The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Anybody Can Do Anything practically cavort off the page. How did [Betty MacDonald] do it? Seattle author Paula Becker has some answers in her compact, finely crafted biography.--Michael Upchurch"Seattle Times" (01/01/2016)
Paula Becker's astute, affectionate and often startling Looking for Betty MacDonald is the first biography of this singular American writer. . . . The biography fills in crucial and sometimes shocking gaps in her story, rendering MacDonald's achievements all the more extraordinary. . . . Becker is a historian and writes with a historian's precision, but she has a fan's insight and warmth. The result is a thorough and illuminating biography that, with any luck, will lead a new generation of readers to MacDonald's own remarkable work.--Jennifer Reese"Washington Post" (01/01/2016)
A smart and immensely readable portrait, taking readers through MacDonald's life. . . . Becker has combed every interview and profile, and her book veritably glows with MacDonald's recaptured wit. . . . Thanks to Paula Becker's exhaustive research and the compassionate, standard-setting book she's shaped out of it, 21st century readers can meet a much fuller and more fascinating version of that complex, challenging, laughing woman. Readers of her books will still want to thank her, but thanks to Looking for Betty MacDonald, they'll know her much better.--Steve Donoghue"Open Letters Monthly" (01/01/2016)
The pages zing with unexpected detail and nuggets of lacerating wit. . . . If you're Looking for Betty MacDonald, you need look no further.--Barbara McMichael"Kitsap Sun" (01/01/2016)
I was delighted to explore MacDonald's life and work through Paula Becker's thoughtful, painstakingly researched biography, and even more thrilled to see that University of Washington Press is going to be reprinting three hard-to-find later works by the bestselling author of The Egg and I Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew. . . . If you're not a MacDonald enthusiast, you will be soon. . . . We can be grateful that Becker has preserved it for us in words, and has given us valuable insights into her world, her books, her family, and the writer herself.--Lory Widmer Hess"Emerald City Book Review" (01/01/2016)
This volume will send readers away satisfied and eager to reread their favorite MacDonald books. Written in an easygoing style for the general reader, this book will appeal to anyone familiar with MacDonald's books who has found themselves curious about the author.--Stefanie Hollmichel "Library Journal "
Becker, allowed access to the trove of her subject's correspondence, has done eloquent, measured justice to the 'hungry ghost' of Betty MacDonald. . . . Looking for Betty MacDonald is a riveting account of a quick-fire, ambitious, mercurial intellect; the story of a woman who met the demands of both her sophisticated, struggling family and of her 'interesting times' with a defiant, pawky smile.--Imogen Russell Williams "Times Literary Supplement "
I was fully entranced by this book. . . . Through Becker's lens, MacDonald becomes something much more than her books and her movies. In fact, it's her presence in this narrative, her kind voice and apparent interest in MacDonald, that allows someone unfamiliar with the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books to also become interested in MacDonald.--YiShun Lai "Tahoma Literary Review "
"Thank goodness Paula Becker has resurrected the life story of Betty MacDonald, perhaps the only author who has ever made tuberculosis funny. Carefully researched and written with great warmth and spirit, Looking for Betty MacDonald reintroduces readers to a woman who may have been America's wittiest writer in the mid-twentieth century. We tend to think of observational comedy as a modern phenomenon, but it may have begun over 75 years ago on a chicken farm in Washington State."―Barron H. Lerner, MD, PhD, author of Contagion and Confinement: Controlling Tuberculosis along the Skid Road
"Readers of Betty MacDonald love her for her pluck and clear-eyed wit. Now Paula Becker presents the writer's brief but exuberant life in this timely and heartfelt biography. As she presses her palms to the polished wood floor of Betty's former home, I felt the melting joy and melancholy of the true soulmate."―George Meyer, writer for The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live
"A huge hit in her day, Betty MacDonald was too funny and too popular (and maybe too female) to be taken seriously. Paula Becker's Looking for Betty MacDonald―part biography, part literary criticism, part memoir―does a cracking job of rehabilitating this sparkling writer's reputation. There are those of us who have been true believers all along, poring over MacDonald's four hilarious and beautifully detailed memoirs of mid-century Northwest domestic life. Becker's book rounds out the picture, weaving the darker strands of the author's life story into a nuanced whole. "―Claire Dederer, author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses