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Emma McChesney & Co Paperback – September 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Along with being good stories these books charmed and fascinated me by presenting a lively picture of how people lived, thought, worked, played, dressed, traveled, raised their children, and fell in love 100 years ago during the early decades of the 1900’s. In one chapter Emma was forced to deal with wealthy lady organizers bent promoting their pet cause, which wasn’t “Votes for women” as I had guessed, but instead a self-righteous insistence based on their rigid uneven morality that working class “girls” must be convinced to dress with drab unassuming modesty as befits their station. I would have been disappointed if Emma turned out to be an anti-suffragette, but Emma was right to poke a little good natured fun at these women.
Ferber wrote all three Emma McChesney novels long enough ago that they’re in the public domain so free ebook versions can be downloaded from sites like Project Gutenberg or here on Amazon. I listened to superbly narrated audio versions available on the Libravox website that made me almost enjoy my commute--I had witty Emma and her adventures to keep me occupied.
It starts off with a business trip to South America. I'm in an odd position here. I've been reading several other 1910-1925 novels, some of which have South Americans in them. By present day standards, the depiction of South Americans in this book is very very sterotyped (especially the women) which is disappointing. Compared to the other novels I've been reading written in the same era, this book is much more fair & balanced. But even considering that, once again Ferber writes about real business - about South American buyers complaining more about the inefficiencies of US packaging vs. European packaging and what it will add to the cost of shipping.
And then she moves on to sexism. She sends her boss & love interest out on a sales trip to the Midwest for the first time and then is disappointed to find that everyone wants to deal with him instead of her when she comes home.There's also a very funny chapter on country club women trying to enforce a "sensible" dress code on working girls and a lovely finally chapter on being a grandmother.
It's the freshness of the relationships I love. She and the love interest have no idiot misunderstandings; they work as a team; her daughter in law is as smart as she is and they have no quibbles between them and in 1914, Ferber suggests that a married couple can get on each other's nerves and need a break without assuming it means divorce.
I understand why Ferber had to stop writing these books - but I would have loved to have heard Emma on the 1920s.
I ordered it - it briefly appeared on the screen and disappeared -
Obviously it didn't work -
I don't think that I will try again -