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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  44 reviews

The classic tale of leaving the city and building a house in the country, only to find country life isn't so simple. But it is hilarious.

Mr. Blandings, a successful New York advertising executive, and his wife want to escape the confines of their tiny midtown apartment. They design the perfect home in the idyllic country, but soon they are beset by construction troubles,

Paperback, 228 pages
Published February 11th 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1946)
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So You're a Homeowner...
23rd out of 91 books — 52 voters
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Classic Film Adaptations: The 1940s
25th out of 51 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

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I've been wanting to read this for ever (it seems), as the Cary Grant movie based on the book is one of my favorite black and white "oldie-goldies".

What a letdown the book was. Not even a fraction as funny, charming and endearing as the movie. The coarse language came as an added (and unwelcome) surprise considering this was written in the 1940's. At times, I even found it a depressive story; rather ironic considering it's supposed to be a humorous story of the trials and tribulations of home ow
This is a hard book to know how to rate. It's a story of a husband and wife who decide to buy a home in the country so they can have an idyllic life away from the noise and bustle of the city. You could also say it's a book about a mid-life crisis. Their decisions are mainly emotional, hasty, and unprepared for so they get into a bunch of hassle and get taken advantage of at every turn. At times it was amusing, though most of the time I found it rather annoying. Most of their true problems could ...more
Hysterical!! 1930s semi-screwball comedy of errors in which a Manhattan couple decides to build a house in the country. Everything that can go wrong...

Made me feel better about my own real estate fumblings. It was also highly quotable, as when Mr. Blandings learns that he must pay the full balance of the mortgage because he didn't get the consent of the mortgage holder before tearing down the house to build a new one:

"I make it a point not to criticize your drinking habits, even when I do not
One summer in my middle school years I frequently stayed up late, watching on television the movie being shown on "The Late Show" (there was a different movie every night). I remember seeing the film version of this book then. Cary Grant starred in it as Mr. Blandings.

This book is essentially a comedic tale of a naive advertising executive and his wife in New York City who buy an old country home in Connecticut. As things turn out they have to tear down the house and have a new one built. By the
Hilarious! Just as good as the 1948 Cary Grant movie based on it. The major difference between the novel and the movie is that the movie's time line is majorly compressed (the whole story takes place in a single season) compared to the novel's (the story takes place over a few years). Also, the movie imposed a past romantic history between Mrs. Blandings and the lawyer Bill Cole, which wasn't evident in the book. Most characters in the movie were very true to their counterparts in the novel, how ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Kitty rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mom, Dad, Mike
My mom and dad ran a custom home building company, one where I grew up half on job sites and the other half sitting quietly in a corner as clients discussed what they wanted. For reasons that would become apparent, the movie with Cary Grant, Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, was one of their favorites.

I didn't even know it was a book until recently, and immediately checked it out from the library. If you're familiar with the movie - and liked it - take heart, because the script paid close att
This was a nice little trip back in time, but it also shows the more things change the more they stay the same. Home renovation/redecoration never goes the way you plan & it NEVER costs what you think it should!!!
Mr and Mrs Blandings find there dream home, but it quickly turns into a nightmare. A book for anyone who's bought a house only to discover all the things the seller neglected to mention.
Aug 16, 2008 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every homeowner and especially for prospective homebuilders!
No reader, even if his adventure in construction never went beyond adding a closet to an apartment, or redecorating an office, will fail to discover somewhere in this architectural saga himself (and one's ability to be suckered). I discovered this delightful book while reading Architectural Digest (June 1991). They ran an article entitled:"Mr Blandings' Dream House - Revisiting an American Icon in Connecticut." I was so intrigued, I read the book, researched the author and the house in Connectic ...more
Sarah Sammis
In the BookCrossing forums there is a long standing debate about film adaptations of books. With a well-read group of people, there is a lot of reluctance in the group at seeing the film adaptations as they are so often changed. I am firmly in the camp of film adaptation lovers. With so many books published every year it is impossible to read a significant cross section of them. Add up all the previous years and one is quickly faced with an avalanche of books! That's where the film adaptations c ...more
Dec 10, 2008 Phil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone doing home construction or even renovation.
Shelves: fiction
There is no one who has ever built a home or a major addition that can't relate to this book.

Written in the mid-1940s, it was made into a movie in the early 50's with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy that virtually used the book as a script, not merely a story line. Both are hilarious.

To escape the tiny Manhattan apartment, the Blandings decide to buy a house in suburban Connecticut - a creaky old house that they quickly decide (or is decided for them) to tear down. The modest house Mr. Blandings envi
Basil D
Can say for certain that this book is utterly brilliant and worth at least 4.5 stars for sheer truthfulness and insight. Couldn't entirely appreciate this truthfulness however, as the comedy struck too close to home to be enjoyable! When you're reading about the trials of building a home and every situation seems familiar (either because you've fallen into these traps in the past, or can easily see yourself doing so in the future), the laughs become morbid.

