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The Egg and I Paperback – June 24, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Anyone who has ever struggled with a farm or even with a small garden will especially enjoy this breezy autobiography, But everyone will find its hilarious reminiscences of an unconventional childhood and of unique experiences in the Northwest Pacific sprightly, diverting, and excellent entertainment. The whole book crackles with the innocent deviltry of acorns hitting the roof-tops." -- "Saturday Review of Literature""For all the allegedly gloomy moments, The Egg and l is an astoundingly light-hearted book. The MacDonalds, one gathers, had both youth and gumption on their side, to say nothing of an abounding humor that bounced them over the direst crises." "-- New York Times"

About the Author

A longtime resident of Washington State, Betty MacDonald (1908-1958) authored four humorous, autobiographical bestsellers and several children's books, including the popular Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reissue edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060914289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060914288
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 11, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the funniest books ever written, The Egg and I is all the more remarkable because it sounds completely contemporary, even though it was written more than 50 years ago and describes events that took place more than 70 years ago. MacDonald had a relentlessly clear eye, a sharp, witty writing style and in her own way was as liberated as was possible for her time (she was divorced and a single mother when such things were considered heinous). And I'd like to say one thing: although she does write disparagingly of some Native Americans living in her area, I think this is more due to a specific dislike of certain people she met rather than a blanket prejudice (early in the book she talks about her love and admiration for the Plains Indians who lived near her childhood home). I think McDonald was a singularly unbiased person, something also unique for a white woman of her era; one only has to read about the close friendships she made with Japanese-American and African-American women in "The Plague and I" (her account of her stay in a tuberculosis sanitarium) to realize this. No misguided PC agenda should deter anyone from reading MacDonald's irreverent and hilarious stories. She was a terrific writer.
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Format: Paperback
For three days I read this book with a grin on my face and laughter in my belly. Towards the end of the book I was actually laughing out loud, with no one around to hear my glee. Betty describes, in wonderful detail, life on a chicken ranch and life with neighbors and various animals. Since I grew up in the country and my parents on a farm, I could relate to her wonderful descriptions of the sunrise and wild animals. I enjoyed it thoroughly and recommend this delightful read to anyone. (And I learned a few things about chickens as well.)
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Format: Hardcover
I can remember my mother reading this book fifty years ago, and even though she has long since passed away, to this day I can still hear her laughter while reading this book.

The more years that pass and the more technologically driven we become, the more hilarious "The Egg and I" becomes. Moving from a city to "the boonies" to raise chickens on a chicken farm is quite a challenge, especially in the 1940's which is the setting for this book. No electricity and no indoor plumbing are quite a jump from modern civilization even in that era. Of course, in that day, women were expected to be obedient wives, prepared to follow their husband's wild and sometimes bizarre dreams no matter where they may lead. The author tells it all in a matter of fact way, with a spicy, witty sense of humour. Almost every page will keep the reader laughing out loud. It is easy to see why this book remains popular 61 years after it was first published! Betty MacDonald is no longer with us, but her memory lives on and still continues to bring us joy and laughter through her books. Also recommended is her book, "Onions in the Stew."
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Format: Paperback
It is hard to image anyone NOT liking this book! Even if you don't know a thing about raising chickens or even if you do (I have given this book to two chicken-raising relatives!), this book is hilarious. I mean, I laughed out loud! Quite frankly, it is the best of her books for adults. Maybe that's because I could imagine life for a young, unsuspecting city girl in the untamed Northwest, trying to make a go of a life and a marriage she was clearly unsuited for. Sounds rough, huh? But Betty makes it fun, crazy and adventurous! Yes, it is true the language and depiction of the surrounding Native Americans can be rather off color. In fact her daughters mention this in the introduction of later printed versions of this book. Please try to take it with a grain of salt, for the times were different back then (the story takes place far before it was actually written) and I am sure if Betty were alive today her tone would be much more politically correct and sensitive. For this is not a story of a spoiled, racist girl in the wilderness, but rather the memoirs of a very funny and gifted young woman just trying to follow her mother's advice for a happy marriage by supporting her husband's career choice. I think this book is timeless and a must read no matter what generation you are from.
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Format: Paperback
Betty McDonald's books are timeless due to their wit, hilarity, wonderfully descriptive language, and their author's determination to find the positive or "funny" in any catastrophic situation, whether personal--failing marriage, or national--the Great Depression. She brings her environment and experience to life to such a degree that you literally smell, taste, and feel her words. When she's talking about food, you crave it; when she writes about gardening, you get the urge to go plant something, and when she describes the people close to her, you start missing your friends and family. Above all, however, her humor will help you through any crises of your own. It has helped me through quite a few, and I keep returning to her books over a decade after I have discovered them.

As for the author's racially charged remarks towards the pacific native Americans, I would love to encourage everyone to look past them and realize McDonald's limitations in her views given by the period of her life, the culture of that period, and the upbringing she received that stemmed from her socioeconomic and ethnic background. Yes, some of the comments might make today's educated person cringe a bit, but take them as a reminder of how far we have come. Keep in mind that we all have the same limitations of our understanding as she did, but we have the benefit of 60 some odd years of progress.
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