Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Anybody Can Do Anything (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #3)” as Want to Read:
Anybody Can Do Anything (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Anybody Can Do Anything (Betty MacDonald Memoirs #3)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  587 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
One would suppose that during the Depression there wasn't much to laugh about in America. But one would be wrong. This book takes up Betty's story before she'd had any success as a writer - when she went back to live with her mother. With a failed chicken farm and marriage behind her, Betty was desperate to make a living in a country without any jobs. Luckily she had her s ...more
Paperback
Published April 1st 2005 by George Mann Books (first published 1945)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Anybody Can Do Anything, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Anybody Can Do Anything

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Virginia Messina
Dec 15, 2007 Virginia Messina rated it really liked it
Shelves: comfort-reads
Not only do I love this book, but I love my copy of this book. It was published by The Book Club at 121 Charing Cross Road, London W.C2 in 1951 and was the property of the Garrowhill Post Office Library in Scotland. (Thank you paperbackswap!)

This covers the period in Betty MacDonald’s life that falls between The Egg and I and The Plague and I, and takes place during the 1930s. It’s funny like all of MacDonald’s books, and also very cozy. Leaving behind her husband and her lonely life on an isola
...more
Lucie Novak
Aug 16, 2014 Lucie Novak rated it really liked it
I loved this book as well as her other ones, starting with The Egg and I.
The funny thing is that in Czechoslovakia, almost every reading woman of my generation read those books several times, and all my friends still quotes from them. When I emigrated, we put books in boxes for friends to post to us, serious literature, Czech or translations from other languages than English- we knew the English language books will be available in England or USA where we were going to emigrate.
But picking one bo
...more
Beth Bonini
Apr 05, 2017 Beth Bonini rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I grew up with The Egg and I - MacDonald's first venture into humorous memoir, and her most beloved and well-known book. This one does not have the tightness of structure, or the beautifully well-rounded anecdotes, or even the same level of humour, but it still is well-worth reading. MacDonald has a wonderfully clear and vivid writing style, and her material - the experience of being a single mother in the 1930s - was full of interest for this reader. After her divorce from the chicken
...more
V. Briceland
Jul 24, 2012 V. Briceland rated it really liked it
Of all Betty MacDonald's comic memoirs, Anybody Can Do Anything is perhaps the most unfocused. The book takes on the years after those chronicled in The Egg and I, as MacDonald fled that unhappy marriage to make a life for herself in the bosom of her family with two young daughters in tow. It focuses primarily on the primal force of Mary Bard, MacDonald's older sister, whose can-do moxie propelled MacDonald into unsuitable job after job. It's tough not to be a touch cynical about the book's conc ...more
Stephanie
Sep 04, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is out of work
When you're looking for work (and as a freelance writer, that's nearly 90% of the time), you need to stay positive. Betty MacDonald's ANYBODY CAN DO ANYTHING is a surefire cure for the job blues. It's her account of scrounging for work during the Depression, when she was newly divorced with 2 kids (in 1929, no less!) and went back home to Seattle to live with her wonderfully large, zany family.

All of Betty's books -- including The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series -- hold a special place in my heart. Sh
...more
Barbara Mader
Mar 09, 2012 Barbara Mader rated it really liked it
I'm surprised this isn't already in my list, as I've read this several times. I find Betty MacDonald's autobiographical books compelling on a variety of levels. I don't know whether, had I known her, we would have been friends--I'm not certain I would have trusted her, and she probably would have found me dull. Nonetheless, I admire her writing, I am fascinated by her descriptions of people and places, and in this book I get the bonus of reading her experiences in Depression Era Seattle.

My favor
...more
Kristine Hall
Audio Book Review (listened at 1.25x) Anybody Can Do Anything is the third of Betty MacDonald's memoirs (and the second I've listened to), and it doesn't disappoint. With the excellent narrator Heather Henderson returning, readers will be transported right into the arms -- or armpit -- of MacDonald's like during the Depression.

I was expecting this book to pick-up where MacDonald's prior memoir, The Plague and I, left off, but these memoirs don't go sequentially. The Egg and I was about her life
...more
Tamara
Anybody Can Do Anything is absolutely hilarious! The Depression era was a difficult time in history and from what I learned from my grandparents, life was not easy for most. Even though this was a hard time, Betty MacDonald shares this part of her life with the perfect slice of humor that had me laughing out loud. With the help of her sister, Mary, she held many jobs and gained skills she never thought possible. Even though this is Ms. MacDonald’s memoir, her sister Mary steals the limelight in ...more
Dawn
Feb 25, 2017 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free copy from Audiobookworm Promotions. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had listened to The Egg and I and The Plague and I and enjoyed both so I was looking forward to listening to this one. Betty MacDonald's storytelling is delightful as is the narration.

This is my favorite book by Betty MacDonald so far. It's mostly about her family life, both as a child and after she left her husband on the chicken farm an
...more
Rachel Terry
May 30, 2011 Rachel Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books growing up, and my kids have loved them, too. But this book was so fun because MacDonald wrote it for adults. It's a memoir about her life with her family during the Depression. Her older sister Mary was always getting strange jobs for family members and reminding them that "anybody can do anything."

I think what I liked most about this book was the funny descriptions of people. Here's an example: "Clara, a little blonde dressed in yellow, was so sallow, so na
...more
Esther
Aug 22, 2012 Esther rated it it was amazing
Fun memoirs about Betty and her family's experience during the Depression. As with all of Betty's autobiographies, this book is full of haphazard stories and a witty perspective that portray an otherwise gloomy existence into a beaming and hilarious lesson on attitude.

Some side thoughts:

This may be of particular interest for anyone looking to find cultural or historical insight into the past. Betty gives some personal perspective on things such as the early involvement of women and minorities i
...more
Joy
Sep 03, 2010 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Betty MacDonald part 3
For some reason I thought this was going to be about her battle with depression (especially after spending a year in the tuberculosis hospital) - today I realized it was about her adventures getting and keeping a job during the Depression - I'm half way through the book and was wondering when she was going to start writing about being depressed, she seems so happy!! haha, I'm dumb. :) I try not to read the summaries because they can ruin the book, I guess they come in handy
...more
Stacy
Mar 04, 2012 Stacy rated it really liked it
Betty MacDonald is the author of "The Egg and I" and this book continues where that one leaves off. Still in the Pacific Northwest, Betty leaves her unhappy marriage and chicken farm to move in with her Mother and siblings still at home in Seattle. These are her hilarious adventures of finding work during the depression. They're hilarious because her sister is constantly signing her up for jobs or throwing her into projects that Betty has no previous experience for and the results are amusing. A ...more
Julie
Nov 03, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Betty MacDonald and was glad to be able to find a copy of Anybody Can Do Anything which was one of her adult books that I haven't read. Betty relates her experiences trying to get and keep a job during the depression after she left her husband. Her and her two daughters moved into her mother's house already filled with unemployed siblings and her sister Mary did everything she could to help Betty with her unemployment status. Betty's humor shines through these stories even thou ...more
Tom
Jul 30, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
The right book at the right time. The woman behind Ma & Pa Kettle is more than just a failed farmer; she's a failed receptionist, a failed secretary, a failed photography tinter, etc., mostly buoyed by her sister's unending (and often unwanted) help. It's a nice description of Depression-era Seattle (though I could've done without the gratuitous drunken Indian anecdote and the half dozen references to white slavery), and good motivation for those still struggling to find their calling in tou ...more
Stephie Jane Rexroth
Mar 12, 2013 Stephie Jane Rexroth rated it it was amazing


"I wanted some sort of very steady job with a salary, and duties mediocre enough to be congruent with my mediocre ability. I had in mind a combination of janitress, slow typist and file clerk. Not for a moment did Mary entertain any such humble ideas. She had in mind for me any job up to and including the President of the United States."
Bobbie
Jul 04, 2016 Bobbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-books
This is a bizarre story. I have zero memory of adding this book to my Kindle or why I would think I would find this interesting. But I can NOT stop reading it. There are other volumes in this woman's memoirs? I don't know that I would find those as interesting if they don't include her older sister who I find hilarious.
Drew
Aug 04, 2015 Drew rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read, a first-hand account of life in Seattle during the Depression. I was quite interested in the descriptions of a grimmer city during the '30s and also how Betty's family not only survived but thrived.
Susan
Betty MacDonald returns us to her humorous world, this time during the Great Depression in Seattle. This book is set after her tales of the chicken farm (captured in The Egg and I) and covers her various job fiascoes before and after her stint in a tuberculosis sanatorium (as told in The Plague and I).

