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Family - The Ties that Bind...And Gag!
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Family - The Ties that Bind...And Gag!

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,448 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A cherished family reunion sets the stage for Erma Bombeck's predictably hilarious recollections of raising a family - that is, strangers who know each other intimately, but who have nothing in common (and want to keep it that way!). Erma's conclusion: families-you can't live with them, you can't live without them... or can you?
Paperback, 267 pages
Published October 31st 1988 by Fawcett Crest (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,051)
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Matt Mazenauer
My god. For some reason, I have fond memories of this book from when I was in middle school, so I continued to slog through it now, more in a desperate attempt to understand my past self than out of any hope to find something of quality in this trashy collection.

This is a collection of rambling stream-of-consciousness writing for no greater humor than the title. No exaggeration, it reads as a string of mild gags that never builds to anything. The average standup is better tied together than any
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Priya Patankar
I love Erma Bombeck. There are very few authors - (P.G Wodehouse and to an extent David Sedaris) who can make me laugh - she is one of them. I find myself chuckling and laughing out aloud over the way she describes her daily domestic dealings and interactions with her kids and family. Although some of the situations seem a bit dated (waiting for long distance calls) the humor is spot-on. In terms of plot, Erma's books are like talking to a pal - a series of incidents - all very credible if you h ...more
Joanne
When the family is driving you NUTS, read this book. Nothing fixes family insanity like a good laugh!
Marci
Although comical at times (mostly the 80s life references), I didn't find it nearly as funny as I know the author intended me to. I think it was the overall negative tone of the book maybe? Yes, our families drive us nuts at times, but I think you can write about them in a funny way and still be functional bunch that love each other. I'm curious to see what other people thought of it at our book club meeting.
Valerie
May 30, 2009 Valerie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: Employee Book Club
Slightly funny at times, but mostly over my head in the sense that I am a young, newly married woman without any kids. Most of the jokes are directed at women with families, especially with grow children. Maybe twenty years from now if I have kids it will mean more to me.
Cate
This is the first book that I’ve read by this Author, and it had me chuckling happily from start to finish. What needs to be remembered though, by any reader picking it up, is that it is a 1980’s book filled with 1980’s humour and references.

As it is a hilariously funny snapshot into the Authors Family life during this time period, there are no characters that have to be developed, as each member of the clan brings their own baggage with them which is tipped out in front of the washing machine
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Marty
This didn't seem to be as funny as some of her books - but it sure brought back memories of family things at times - and a smile with them. Not my favorite and a slow read.
Jessica
Worst book I ever almost finished. Only book I've ever started and then stopped reading just because it was so terrible. FAIL.
Jaime Contreras
Jul 02, 2014 Jaime Contreras rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Jaime by: My aunt
I have always enjoyed Erma Bombeck's sense of humor. her ability to poke fun at herself with no mercy always touches my funny bone. This is one of her best because it is about family. Her take on the different roles she has played throughout her life will make you think of someone you know. I chuckled and sometimes laughed aloud as she relays her funny stories. I loved the ones about being the strict parent and the all-knowing grandmother. Her writing is crisp and this short book ends too son bu ...more
Vanessa
Dec 16, 2009 Vanessa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vanessa by: Abby
Shelves: book-club-books
Full disclosure: I didn't make it all the way to the end of this one.
Carolee Weber
I really tried to get through this one for the sake of the book group discussion. There were a few humorous parts and I remember thinking her newspaper column was funny. But this had just too much of her sarcastic, deprecating style of humor and it got very tiresome to me. I would have liked a little more of the sentimental stuff that reminded me that she really did like her kids and parenting really can be a great joy. It's also quite dated. I ended up skimming through the last half of the book ...more
Kaethe
Bombeck had a monthly column in Good Housekeeping that I always read growing up. Affection for her writing is deep in my psyche. Deep enough that even after I stopped reading the magazine I continued to read and enjoy her books.

So, I'd recommend this to adults looking for a taste of nostalgia, a light read, and for kids, who will be amused by the antics of family life.

Library copy
Heather
More of Erma's witty portrayal of family life. It has been many years since I read this. I don't recall specifics. But I find her to be so endearing in the most hysterical way! I love her.
Sarah
This is a book of musing on a 1980's family-written in the 1980's. The author is a mother of 3 grown children who are home for the family Christmas card. The stories are tied together by the events of the week-end, but only in a very loose way. I read this book over the course of 6 months. It was easy to pick it back up at any point and start reading.

There really isn't much 'content' to the book-full of 'fluff' using my own mother's words. The best part of it was to read the reflections on fami
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Ami Squirrel Girl
I love Erma's books! While other kids were sneakily reading the latest issue of Batman or Archie & Veronica comic books between the pages of their schoolbooks during class I was trying not to get caught laughing too loudly at the pages of the latest book by humorist author Erma Bombeck. Its safe to say that I grew up with her books and her name, and stories, just like V.C. Andrews', another author I grew up reading, brings back a lot of good reading memories. Erma, and her writing, will be d ...more
Jeanette
I love anything from Erma Bombeck! Anyone who walks in on me reading something from her will swear I am suffering with a severe case of Biopolar Disorder, for I will be flunctuating between outburst of tears and laughter. As I read her work I feel wonderful. I feel understood. I feel as though I have found a kindred spirit.

