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At Wit's End

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  66 reviews
"America's irrepressible doyenne of domestic satire."
Madcap, bittersweet humor in classic Erma Bombeck-style. You'll laugh until it hurts and love it! "Any mother with half a skull knows that when Daddy's little boy becomes Mommy's little boy, the kid is so wet, he's treading water. What do you mean you're a participle in the school play and you need a cost
Kindle Edition, 227 pages
Published February 11th 2011 by Fawcett (first published 1965)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,680 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Madhulika Liddle
I’d had a bad day. As in B-A-D. We’d decided that a little grounding in history and heritage would do wonders for our nearly-five-year-old and so had taken her off on a trip to Humayun’s Tomb. Over the next hour, our child asked us embarrassing questions—in a ringing voice that echoed all over the mausoleum—about why people were buried when they died, why Isa Khan was not Jesus, why, why, why, why…. A bird pooped on my husband’s shirt, and because we’d run out of wipes, said he’d just have to cl ...more
Ana Mardoll
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ana-reviewed
At Wit's End / 0449211843

As a child, I picked up several of Erma Bombeck's books at a used bookstore and read them again and again. Picking up At Wit's End was like returning to the home of an old friend where everything is comforting and familiar, and you can laugh at old jokes together. I was delighted to see that this kindle edition retains the artwork from the paper version, all of which I remembered with fondness.

Most of the essays here are still very very funny. There are times when Erma d
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted, humorous, and with some nuggets of wisdom. Exactly the sort of book I was needing to read.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing is wonderful. The reflections are quirky, sarcastic, humorous and at times passionately divine. My favorite moments were the stamp collection… the golf game… and I squealed laughing on that part about ‘why the bass weren’t biting’. Men vs women on road trips gave me a good laugh, even if that one, sarcastic as it was, was kind of true. Bombeck’s memoir is definitely worth reading, given how initially I was at my wit’s end reading what started out mounting to the ‘boredom of housewife ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Erma Bombeck. Her stories sparkle with and insight and are perfect for reading aloud. Not only that, but she is laugh-out-loud funny! In this particular book, I enjoyed her struggles with the car that was a piece of junk that only understood German (how a car can understand human language is beyond me).

One thing I love about Erma's books is that I feel that I know the Bombecks personally. It's like I'm over at their house with the kids. Erma is everybody's mom- frazzled, cynical at times
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Although the book is one of her older ones, much of it is still relevant today. Parts of it made me get all teary-eyed and other parts had me laughing. This was the first Erma Bombeck book I've read and I look forward to reading more by her. One of my favorite quotes is when she talks about problems with getting one's midriff toned: "If I can’t tighten up the muscles in time for beach exposure perhaps I can use it for a snack tray."

Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, non-fic
Erma Bombeck, a typical Ohio housewife and mother, first made a name for herself as a humour writer in the 1960's. In this, her first book, she guides us through the typical depression cycles that plague the modern housewife (and cover every day of the year). She rallies gamely to the challenges of husbands, children, housework, birth control and awkward social situations, and treats them with resignation and humour. Her wit and wisdom are just as warm, relevant and enjoyable today as they were ...more
Sep 28, 2011 marked it as did-not-actually-finish
My first Kindle library book! The checkout procedure was incredibly easy. I'm so glad this is now an option!