Betty is the second oldest child in a family of 4 daughters and 1 son. Her older sister Mary was always getting the younger kids to do what she wanted, either by trickery or by simply assuming they
...more
Brenda
Jun 01, 2017 Brenda rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-pile
Another memoir of a difficult time in Betty Macdonald's life. She leaves her husband and the chicken ranch in the mountains with her two daughters and moves back home to Seattle with her mother and siblings. It is during the Depression and jobs, particularly for women, are scarce. With the help of her sister, Mary, Betty manages to get a string of temporary jobs which she describes in a humorous way. The book ends with Betty writing her book The Egg and I. There is no mention of any contact with ...more
Joyce
Oct 27, 2016 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, women, memoir
Familiar to readers from The Egg and I and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, Betty MacDonald chronicles her years in Depression Era Seattle, living with her two children in her mother's home with siblings, including a sister who continually found her jobs for which she wasn't exactly qualified. The memoir is full of amusing anecdotes, written in her breezy style; characters are quirky; the tone is humorous (sometimes outrageously so) and heartwarming. Heather Henderson reads at a brisk pace and capt ...more
Carol
May 13, 2017 Carol rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Elizabeth Sims
Jan 02, 2017 Elizabeth Sims rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio-autobio
Have been a fan of Betty MacDonald since reading this one in a 'Reader's Digest Condensed' collection when I was a youngun. Loved her sardonic attitude...
PLEsch
Feb 07, 2017 PLEsch rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites!
Adrienne
Mar 23, 2017 Adrienne rated it liked it
Fine, had some witty moments, but it felt very redundant. DNF
Karen
Mar 09, 2017 Karen rated it really liked it
A nice history of Seattle in the 1930's
Valerie (He Said Books Or Me)
I AM EXCITED TO BE HERE TODAY TO BRING YOU ANOTHER BETTY MCDONALD BOOK. THIS BOOK CONTINUED THE MINDSET OF A QUIRKY, FUN READ AND I ENJOYED IT MUCH LIKE THE OTHER TWO. IF YOU HAVEN'T READ OR LISTENED TO ANYTHING BY BETTY MCDONALD, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO CHECK IT OUT!

IN THIS BOOK, WE PICK UP FOLLOWING THE EGG AND I. THINGS ARE STILL NOT EASY FOR BETTY AND HER FAMILY FOLLOWING THE GREAT DEPRESSION. THAT SAID, SHE ALWAYS FINDS A WAY TO LAUGH AT HERSELF AND THE SITUATIONS SHE GETS IN.

I ENJOY THE NARRATO
...more
Alison
Feb 12, 2017 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Anyone who has read my blog recently will know I am a convert and huge fan of Betty books. They have the ability to raise a smile on the darkest of days and make me giggle quietly to myself. I listened to this on audiobook so probably confused a few members of the public when I suddenly began laughing for no apparent reason!

This time Betty has returned to the family home following her divorce *scandal* accompanied by her kids. It is imperative she finds employment but during the depression of th
...more
The Pursuit Of Bookiness
A humorous and witty account of life during the Depression, this book takes you on a tour of a young woman's challenge to earn a living in an ever worsening economy.

Well written and enticing, this book hooks you from the start and keeps you engaged throughout the story. Furthermore, the narration is well paced with good intonation and the production is of high quality meaning that it is easy to listen to and great for the daily commute.

The book begins with Betty leaving behind her married life o
...more
Tracy
Aug 18, 2010 Tracy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Betty Macdonald (author of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books) humorously remembers the days when she was a divorced mother of two, living with her mother and sisters in Seattle, during the Depression. The title comes from the positive attitude of Betty's sister, Mary, who believed that Anybody (especially Betty) Can Do Anything. Mary spends her time finding jobs and vocations for her sisters (especially Betty), and Betty often winds up in uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, work situations. This ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • My Life with Groucho: A Son's Eye View
  • One Pair of Hands
  • Our Hearts Were Young and Gay: An Unforgettable Comic Chronicle of Innocents Abroad in the 1920s
  • A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries
  • We Took to the Woods
  • The Hills is Lonely
  • Period Piece
  • A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
  • A Fine Old Conflict
  • The Beast: A Journey Through Depression
  • Act One
  • Life Among the Savages
  • The Essential Groucho: Writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx
  • Two Under the Indian Sun
  • The Years with Ross
  • The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It: Over the Edge and Back with My Dad, My Cat, and Me
  • The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium
13369
The first book written by Betty MacDonald, The Egg and I , rocketed to the top of the national bestseller list in 1945. Translations followed in more than 30 languages, along with a series of popular movies. In the wake of World War II, the hilarious accounts of MacDonald's adventures as a backwoods farmer's wife in Chimacum Valley were a breath of fresh air for readers around the world. On the n ...more
More about Betty MacDonald...

Other Books in the Series

Betty MacDonald Memoirs (5 books)
  • The Egg and I (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #1)
  • The Plague and I (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #2)
  • Onions in the Stew (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #4)
  • Who, Me? (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #1-4)

Share This Book