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Egg and I by Betty MacDonald
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Egg and I (edition 1989)

by Betty MacDonald

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8632810,340 (3.96)92
Member:KittyMommy
Title:Egg and I
Authors:Betty MacDonald
Info:Amereon Limited (1989), Hardcover
Collections:Mom, Currently reading, Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:mom, food

Work details

The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald

  1. 00
    Diary of a Provincial Lady [Single Book] by E. M. Delafield (Bjace)
    Bjace: Seems odd, but both Delafield and MacDonald were city gals transplanted to country situations and their reactions and sense of humor were similar.
  2. 00
    The road to Andorra by Shirley Deane (cbl_tn)
  3. 00
    Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance: Reflections on Raising Chickens by Martin Gurdon (bertilak)
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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
My original The Egg and I audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

The Egg and I is a hilarious book that touches on the life of the author. We see her life as a small child leading into adulthood. The main focus of the book is her life as a wife while living on a chicken farm in the 1920-30’s. The book explores a life that most of us have never lived – no running water, raising chickens, no electricity, and other staples we take for granted now days.

This was the life of our grandparents and great-grandparents – the simple life which for us would NOT be so simple. The characters Ms. McDonald created are loveable and full of joy and life – Ma and Pa Kettle, Gertie and more that are downright hilarious. The bartering system, hoping to find the illegal still during a raging fire, the dances, and other moments of social interaction will leave you in stitches! The hard work of canning, sewing, raising livestock and surviving in a time when things were NOT just a keystroke or phone call away. Life was hard, life was real and Betty MacDonald does an excellent job of portraying that in her audiobook.

Her characters were well-developed and shared in the humor, wit, and sarcasm. She was respectful to everyone; no one was openly shamed or humiliated. One thing we all tend to forget about, things change over time. This book is about a time period where everything was clearer, simpler and more down-to-earth than they are now.

I remember when I would watch the Egg and I or the Ma and Pa Kettle movies on TV. My great-grandmother would say things like, “I remember when our well went dry or the barn caught on fire or your grandpa disappeared for two days cause he had to hide his still or how the chickens didn’t lay eggs for months.”

This is a great audiobook for hearing and learning about the “old” days – who people were and what they did. I think most would scratch their heads and think this was a nightmare – and for some, it would be but for those that lived back then – it was life. It was real. Life was treasured.

A classic treasure that accurately portrays the life between a farmer and a city gal; the hardships of living; the social interactions and working at home versus working out of an office.

Heather Henderson, the narrator, completely owned this book! She gave the characters and incidents life while connecting to the listeners and drawing them in. She projected the vivid emotions and feelings of each character.

There were no issues with the quality of the audio production of this book.

Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Apr 5, 2017 |
The Egg and I is a mostly autobiographical account about Betty MacDonald’s time on a chicken farm in the late 1920s in Washington state. Filled with humor, there’s plenty of odd characters, hardships to over come, new foods to be explored, and eggs to be gathered, cleaned, and packaged for sale.

The story starts off with a brief, but laughter-inducing, account of Betty’s school years leading up to her whirlwind romance with Bob, their marriage, and then moving to the Pacific Northwest in search of heaven – a chicken farm of their own! Betty isn’t your typical heroine with perfect hair and stylish figure. Nope, she’s like all the rest of us. She was considered rather too tall for the times, being 5 ft 9 in. I like that she had a belly and rough hands and messy hair. In many ways she’s a very practical person, but she’s still a city girl moving to the country, so there’s plenty for her to learn.

There is one big negative to this book, which was typical of the time period (this book was originally published in 1945): racist remarks towards Native Americans. At the time, such remarks were common and considered accurate. Thankfully, our society as a whole has grown and such remarks today would not sit well with me at all. In truth, even in a historical perspective, these remarks make me a bit angry. However, I am glad that the publisher decided to keep the book as it was originally written instead of washing out these remarks, maintaining the historical accuracy of views at that time, and showing that people of every ethnicity, including the author, are flawed.

OK, so now that that is out of the way, there’s plenty I enjoyed about this book. First, this story spoke to me in many ways. My husband and I some years ago left city life for rural living and had a little farm. We had to go through many of the same learning curves as Betty – starting a fire every day in winter to heat the house, irrigation, gardening, chickens, plowing with equines, stray dogs getting into our property, etc. While we have indoor plumbing, it’s not too hard to picture Betty briskly walking out to the outhouse on a crisp autumn morning.

