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The Future Homemakers of America Paperback – October 1, 2002


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The strong-minded Bathsheba Everdene—and the devoted shepherd, obsessed farmer and dashing soldier who vie for her favor—move through a beautifully realized late 19th-century countryside, still almost untouched by the encroachment of modern life. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release a movie version of Far from the Madding Crowd May 1st. Learn more
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446679364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446679367
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This sixth novel by Graham (Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights; etc.) gets off to a slow start, but once it picks up its pace, it delivers a true, funny and wry portrait of six women friends from WWII to the 1990s, as well as of America's changing social mores and attitudes. Peggy Dewey, wife of Air Force pilot Vern, meets Audrey, Gayle, Lois, Betty and Kath, all Air Force wives, while Vern is on assignment in England during WWII. Though these women would most likely never have been friends under other circumstances, friends they become, and over the years Peggy is their linchpin, keeping in contact with everyone through good times and bad. The lives of the women take turns they never would have imagined as traditional military wives. Audrey's upwardly mobile officer husband dies; Gayle, the nervous young bride with the alcohol problem, becomes a famous faith healer; Betty, the "pie crust queen," has problems with her children; Lois bears a child outside of her marriage, passing it off as her husband's, though the girls suspect the truth; Kath, their English friend, and Peggy, start their own businesses. Through it all, they stay in touch, supporting, counseling and wisecracking all the way. By the end, readers will feel so close to the girls they'll be shedding tears of sheer recognition. Graham has truly captured women's friendships through thick and thin, and Peggy is a gem-matter-of-fact, grounded, funny and fresh. If readers can get past the stodgy beginning, this novel should sell itself by word of mouth.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1952, five women bond when their husbands are stationed on the same U.S. Air Force base in England. Peggy Dewey, a no-nonsense Texan, narrates the saga of their friendship, which expands to include Kath Pharaoh, an Englishwoman they meet at King George's funeral procession. The six women go through 47 years of births, divorces, illnesses, deaths, and amazing career changes. The fast-forward ending, more of an epilog, is a bit of a disappointment, not because it's poorly written but because you're reluctant to say good-bye to Peg and her friends so abruptly. Fans of such novels as Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends, Terry McMillan's Waiting To Exhale, and other female friendship titles will relish the humor and pathos, as well as the well-defined characters, who maintain their connection to one another for almost half a century. Graham, the author of 15 books, both fiction (The Man for the Job) and nonfiction (The Parent's Survival Guide), has also written radio plays for the BBC. A welcome addition to most popular fiction collections.
Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Don't get me wrong; it was a good story.
Pam Gardner
I didn't think all characters were fully developed and Laurie Graham rushed the story...like she had other places to go.
Kleijn, F.
And the reality of that incorporation is that many women find their best friendships to be with gay men.
dikybabe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By shirley lieb on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
My daughter recommended this book to me over Thanksgiving. In fact, I took her copy home to read. From the first meeting of all the characters, I loved these women and could commiserate with their lives. Graham perfectly describes life in the Uk right after the war. It was still pretty dull and dreary. Country people were just like Kath.
Peggy, the protagonist, is the glue that holds the book and the characters together. Through life and death, famine and fortune, as well as the normal ups and downs of daily life, we are given a good dose of tolerance as well as hope.
Peggy waits it out for a better relationship with her daughter. She is ahead of her time by befriending and choosing Grice as her co-worker. She is patient with the bizarre behavior of her other friends.
I did find it rather sad that so many of the men in the book were losers. However, by being such, these women were given more of a chance to develope themselves into more interesting people.
The fifties were a time of change. Women had so much freedom during the war years and now their men came back and could not tolerate having wives as smart if not smarter than them. The military wives even more so had to play the game.
Graham does a wonderful job of describing in detail the appearances, clothing, and decor of every character and setting.
The saddest thing is the condition that was passed on from John Pharoah's liaison with Lois. With little information in those times, an unsupervised John was an accident waiting to happen. It shows though that with the changing times, Kath brought the issue to the forefront, thus sparing another generation agony. Although, Kirk's son tested free of the dreaded Huntington's disease.
I want to read more of Laurie Graham's book now. They are wonderful, relaxing and hard to put down. Just one tiny error. She has President and Mrs. Reagan attending Diana's wedding, when in fact it was Mrs. Reagan alone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book truly did have a slow start - had to force myself through the first 40-50 pages. After that, the characters began to come to life and grow. As American military wives during the early 1950's in rural England, the five women are left to fend for themselves while their macho husbands train. As a working mother in 2002, their narrow minded devotion to and acceptance of their situation within the military seemed almost overblown. They were known as "DW's", dependent wives, and they lived up to their acronym. It was fun to watch as they grew up and out of the military cradle, learned to function without the safety net and deal with the turmoil around them. The setting of current (for that time) events in the US grounds the story in a more realistic vein as the book progresses. It was also interesting to see that as flyers, friends and co-workers, the men had brought the women into the situation where they became friends, yet after they left the military, the men drifted completely apart and the women stayed in touch. As I got to know the women, I laughed at Betty, worried about Gayle, wanted to thump Lois, and figured that Audrey would get what was coming to her. This book is a great read once it gets going.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kleijn, F. on January 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
A fun and lovely read but that is all!
It didn't move me like " divine secrets of the ya-ya's" and certainly didn't "stay" with me.
I didn't think all characters were fully developed and Laurie Graham rushed the story...like she had other places to go.
In my opinion there was great potential here...such a shame that she didn't take the time to let the characters grow on you!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trail Runner on November 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading several masterpieces of literature with unlikable characters, this book was exactly what I craved! I wanted a light and fun read with characters I could care about.
This book reminded me of the Ya-Ya sisters with a lot less disfunction. (Of course there was enough disfunction to keep it interesting.) I agree with the criticism - especially about the males being extremely stereotypical, but I appreciated the evolution of the female characters, how the most irritating characters evolved into the more likable after many years.
I recommended this book to the women in my book club who wanted something between ultra-serious novels. Sometimes reading should be simply fun, and this book is!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Puri on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
While a lot of reviewers have remarked that this book was slow to start, I personally thought it was written at just the right pace in order for us to learn about all of the characters and be able to distinguish them from each other.
For me, the book was very enjoyable. It gives a little bit of historical perspective on military wives in the 1950s. I'm not sure how accurate this book is in the portrayal of military life and thereafter, however, it seemed very believeable and all the characters were interesting to read about as they matured over time.
I give it 4 stars since it's not the best book I've ever read, however I would recommend it as a well written light read with substance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Dolley on November 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book did have a slow start...but after plowing through the first 50 or so pages the story picks up! I cared about each of the characters and loved how it was so true to life....one minute your inseparable friends, th enext you only get together in crisis or celebration (Funerals, weddings...).
I loved the developement of Kathy and her relationship with the women.
I also loved the way that the author subtly incorporated what was going on in society into the book (Crystal's jaunt in "flower child", Grice's coming out, The greedy 80's (Through Gayle and Lois) and woman's liberation in general for all these characters.
And, a previous reveiwer refers to the "going to London to see Queen Elizibeth's Coronation" saying it did not happen....it did happen...it just wasn't the main character, Peggy, who went.
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More About the Author

Laurie Graham's social comedies have been described as combining the sharpness of Florence King with the gentle Englishness of Alan Bennett.
A former radio script writer and journalist, Laurie has been let go by a prestigious raft of conservative broadsheets and glossy women's magazines.
Nothing daunted she now gives vent to her opinions on her own website http://www.lauriegraham.com and at http://www.sundaygrowler.com
She lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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The Future Homemakers of America
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