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Cheaper by the Dozen (Perennial Classics) Paperback – May 28, 2002
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"Instructive, funny, and very readable." (School Library Journal)
From the Publisher
No growing pains have ever been more hilarious than those suffered loudly by the riotous Gilbreth clan. First, there are a dozen red-haired, freckle-faced kids to contend with. Then there's Dad, a famous efficiency expert who believes a family can be run just like a factory. And there's Mother, his partner in everything except discipline. How they all survive such escapades as forgetting Frank, Jr., in a roadside restaurant or going on a first date with Dad in the backseat or having their tonsils removed en masse will keep you in stitches. You can be sure they're not only cheaper, they're funnier by the dozen. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of a family (a big one) and of the two fascinating, unusual people who created it. It's also a look at the early years of the 20th century and how they changed life for all time. We think of it as a lazy, nostalgic time when people were rooted in tradition. In reality, it was a time of rapid change when Americans were excited about the future and their growing importance in the world. Industries were waking up to new ways of doing things that increased productivity. Increased productivity meant lower costs, which meant that the average citizen could enjoy products (like automobiles) that had been rich men's toys only a few years before. It was a time of prosperity and optimism.
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were efficiency engineers who were at the forefront of this movement. And like all engineers, they tended to run their home by the same principles that guided their profession. As their oldest daughter points out in her humorous-but-incisive introduction, a great deal of "regimentation" is absolutely necessary in a large family or chaos reigns. Not that there wasn't plenty of chaos anyway, and most of it is hilarious.
Lillian Gilbreth was of the generation called the "New Woman." Feminism wasn't born in the 1960's, but had its roots in the era when women were fighting for the right to attend college, to be professionals, and to vote. With her proud husband supporting her, this gentle but strong woman took her place in a profession that even today is still largely male-dominated. And she raised a houseful of children while she was doing it!
It's also the story of a successful marriage which tragically ended too soon. I love the contrast between the bombastic self-made man and the quiet girl from the wealthy California family. Each brought strengths into the partnership and they respected and supported each other both personally and professionally.
Yes, this is a book that would not (as we used to say) raise a blush on the cheek of a modest young lady (assuming you could find one) but it's also a down-to-earth telling of family life in an era when there were no "experts" telling people how to raise their children. The story of two very different people and how they loved and taught their large brood is not just entertaining, but educational. I loved this book as a child and I enjoyed reading it again. I can't really imagine anyone who WOULDN'T. It's a true classic.
The parents were innovative, world leaders in motion study and time-saving methods for industry and other disciplines; they were also very ingenious in the ways they trained their children in reading, math, languages, etc.; the children grew up clever, innovative clones of these two parents.
What a riot it must have been to be in that family, to observe the family as neighbors, and townsfolk.
Everyone should read this book. It will brighten their day and diminish their own problems and give courage to those parents with less than a half-dozen children at home.
I loved how their father constantly taught them. He was a remarkable man, amazing, and the children a reflection of him. Thankfully their mother's kindness balanced everything out and kept him in line, lol There are lots of lessons to be learned in this book.
Played well on Text-To-Speech