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Raising Demons

(Jacksons #2)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,865 ratings  ·  225 reviews
In the uproarious sequel to Life Among the Savages, the author of The Haunting of Hill House confronts the most vexing demons yet: her children

In the long out-of-print sequel to Life Among the Savages, Jackson’s four children have grown from savages into full-fledged demons. After bursting the seams of their first house, Jackson’s clan moves into a larger home. Of course,
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Penguin Books (first published 1957)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Justin Tate
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raising Demons is a seamless sequel to Life Among the Savages and just as good. Maybe better. The story continues shortly after the other left off, with various anecdotes about raising Laurie, Sally, Jannie and Barry.

Shirley's observant eye for humor in everyday life shines brilliantly, with simple prose that feels homey and familiar. You love her, her children and all the characters involved. Best of all, she isn't afraid to poke fun at herself. The bit about the birthday card is a knee-slappin
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago my sister broke her jaw. (She fell off a ladder; don't ask.) Among many other things, this resulted in one of my all-time favorite photos of the two of us—this is what I texted my folks at 4am to let them know she was okay.


So good, right? Anyway, I unearthed this book from the very bottom of a very large stack as a possible candidate to read to her while she was recovering from surgery. And it was such such such a perfect choice! With the possible exception of The Amazing
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it

As I’m a baseball fan, I guess it’s not surprising the only section I remembered from my first read was the story about the town’s Little League. It’s a perfect showing and not telling about the difference between the parents’ competitiveness with one other versus the boys’ desire to play baseball.

I may not have noticed in my first read how, if Jackson mostly ignores her husband as an unseen presence around the house in Life Among the Savages, she’s skewering him here: his double-standards
Kaethe Douglas
27 May 2021

Earlier today I read a bit of an opinion on President Biden's proposed infrastructure plan. He was mocking the whole thing because was too much money (in his opinion) was intended to provide home health care to elderly people, which wasn't even infrastructure. Infrastructure, he said authoritatively, is physical structures: roads, bridges, cable, sewers, etc.

He is blind to the infrastructure he has profited from for his entire life because it isn't physical structures: it is people.
Hannah Garden
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my gosh, there's no better expression for this book than just total freaken absolute BUNDLE OF JOY. This book is just a bundle of damn joy, man. I will certainly read its companion, Life Among the Savages. "Raising Demons" is, in fact, Shirley Jackson's title for a book about raising her children. And if you know anything about Shirley Jackson, you might wonder what in heaven's name is in store for you here. Because she can be creepy as hell. Which I love, I mean that's what we go to Shirley ...more
Diane Barnes
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this every bit as much as Life Among the Savages. The section on the first Little League games in town was priceless, and 2nd grader Sally is my spirit animal. When the family is considering getting another cat for their mouse problem, she wonders if it wouldn't just be easier to make pets of the mice. In my little bit of research, it seems that all these children are still alive today, however, life wasn't quite as rosy and jolly as Jackson portrays it in these books. No matter, thoug ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can choose friends, but you GET family.

Shirley Jackson relates her adventures in bringing up her children. This story continues directly from her "Life among the Savages".

On talking with foreigners
I strongly suppressed a basic superstition which came unbidden to my mind (if you talk loud enough you can make them understand) and said, very softly, “And how long have you been here, Mr. Lopez?”
He looked surprised, and thought. “Ten minute?” he said at last, tentatively.
“No, no. How long have yo
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Just like Life Among the Savages, I did not want this to ever end. I laughed out loud so many times and I now feel like Shirley is an old friend - the absolutely hilarious, witty, clever kind that is so rare to find.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life in the Eisenhower Era, particularly in small towns, is usually thought of as placid if not downright dull. But not at the pen of the amazing Shirley Jackson, who concluded her mom-with-kids comic short stories that began in book form with the best-selling Life Among the Savages (1953) with this Raising Demons (1957). Only a mystery writer as gifted as Jackson could deal in the elements of horror and make them so funny -- the mania for building clothespin dolls with a friend as a child -- th ...more
Mark Porton
Raising Demons, is Shirley Jackson's sequel to Life Among the Savages, a memoir of her life as a mother to four children and wife to a languid, academic husband. This all happens in rural Vermont back in the 1950s. This one starts with the family moving to a larger house, much closer to the school, in a nicer part of town. The decision making process for this to occur was something to behold. What started as an idea, ended up being a case of Chinese Whispers, with various community members pushi ...more
Lee Anne
May 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
There's a scene in season one of "Mad Men" in which little Sally Draper is playing spaceman by wearing a dry cleaning bag over her head and entire body. When mom Betty sees her, she's angry...because "if my clothes from that dry cleaning bag are on the floor of my closet, you're going to be a very sorry young lady." This book is thrilling to read for its depiction of mid-century parenting, things you can actually get arrested for today. Baby Barry's car seat is in the front, while the other thre ...more
Melissa McShane
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, humor, non-fiction
Re-read 3/26/17: Upped the rating to four stars, because I liked it better this time around, and because for some reason I was thinking of it in terms of how much her children must appreciate having these memories told so wonderfully. Even the stories where they come off sounding awful.

7/13/13: Much as I enjoyed this, I didn't like it as much as Life Among the Savages, probably because as Jackson's kids got older, it was increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that they're either brats or Jack
Anne (On semi-hiatus)
Raising Demons is the sequel to Shirley Jackson's first humorous chronicle of family life, Life Among the Savages. This book is similar though better because Jackson shows more of herself, specifically her feelings about her husband, his female college students and the faculty wives at his husband’s college. Jackson expresses her feelings through wit, sarcasm and a bit of snark. The quotes below show this side of Jackson. I chose them because they are the only element which is different from her ...more
This is a review of both Life Among The Savages and Raising Demons, as I read a volume that had both in it.