On a more positive note, the language i
There are few stories funnier than the epic quest for the dream house. Probably folks in the Bronze Age swapped info about the pitfalls of various caves. And for the USian audience, nothing beats the tale of a New Yorker confidently embarking on life in some hinterland or other like Connecticut, and encountering the fearsome beasts known as "locals".
Lots of fun. Please read this before you go and build a house! (Pro tip: as of 2014, multiply every dollar number in this book by 16 to adjust for inflation.)
Aug 13, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: humor, novel
This is a really, really funny book, touching on just about every nightmare a home owner could possibly imagine. Eric Hodgins put his never-used engineering degree from M.I.T. to work overtime, to come up with dilemmas from jacking up the sagging foundation, to the famous"Taj Mahal" closet with changes totaling $1247.00. Mr. Blandings and his equally long-suffering wife are never mentioned by first name, but they still come across as the vulnerable, fallible type of people most of us are when co ...more
I don't know if you've seen the old Cary Grant movie made from this book, but my advice is to watch the movie and not worry about the book. It was really stressful--one catastrophe after another, without all that fun Cary Grantness to give you some comic relief. There was humor, and it was pretty well-written, but I just couldn't enjoy it because it was riddled with too much swearing. It was written in the 40's, for heaven's sake! I just didn't expect it to be so foul. And I think it hit too clo ...more
Quite entertaining! A delightful story that now compels me to get the movie. Another reader had commented on the excessive vulgarity of the dialogue. I did find it a bit much considering the social standards at the time, but usually reasonably well positioned in the story, so with only a couple of exceptions did I find it excessive. For someone looking to build his own dream house, it has lessons that will be useful later. A quick read for anyone looking a light, enjoyable story.
This is a light read of the pitfalls of "dream house" construction. Loved this! Even though it was written a long time ago, the unforeseen and potential train wrecks of the project still ring true. The only thing that didn't was the costs and prices. We would all love to build such a house for the same price tag today!

This book inspired the movie "The Money Pit", although the story lines are quite different. Enjoy for a quick read when your attention spam is short.
Aug 03, 2008 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Preservation-interested people or anyone contemplating building a house.
This is the only book I have ever read that I did not prefer to the movie rendition. It is a fun look at the process of building a home in post-WWII America. Some historic preservation issues come up in it, including when is it appropriate to buy an old house to tear down and rebuild a different one? The movie is funnier than the book, but I recommend this read to anyone contemplating building a house with their spouse. This couple is the terror of many architects.
A total delight….anyone building or remodeling should read this book…it’s too hilarious and true!! As for the movie…..the original with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy was wonderful….and of course while reading I did envision Cary and Myrna. The movie was a good adaptation….if you enjoyed the movie you will love the book many more laughs.

I love finding these old treasures at book sales….1946!! The illustrations (William Steig) make this book a bit more special for me.
This bestselling comic novel of postwar suburbia, a sort of genteel forerunner of The Money Pit (not to mention the earlier 1942 film, "George Washington Slept Here" with Jack Benny and a similar theme), was promptly made into a great movie in the late 40's with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. I spotted this 1946 original printing at Goodwill for 50 cents this evening. The first page I opened had someone calling someone else a bastard, so I was sold. Review soon.
Stephanie McCown
Funny from beginning to end! Have you ever seen "The Money Pit"? If so, and you enjoyed it, then this book will surely have you laughing from the first few pages on to the very last period. What starts out as a quest to build a simple home away from the madness of the city becomes something else entirely as the unfortunate Mr. Blandings soon learns. No spoilers here! You must read this masterfully written book and learn of the fate of Mr. Blandings for yourself!

I love the Cary Grant movie and I just ran across the 1974 reprint of this 1946 book in the stacks at work. Can't wait to read it. The house in the movie was my ideal for a long time...maybe still is.

The book was good. I have to say, rare for me, the movie is better. But they are different enough that the book was well worth reading.

Guess you just can't beat Cary Grant and Myrna Loy though...going to pick up the DVD from the library soon.
Lisa Guidarini
This is one of the Guardian's Top 1,000 novels? It's slow, repetitive and, well, repetitive. Certainly I've read worse. But I've read an awful lot better. It takes forever for the Blandings to get anywhere near deciding what their dream house is, while they play the back and forth real estate purchasing game. By the time things are settling I've lost all interest. What's so great here? It passed me by, that's for sure.
OK do I love the book, or do I love the Cary Grant movie, which I will watch soon as a follow up? Possibly both. I have read the book before (I have the 1956 edition, dog eared and yellow paged) and I also have seen the movie. This book is a great reason why people should not bild houses. Funny, satirical, totally believeable, and it really does give a feeling for America in the 1940s.
Michael Watson
This has been one of my favorite movies for years. I found the book at an antique shop and curiosity took over. As one would expect, it was different, but overall the story was just as good. Though it may be difficult to find this book and it would be a bit outdated (1946), I would still recommend it to anyone who has gone through the process of having a house built or planning to.
A fun look at buying and building a house in the 40s. Light and wry, it chronicles some upper middle income city dwellers trying to carve out some rural paradise in Upstate NY. At first, you might not feel too bad for the rich people who have problems with real estate, but the troubles they run into are so universal, you can't help getting on board emotionally!
This is one of those tangential books mentioned in class that the prof. expects to be general knowledge or something that you'd read and reinforce their point in the lesson. I finally read it two years later. This isn't about to change your life and is outmoded to today's reader, but funny enough for the casual reader on short subway rides.
This was a fun read for the first few chapters--with a tone a lot like a New Yorker "Talk of the Town" column from the 30s. Years ago, I saw and enjoyed the madcap Cary Grant film which was loosely based on this and I think I might recommend that over the eventually-tiresome book.
Cynthia  Scott
Delightful book which became a popular movie in the 50's. Rather like Tracy Kidder's "House" but firmly lodged in another era.
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Born 1899, Eric Francis Hodgins was the American author of the popular Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1946). Hodgins served as editor in chief of The Youth Companion, associate editor of Redbook, and then as associate editor of Fortune magazine. He became publisher of Fortune in 1937, and a vice president of Time Inc. in 1938. He quit Time Inc. in 1946 to write full-time.

His novels also inc
More about Eric Hodgins...
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