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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  639 ratings  ·  70 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,

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Paperback, 228 pages
Published February 11th 2005 by Simon Schuster (first published 1946)
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Hannah
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads, humor
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
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Emily
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Alyse
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Laugh-out-loud funny. I only wish there were more entries in Mrs. Blandings Diary.
Mike
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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Darla
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
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Jessica
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Deborah
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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!!!
Maureen Wynn
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you've never seen the Cary Grant and Myrna Loy movie that is based on this book, watch the movie and give the book a pass. In fact, if you HAVE seen the movie, go watch it again - it's great! The book has some elements of the humor that makes the movie so much fun, but only if you're willing to laugh at poor, naive Mr. Blandings as he stumbles through all the trials and tribulations of home ownership. I realize that researching "the best way to dig a well" is easier now in the era of Google t ...more
Tony
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE. (1946). Eric Hodgins. ****.
If you have ever gone through the trauma of building your own house, this novel is for you. One’s vision is always clear. Unfortunately, the vision is not always transferable to the professionals that you have to deal with. Aside from the architect, there are the construction contractors and laborers that have to be brought on site to reduce your plans to reality. On top of all this is the subject of costs. Although target costs ar
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Susan
I found that I agree with some of the reviewers here. While this book was OK, it just wasn't interesting enough to finish. I read halfway through and most of it was interesting, I got a few chuckles, but then felt it bogged down in the details.

I made it to the part where Mr. Blandings is explaining to Mrs. Blandings how the well was being dug, how the expense was charged, and mathematically how much water was expected to gush forth per minute. Mr. Blandings stated that after explanation Mrs. Bl
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Sheila
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Blandings is doing well at work and decides it is time to own his own house. So he goes to Connecticut and buys land to build his dream house.

It starts slow. It is better when you read it with sarcasm as Mr. Blandings has trouble with the seller, the architects, and the builder. It becomes extremely funny in Book 2 when I read Mrs. Blandings' journal entries about it. The ownership of the house is funny also as Mr. Blandings figures out how much this house cost him and now he is responsible
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Anmiryam
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perhaps not quite as charming as the film with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, but still a wonderfully funny and relevant read. The amounts of money involved seem trivial today -- until you begin to adjust for inflation! Seriously, if you have ever built, or even renovated, a house, this book will strike a chord that will make you laugh and cringe in equal measure.
Deanne
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
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.
Lauren Stoolfire
Mr. Blandings, an NYC advertising executive, and his wife and kids want to leave their tiny Midtown apartment for a farmhouse in the country. The place they end up buying, and get thoroughly ripped off on, should have been demolished years ago, so they'll need build a brand new house. Pretty much everything that can go wrong, does go wrong while trying to design and construct the perfect home. This house may be the nightmare that does him in, or bankrupts him.

I picked up this novel published in
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Sarah Sammis
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pc
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
Sue
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Kitty Jay
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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Vasilia
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Phil
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Maureen
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jess Lane
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will never build a house. I haven't seen the movies that are based on this book so this was a fresh read for me. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't say it's laugh out loud funny and you really do feel for Mr. Blanding as everyone even his wife seems to be against him. But then at times you look at both him and his wife and are like you are overreacting especially when a cottage was built down then hill from them and they were upset about it hurting the view but it could barely be seen. This is book one ...more
Lisa
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I've loved the movie for years, so it's no surprise I enjoyed the book. Anyone can relate to Blanding's situation...stuck between dreams and realities and the capital required to make that happen. It's always more than you plan for, even when you think you're being frugal.
The book didn't have the same pace as the movie; but I couldn't help but envision Cary Grant and his delightful expressions throughout. All in all an enjoyable romp through the trials and tribulations (and mostly trials) of tr
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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.
Stephanie McCown
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!

Karen
Jul 11, 2016 marked it as to-read
* 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time in a single list.
Amanda
Aug 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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.
Evan
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.
ADD
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, owned
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.
Rebekah
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
The original Money Pit. Mr. Blandings and his wife purchase a farm house in Connecticut to escape their tiny apartment in New York. However the house is declared structurally unsound so they are forced to tear it down and build a new house. Thinking that they can build a dream home they set to work but face the difficulties of construction problems and temperamental workman, as well as difficult neighbors and going over budget. Overall this is fun read.
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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
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