was one of the books I bought at yesterday's Book Fair, an annual Rotary event, where 30000 books are on sale for mainly $1 or $2 each.
I suppose that many are books from estates: they have noticeably changed over the last few years. There are few now by Taylor Caldwell, Robert Penn Warren, Lloyd C. Douglas, Daphne du Maurier, Irwin Shaw and such. How grand their titles were: "Dear and Glorious Physician", "A Many Splendored Thing", "The Robe", "The Citadel".
I had read "The Egg and I" years ago, and thought it hilarious. Her neighbours, Ma and Pa Kettle, became characters of comedy in their own right.
Re-reading it, I see it as a funny, brave and bright spin over hardship and disappointment.
Rising at 4 a.m. each day was a necessity. Having to walk 4 miles to the neighbours to borrow matches or such, she blames on her own forgetfulness. But I resented very much, on her behalf, (tho' she did too) ,that she had to scrub her white pine floor every day, because of her husband's insistence that "it was a badge of fine housekeeping, a labour of love, and a woman's duty to her husband."
When she says elsewhere, that she will never again feel more ecstatic than on hearing the distant sound of her husband's truck returning from town, we see the clash of love and frustration that shattered the marriage.
There is far more description - of sunrises and mountains and panoramas - than would be allowed now. But few readers then, I suppose, would have had any knowledge of the Olympic Mountains or Washington State, so I speculate that it may have been of general interest.
She writes with an easy, warm and witty voice, and with deftness. Of the winter monotony, she says: "The days slipped down like junket, leaving no taste on the tongue."
I salute you, Betty MacDonald. I feel fortunate to have found you again at the Book Fair.