she thinks it was a natural progression. Others might think it’s... well... um... insane.

Since the 2001 launch of her book "How to Kill Your Husband" (Spearhead; New Africa books) Ronnie Whitaker has made waves around  the country with her hysterically funny"Why he has to die"speech. In a cynical, funny and honest approach, Ronnie will have you examining your lifestyle and preparedness for surprise – be it a heart attack or a husband suffering from the Lolita syndrome.

As Ronnie says, "through laughter we learn." What you learn could be dangerous to your significant other, depending on where you stand, but you will laugh – that’s a guarantee.

Her tongue-in-cheek book "How to Kill Your Husband" (which pre-dates Kathy "Lett’s borrow a quotation" book of the same name by some six years) has sold out in the bookshops but the black widow remains in demand as a speaker and is more popular than the book(s) ever were.

Press Release for the launch of HOW TO KILL YOUR HUSBAND
- By Ronnie Whitaker

Publisher: Spearhead Press.

Released : September 2001

A tongue-in-cheek little gift book, primarily aimed at women in unsatisfying relationships, “How to Kill Your Husband,” draws together much of prevailing knowledge on maintaining bad (or good, depending on how you look at it) health, with a specific focus on heart disease.

But, instead of concentrating on what has to be done to improve health, this little book gives excellent advice on how to create bad health and ultimately a fat insurance payout for the surviving spouse. 

Written by Ronnie Whitaker with cartoons by Eidin Griffin, “How to Kill Your Husband” is the ideal gift for that embittered friend, who has a sense of humour as well as a bad husband. To ensure that the soon-to-be-dead husband remains blissfully unaware of his doting wife’s intentions, the book comes with an innocent looking dust cover, proclaiming “Don’t judge this book by its cover”.  It is only when the cover is removed that the actual intent is revealed by the real title, alongside a cartoon of a happy widow (and her cat) standing next to a coffin!

Intended as a humorous study on the alternative to divorce and a wife getting what she deserves, ie the insurance pay-out, this could be the jolt we all need to take a closer look at our own mortality risk related to lifestyle. It offers food for thought on issues of longevity, unhealthy diets and relationships, along with some delicious recipes to ensure weight gain and increased cholesterol levels.

“How to Kill Your Husband” was not written by a man-hater, though it might give the  opposite impression. “I love men!” protests Ronnie.  “It’s just that some of them are nicer dead. It’s also a fact that a lot of men don’t hang around and grow old with their loyal wives. They don’t find it difficult to choose between a sexy, gold digging Lolita and a 50-year old wife with sagging boobs. I am just offering women a way of fighting back.”
As the biggest killer in the world, heart disease is not a subject to be taken lightly. Why, one would ask, would anybody want to produce a gift book like this?  “Apart from helping deserving sisters collect, there was actually some serious rationale behind it,” says Ronnie. “We were shocked when my husband had a heart attack out of the blue. He had been given an excellent bill of health by doctors and cardiologists, after annual examinations and tests. We were vegetarians. He has never smoked and only has the occasional glass of wine or shandy. Apart from genetics, he did not have any of the risks normally associated with heart disease. He is underweight, plays tennis regularly, cycles and runs. Tests had always shown a low cholesterol reading. Although the ratio between the “good” and the “bad” cholesterol was getting worse each year, no doctor pointed out the significance of that to us”. 

While investigating possible causes of chronic heart disease (CHD), Ronnie became aware of the many varied risks that could contribute to heart disease. Things like the role of depression and stress and Triglycerides hidden under the fat free label. 

“I discovered that one can hide a lot more cholesterol and fat in a presumably healthy vegetarian meal than in a piece of steak” she says. “Apart from genetics,  I realised  that I, as loving wife, had been playing a rather important role in the process of developing chronic heart disease.  After discussing the concept with friends, many of whom really do deserve to be happy widows, I started this project as a tongue in cheek “opposites” guide. I suppose one could describe the book as the “Full Monty Programme for CHD”. If a few well-deserving and long-suffering women can use this information to their advantage, why not?

“The average man doesn’t need much help in killing himself off through lifestyle, though. Consider the average Sunday breakfast, especially in Britain where heart attacks kill over 250 000 a year. Two sausages, five rashers of bacon, two fried eggs, hot buttered toast, fried tomato, mushrooms and potato – must be about 150 grams of fat in one meal. Mmm I must check the stats for heart attacks on Sundays …..”

The lethal little book includes tips on how to innocently create psychological “un-well-being”, such as stress and depression and outlines examples of disease creating lifestyle habits. For the wives who wish to inflict punishment but not death, there is even a section on the painful condition of gout and how to cause it.

“To help fellow killers to maintain a delicious unhealthy diet I have included many of my own incredible full fat / full cholesterol as well as high uric acid (for gout) recipes.”

We have to ask. Is the writer still happily married? 
“He read the book and left to live in England, the land of fried breakfasts and the highest incidence of heart disease in the world” says Ronnie. The insurance policies are ceded, so she should care!

“How to Kill Your Husband” is published by Spearhead Press and retails at about R90. In all major book stores   


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