As for the book itself, I was somewhat disappointed. I imagine that when it was written it was groundbreaking and hilarious. It's still somewhat funny, but the large number of snarky bloggers that Bombeck has inspired--whether they know it or not--are more current and, I think, funnier. Since I have limited reading time, I decided not to finish this.
Steven Meyers
Maybe it was my head cold but Ms. Bombeck's first book, which was published in 1967, was not the pick-me-up I was hoping. I write this short review with trepidation. Being even slightly critical of Erma Bombeck here in the United States is comparable to whizzing on Mother Teresa's grave. The book mused about the lives of stay-at-home suburban moms while their husbands went off to work as the family's sole breadwinner. You will find no profanity nor blue comedy in 'At Wit's End'. That's fine. It ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really opened up my eyes. It got to the core of my personal issues. The author was very insightful about writing this book. I loved how real she was with opening up and telling us our story. The book was very funny and amusing though, getting to see inside Erma's life.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Erma Bombeck at her best. Her kind wit is hilarious and very touching. Nostalgic.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a step back in time but much of the humor still stands. I read most of her other books when I was a working Mom of three. Now those girls are all grown up and I have a couple of grandkids. Thanks for the laughs Erma RIP
Book Concierge
Originally copyrighted in 1965, this was Bombeck’s first book. She was already a hugely popular syndicated columnist and speaker, focusing her witty observations on the life of a mid-20th century suburban homemaker. The book begins thus: “This isn’t a book. It’s a group therapy session. It is based on six predictable depression cycles that beset a woman during a twelve-month span. These chapters will not tell you how to overcome these depression cycles. They will not tell you how to cope with th ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
I enjoy Erma Bombeck's humor. I love her sincerity, her wit, and the way in which she candidly tells about the ups and downs of her life. This story feels a bit out of date, but then again, it was first published in 1967. It's not my favorite of her books, but I still appreciate her wisdom. It was certainly a good, light book to break up a string of heavy stories.

interesting quotes:

"Another challenge for a mother who must make a decision not to measure her own children's happiness with another m
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to finish this book. I first started it with excitement after just finding out about Erma Bombeck and her writings on motherhood. I did enjoy several parts of the book, but found some other parts extremely boring. So the inconsistency slowed down my reading. I really liked the end though, where she explained why she wrote this book. How she thought she couldn't do it, how other people told her she had to do it. She made those remarks on motherhood 50 years ago and they're stil ...more
This took me forever because I just had such a difficult time getting into it. I think the major disconnect was based on the dated material in the book. Back in the day I really thought Erma Bombeck was funny. Unfortunately, I just waited way too long to finally get around to reading this!! There were some redeeming parts in the book, a few places where I actually did get a little laugh but strangely enough...Ms. Bombeck had a few portions of the book where she actually was actually very serious ...more
Beatriz Hagad
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
It was amusing, but not as funny as I hoped it would be, probably because I cannot relate to many of the situations described in the book. I suppose a housewife, or at the very least a parent would enjoy this book as it finds humor in domestic experiences, but it doesn't do much for me as a single person. Not to mention the references are from the 1960's.

