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Roast Beef Medium: The Business Adventures of Emma McChesney

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  132 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"I think I ought to tell you," she began, "that I never was a minister's daughter, and I don't remember ever havin' been deserted by my sweetheart when I was young and trusting. If I was to draw a picture of my life it would look like one of those charts that the weather bureau gets out-one of those high and low barometer things, all uphill and downhill like a chain of mou ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1913)
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Jaylia3
Oct 09, 2014 Jaylia3 rated it really liked it
Savvy, straight-talking, and self-reliant, Emma McChesney, is as witty and entertaining as the “fast-talking dames” found in old movies, but it’s closer to 1910 than 1930 or 40. Emma’s an early career woman, working as the Midwest sales representative for T.A. Buck’s Featherloom skirts and petticoats, and most of her life is spent on the road--traveling by train, sleeping in hotels, meeting the most interesting people, and outsmarting the male sales reps who are her competition. She’s still styl ...more
Debbie Zapata
Mar 14, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
I love Edna Ferber. Maybe old-fashioned sometimes, but funny, witty and fast-moving always. These stories follow Emma McChesney through a period in her life as a divorced mother making a career for herself as a traveling sales rep of a petticoat company, back in the day when traveling was a career for men only. I've read other stories about Emma McChesney, so I was familiar with her and the other characters, and I know how their lives will eventually unfold. But that did not take away the fun of ...more
Cherie
Jul 12, 2015 Cherie rated it really liked it
What a treat! I will be searching for more Edna Ferber's stories of Mrs. McChesney. What an amazing woman.
"When Emma McChesney aimed to get things out of the way she did not use a shovel; she used a road-drag."
Pascale
So sad that I should be the first one to review this reprint of what was, in its day (1911), a very successful book, and justly so. Emma McChesney, a wise and feisty Yankee if there ever was one, is an immensely endearing heroine. Forced to earn a living after a bitter divorce, Emma has become a traveling saleswoman. The book starts when she is 36, with a son about to graduate high school. Emma makes a good living, but at what price! Not only does she have to put up with the discomforts of exhau ...more
Emily
Feb 01, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
I wish I could have given this one 3.5 stars, but it was a fun read overall, so I'll err on the side of generosity. Interesting to read these early "strong woman" stories that frequently walk a fine line between emerging feminist thought and adherence to (or perhaps nostalgia for) traditional male/female roles.
Gwen
Dec 09, 2014 Gwen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: Shakesville QOTD posting about strong women in literature
Shelves: fiction
Decent fiction work. Traveling petticoat saleswoman, single mother. Fascinating look at what it means to be a single woman traveling throughout America on business, dealing with bosses and society. Kind of a sell-out at the end, but a great look at a strong woman.
Wendy Bertsch
This book, written in 1913, was way ahead of its time. It’s a loosely connected series of chapters about Emma McChesney, not a sweet young thing, but rather an attractive 35-year-old divorcee with a grown so,n who makes a good living as a travelling saleswoman, outperforming the men in her field. Tough, competent and fast-talking, with an earthy sense of humour, Emma was an icon of feminism, at the time. Be prepared to make allowance for a heavy dose of early twentieth century slang, because Emm ...more
Pamela
Nov 10, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it
There is nothing NOT to love in this book! And the ending--Perfection!
Laura McDonald
Feb 04, 2011 Laura McDonald rated it really liked it
Emma McChesney has a clear head on her shoulders. She has a straightforwardness that I find lacking in popular fiction/movies these days. Speaking of movies, while reading this I couldn't help being reminded of a movie I saw recently, Up In the Air with George Clooney. His experiences of living airports and hotel rooms--loving the life but at the same time longing for the kind of normalcy that stationary people live-reminded me a lot Emma's experiences 100 years ago.
Alex
May 30, 2011 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My parents got me a Kindle for my birtday, and so far, I've just been using it to explore the free-range public domain pickings out there. This one caught my eye because of its unique perspective of a traveling saleswoman at the turn of the last century. Pretty glib stuff, but full of snappy patter and moxie.
Mady
Sep 21, 2013 Mady rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, 2013
A book written in the early 1900 about a woman who works as a travelling salesman.

I can imagine that the issues she mentions were quite relevant at the time: she's a working mother, who left her son at home to pursue a career as the only woman among men and manages to earn a "man's salary"!
Nicole
Aug 25, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ages-16-18, adult

Anthing written by Edna Ferber is time well spent. I would suggest reading some of her later novels first, but "Roast Beef" is still worth your time.
Cynthia
Jul 18, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it
The dialogue was a little too snappy but a great story of a traveling saleswoman at the turn of the century.
Patty
Apr 01, 2013 Patty rated it really liked it
way ahead of its time, description of an autonomous woman without any theatrics to make a point
Nikki
Aug 18, 2015 Nikki rated it did not like it
I always wish Edna's characters well, but I still love reading her stuff
Hazel
Aug 19, 2012 Hazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprise read from Edna Ferber; had never heard of this witty book series.
Lynette
Apr 15, 2009 Lynette rated it it was amazing
I like the Sister Carrie type setting
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Edna Ferber was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels were popular in her lifetime and included the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the celebrated 1927 musical), Cimarron (1929; made into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and Giant (1952; made into the 1956 Hollywood movie).
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“I'm tired of hearing you men say that this and that and the other isn't woman's work. Any work is woman's work that a woman can do well.” 0 likes
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