The Pacific Northwest, and several places named in this book, hold a special place in my heart. Having family in Port Angeles and Seattle, we have visited the area many times. So it was a real treat to see these places through Betty’s eyes in the late 1920s when things were really rugged. She talks of all the edible local foods including the Dungeness crabs and the geoduck clams. Having a chicken farm, they were never short of eggs, so she learned to add an extra egg or two to any recipe that called for eggs, and to a few recipes that did not.

Ma and Pa Kettle feature prominently in the story, being some of the closest neighbors to the isolated chicken farm. There’s also the Hicks, who are eccentric in other ways. I think anyone who moves to the country will find a bevvy of interesting characters in the area and Betty doesn’t skimp on telling how odd her neighbors are. Also, Betty told amusing tales about the animals on the farm, her husband Bob, and inanimate objects, like the wood-burning kitchen stove. She doesn’t leave herself out of this well-meaning, laughter-inducing critique either. There’s plenty of chuckles to go around.

It being a chicken farm, we have to talk about the chickens. Since Bob was often working away from the farm during the day, Betty was the main care-taker of all the beasties. I love her descriptions of all the loving labor she, and sometimes Bob, put into caring for these birds. There’s the daily cleaning of their houses, maintaining the fences around their yards, putting together their feed, tending to the chicks (which far too easily succumb to death), gathering the eggs, and regularly culling the flock. She very accurately describes how with any other beast, such care would be returned with affection. Not so with the chicken! So true, and I say that from a place of love for chickens.

While Betty often jokes, she also usually tells it like it is. I hope others enjoy this classic as much as I do.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Heather Henderson did a great job with this book. I love how she carries the humor, telling it with a sense of irony where needed. She has a unique voice for each character and her male voices are quite believable. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Dec 21, 2016 |
Her vicious rips against Native Americans aside (“it’s a good thing their land is being taken away from them”), this is a hilarious account of a newlywed wife’s experiences on her and her husband’s chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula. Daily she battles the rainy weather, the stubborn kitchen stove, their garden, the chickens and her husband’s demands while also putting up with wacky neighbors.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I've tagged this both "fiction" and "nonfiction". It is based on the author's time as a chicken farmer in the late 1920s, and is very entertaining. As a modern egg farmer, there were some parts that I could completely relate to, like her reflections on the nature of chickens and all the things that can go wrong with them. Having made a brief foray into the orchard business, I fully appreciated her description of her husband's pruning efforts. My strongest feeling as I read this book was a deep appreciation for all that I have: a farm with a well established infrastructure, barn mechanization, electricity, modern appliances, and running water. ( )
  SylviaC | Jan 20, 2016 |
I liked it as a kid but I suspect I now find the classism disturbing. ( )
  aulsmith | Oct 9, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Betty MacDonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hertenstein, RenateTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salvatore, AdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband.
—Shakespeare
Dedication
To my sister Mary, who has always believed that I can do anything she puts her mind to.
First words
Along with teaching us that lamb must be cooked with garlic and that a lady never scratches her head or spits, my mother taught my sister and me that it is a wife's bounden duty to see that her husband is happy in his work.
Kromě toho, že se jehněčí peče na česneku a že se dáma nikdy nedrbe na hlavě a neplivá na podlahu, vštěpovala maminka mým sestrám i mně, že svatosvatou povinností ženy je dbát a pečovat, aby její manžel byl spokojený ve své práci a ve svém povolání.
Quotations
Each time I looked out of a window or stepped out of doors, I was confronted by great, white, haughty peaks staring just above my head and doing their chilly best to make me realize that that was once a very grand neighbourhood and it was curdling their blood to have to accept 'trade'. We were there with our ugly little buildings and livestock, but, by God, they didn't have to associate with us or make us welcome. They, no doubt, would have given half their timer if they could have changed the locale to Switzerland and brushed us off with a nice big avalanche.
In case you are wondering why I didn't take a good book, settle down by the stove and shut-up, I would like to explain that Stove, as we called him, had none of the warm, friendly qualities ordinarily associated with the name. In the first place he was too old and, like some terrible old man, he had a big strong frame, a lusty appetite and no spirit of co-operation.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060914289, Paperback)

When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall—through chaos and catastrophe—this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor.

A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on an American frontier.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The author relates the joys and frustrations of life on a poultry farm in the mountains of Washington.

(summary from another edition)

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