That said, Erma Bombeck has a pretty good sense of humor, turning everyday experiences into scenes from a sitcom. She knows how to use hyperbol
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is almost 50 years old and the fact that it is still funny (and it is funny) is a testament to the fact that there are many universal and timeless truths to raising kids and parenthood. There are some elements that are dated (real telephones!) and some topics that have since been well tread (although I'm guessing many have used her material as their starting point on these topics) but still entertaining. My only complaint is that is feels like someone wrote down a series of stand-up co ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: Nana
I don't think I have laughed this hard at a book since I don't even know when. I was laughing in research period and probably all the rest of the kids thought I was dying. Ah, the emotions I convey wihile readig in Research...Last week I was outright crying during Between Shades of Gray. ANYWAY. This book was seriously the funniest thing ever. Get it. Read it. Buy it. Read it whenever you are having a bad day or whenever people around you are starting to get the impression that you are normal. A ...more
Osittain ihan nasevaa ja hauskaa sanailua, osittain meni vähän yliampuvaksi. Teksti tuntui hetkittäin aika vanhahtavalle, mikä on tietysti luonnollista, kun kirja on kirjoitettu 44 vuotta sitten. Itselleni eniten hupia tuotti kohta, jossa kotirouva yrittää laajentaa sanavarastoaan valitsemalla sanakirjasta umpimähkään joka päivälle 'Päivän sanan'. Ideana oli ujuttaa tuo sana päivän aikana vähintään viiteen keskusteluun. Tuota voisi kokeilla itsekin esimerkiksi töissä - voisiko viisi kertaa puhua ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-g, humor
I remember reading this book during my insanity years when Zach and Nate were both babies. Erma was a voice I could hear and I thank her immensely. The stories were short, made me laugh, and then I could sleep. Until one of them woke up, which then always woke up the other one. It was literally as though they were connected in some way. But Erma and I made it through. Of course, Randy was there also.
Janet Lynch
I read this to help with my mother/housewife character in my 60s novel. I definitely got some good ideas, or at least my memory of how it was is refreshed. Some of it was even funny. I recall my mother had it pretty easy then, washing on Mon., ironing on Tues, bathrooms on Wed., floors on Thursdays, and grocery shopping on Fridays when I do it ALL on the weekend to get ready for the work week as a high school teacher. Except ironing--who has time to iron?
Cindy May
It was nice to reread it after at least a 20 year gap since I last read it. You gotta love Erma Bombeck's somewhat exaggerated take on the life of a housewife, but I do think she got some of it right - esp. the bit about the nesting instinct taking over every autumn. Mother or not, it seems most women feel this way, at least I do, so she was definitely spot on there.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really like Karen Fowler's expression form at many points... where an inner voice opens an odd inflection on a scene element that mihgt otherwise remain merely pedestrian. However... for some reason the whole story just did not really take with me and I ended with a ho hum feel even though the prose made me smile.
Jula Sunshine
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally loved reading this book. Copyright 1965 - but the humor is fresh in 2016 - and I laughed real belly laughs many times; and most of the time, at the least, it was plain funny. And there is truth to the humor, which is why it struck a chord with me. It has to do with family and neighbor relations, and one's relationship to oneself, too. My review doesn't do it justice.
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, humor
I feel At Wit's End very often. Erma Bombeck and her thoughts on the housewife job. Now my book was published in the late 1960's, before I was born. I enjoyed reading this book and remembering some of the things my mother would say.

Erma writes about what most women think when they are married and have children. I enjoyed the laughs while I read and also remembering my mother.
Deb Wilson
This was not Mrs Bombeck's best book that I've read, but it was enjoyable. I did feel she related her feelings through these parts of her life shared in this book very well but I was expecting a few more laughs. Still, I do recommend reading it as it gives an interesting window into the life of a domestic not-quite-goddess and her family.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the early books by the late housewife humorist seems a bit dated now with mentions of Lady Bird Johnson and "the older Nixon girl" but must have been laugh-out-loud funny for the housewife of the mid-1960s. However, two poignant essays stand out, "Reflections at Summer's End," on children growing up so quickly, and "Out of the Nest," on her youngest child entering school.
Mia Claire
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Saw this book in a second-hand bookstore. I read the back cover and it's quite funny so I bought it.

Erma Bombeck is really a funny author. I laughed several times while reading this book. And aside from the humor, there's also some nuggets of wisdom in a particular chapter of the book. But I won't tell what part it is. Just read it. :)) Happy reading!
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Christians Reader...: Humor with Erma Bombeck 1 4 May 21, 2015 09:46AM  
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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
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“I want to teach you so much that you must know to find happiness within yourself. Yet I don't know where to begin or how. I want you to be a square. That's right, a square! I want you to kiss your grandmother when you walk into the room even if you're with friends...I want you to lend dignity to the things you believe in and respect for the things you don't believe in. I want you to be a human begin who needs friends, and in turn deserves them. I want you to be a square who polishes his shoes, buttons the top button of his shirt occasionally, and stands straight and looks people in the eye when they are talking to you. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. I want you to know the difference.” 23 likes
“Childhood is a time for pretending and trying on maturity to see if it fits or hangs baggy, tastes good or bitter, smells nice or fills your lungs with smoke that makes you cough. It's sharing licks on the same sucker with your best friend before you discover germs. It's not knowing how much a house cost, and caring less. It's going to bed in the summer with dirty feet on clean sheets. It's thinking anyone over fifteen is 'ancient'. It's absorbing ideas, knowledge, and people like a giant sponge. Childhood is where 'competition' is a baseball game and 'responsibility' is a paper route.” 16 likes
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