It is such a relief to finally find someone who totally understands me and my oddities. I feel warm and fuzzy until I remember she is no longer with us. Then I grieve for my n
...more
Shauna
I have tried to process what it is that Ai did like about this book. Overall, I just really didn't like her perspective on family. I have 5 teenagers, and they each are obnoxious in their own ways, but I live and adore them. It seemed to me like she "put up with them." The whole feel of the book rubbed me wrong.
Suchitra

If u have or have had a mother,u will laugh ....reading this book.....
If u r the husband, u will nod sagely and understand how mothers the world over r the same , even over time!....And enjoy this book....
If u r a mother, u will adore this book and laugh and laugh and......pause a bit when something said is so awesome and true.......and then start laughing again....
The only reason the book did not get 5 stars is because it is a bit outdated.......humour tends to be in the present....usually.....
...more
Kate
I read one of her other books and thought it was hysterical. This one took me forever to get through. I have been in kind of a reading slump from trying to finish Anna Karenina so maybe that was partially the issue but I just didn't like this book as much.
Tauni
Although the back summary seemed entertaining, as I started to read this book I just became annoyed. While there were some funny parts, mostly I found her humor to be whiny and unfocused. Her stories seem to go off on tangents and then never reconnected. I hate it when I don't finish books, but this just wasn't my cup of tea. Seeing how she has so many other books out there, maybe I will give her another chance. We'll see :)
Alandavid
Erma Bombeck's laid back yet hilarious style of writing is so engaging and makes you laugh your butt of all the way through. Her take on even the most mudane of daily activities gives humor a whole new facelift. She left us much too early and we are the poorer for it. Anytime I needed a pick-me-up, all I had to do was pick up an Erma Bombeck bok and i wa smilng, then laghing in no time.
Michelle
Not my absolute favorite of hers, but still a good, funny read. I think this particular book would resonate with me if I were older and my kids were grown. Don't get me wrong, I still really liked this book and I can see myself being Erma Bombeck in 20 years... it just wasn't quite as laugh out loud funny that I am used to with her books.
Vinaya Menon
Erma Bombeck rocks with this book of hers. Her sense of humor is awesome as she explains the title taking her family as an example. There are times when the author jumps episodes without much warning, but if u have light, fun reading in mind, those can be forgiven. I went through most of the book thinking, "hey,I know what she means!".
Bunny
I really liked this one. Not only does she have the family humor, but she actually throws in a handful of serious thoughts regarding her children and her husband, and it's so surprising that you can't help but love it.

She is an extremely funny woman, in a very subtle way. I have to give it up for her.
Dele
This book was hilarious! I probably read this in middle school (or high school at the latest)--and I'm sure black preteen girls wasn't Erma's target audience--but I connected so much with this book. She inspired me as a young writer, and when she passed away I felt like I lost a family friend.
Marylu Sanok
Sep 10, 2011 Marylu Sanok rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: light comedy readers
Recommended to Marylu by: author
Shelves: humor
Erma Bombeck was the prototype for Bill Cosby's type of humor. Take a look at the people, family and world around you and just talk about it. The humor will develop on it's own.

The books are just a series of incidents that are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
Heather
The book started off a little slow. Most of my tabbed pages are towards the middle and the back of the book. Erma writes mostly about adult children who return home, (sometimes for extended visits). Even though there's a lot of laughs, there's introspection as well.
Emily
I discovered this book as a teenager, and reread it as an adult. I get something out of it every time I read it and it's just one of my favorites by her.
Christine
I remember my mother reading this when I was a child so it was fun to revisit something that she enjoyed so much. Some of the reference would be lost to younger readers but growing up when I did I was able to enjoy them.
Lavanya
Dec 21, 2010 Lavanya is currently reading it
Just started this after couple of friends recommended it. So far, I like it! Certain descriptions make me want to copy it down and stick them around the house. LOVED the ones describing the retired Dad.
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Erma Louise Bombeck, born Erma Fiste, was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for a newspaper column that depicted suburban home life humorously, in the second half of the 20th century.

For 31 years since 1965, Erma Bombeck published 4,000 newspaper articles. Already in the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of USA and Canada
...more
More about Erma Bombeck...
If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits? The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession At Wit's End

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“Maybe age is kinder to us than we think. With my bad eyes, I can't see how bad I look, and with my rotten memory, I have a good excuse for getting out of a lot of stuff.” 19 likes
“You show me a boy who brings a snake home to his mother and I'll show you an orphan.” 16 likes
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