Usually I read to escape from life and the problem I had with this book is that I was reading about housework and it's mundanity, raising children and it's frustrations - and then I'd put the book down to do exactly that in-real-life. I feel all chored out and I haven't even done any housework today. I do use the word 'frustrations' lightly. Jackson hardly even implied that raising four chi
Troy Blackford
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not be-LIEVE how funny this was. This was an incredible, insightful, highly personal family memoir. I didn't realize that I should have read 'Life Among the Savages' first, as it is chronologically antecedent. But that failure didn't diminish my enjoyment. I knew Shirley Jackson was one of the most gifted writers in the horror genre, establishing much of the modern tone and possessing one of the most distinctive, poetic, and lyrical voices the genre has ever seen. But I am *flabbergasted ...more
I absolutely loved this sequel to Living Among the Savages. Still just as charming and funny, I loved seeing a glimpse into the life of one of my favorite authors. Her stories are still told with the same wry wit and chilling grasp on human nature. I will definitely reread these!
Nusrah Javed
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complete delight!
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2017-reads
I remember trying to read Jackson's Life Among the Savages and this book in my 20s and then putting them aside unfinished, because I didn't perceive any EDGE. I've now returned to the two books, and discovered a little bit of edge - it's just discernible but it's there. I'm fascinated that this is the same writer who composed The Lottery and Haunting at Hill House.

It seems as if Jackson revealed more about her marriage in this book, or simply shared more feelings. This is not the story of a com
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Unlike all the other SJ books I've been reading these past few months, I don't know that I'd ever before read this in its entirety. Being the sequel to Life Among the Savages, Raising Demons suffers a bit from a sense of been there done that; most of the best of her family stories are in the previous book, and with two of Jackson's four kids being much older here, the material just doesn't have those same sparks (she was a master at capturing the peculiar rhythms and habits of young children in ...more
Diana Tilson
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These books are over too soon. I wish Shirley Jackson had written more of them, and that her children had written a follow-up compendium so that readers would know what they are doing now...

This was the second of these books (My Life Among the Savages was the first) but I actually found this one even more satisfying. I couldn't read it on the train because it made me laugh out loud too often, so I had to read it in the privacy of my home where I could give myself over fully to giggling.

These a
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is raising or has raised kids.
Shirley Jackson's follow-up to Life Among the Savages covers the middle years of her children's lives. I loved every page. She is a consummate writer. The family moves to a larger home, acquires more cats and dogs, while Shirley learns the mixed emotions that come with being a faculty wife.

Once again I was amazed at the amount of humor and true affection for children that she brought to this further account of her family life. It is such a contrast to her spooky novels and the troubled charact
V. Briceland
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To anyone familiar with any of Shirley Jackson's novels of horror, or her tales of psychological disintegration, or at least her most famous spine-chilling short story, "The Lottery," the notion that the same author penned two light-hearted book-length domestic memoirs might seem preposterous. Jackson's trenchant sense of humor, however, was always the leaven to her more macabre sensibilities; her rich appreciation of the absurd is, in fact, the engine to most of her writing. Even in the territo ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is some seriously wholesome apple-pie Americana mom-oir writing with just a dose of weird and I love it. I can't even begin to fathom that it's from the same Shirley Jackson that we know as ... well, Shirley Jackson.

I don't know how to say it all again but I'll try by using different words. It's a series of sincere and genuinely funny stories about her kids and her husband and her pets, back in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Baseball and cooking and running a household and tree houses and p
Shirley Jackson’s Raising Demons should have a wide market. No sex, no violence no bad words, family values galore and the demons are not especially demonic. It is even safe to go down into the basement- alone. When she takes a set up to the payoff; Ms Jackson is a good writer and a usually a good story teller. She can be a master at controlling domestic chaos. Those times when the kid, pets and life press from many directions; her narrator never loses her humor and can bite back when pushed too ...more
Julie Davis
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed something light (and also light weight) for bedtime since I'm at Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings and not only is the journey stressful, but the book might crush me if I fell asleep reading it.

I was perusing my shelves and came across this old favorite which was just what I needed. Written with all of Jackson's usual skill, it is a complete opposite to her better known horror works (The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House). This book about life with her family may call to mind someth
I don't particularly want kids, and Jackson's life with hers doesn't change that. Both memoirs of her children being young, though, remind me how much difference it makes when a parent actually parents and is not all that interested in being (ahem) a child's bestest pal. She apparently called "Life Among the Savages" a "disrespectful memoir," which perfectly fits her approach; "Raising Demons" is equally good natured, with that sharp little edge that marks so much of Jackson's writing. As narrat ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I love these kids <3
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
This was okay - I'm disappointed that this, of all her books, is the last new-to-me full-length Shirley Jackson book I'll ever read! This is her second memoir of her life keeping a household together as a woman in the 50s; her writing is hilarious and dry and really does give a good picture of what a middle-class "professor's wife" would have experienced...but I feel like I got that and more out of her first memoir, Life Among Savages, and didn't really need the second.

The section where she rem
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE Shirley Jackson's creepy tales, and novels We Have Always Lived In The Castle as number one and The Haunting of Hill House much better than the Netflix series. I love her collection of Dark Tales too by Penguin classics. Her story Janice though, comes closest to being like Life Among The Savages and Raising Demons. These comical books about family life are amazing too. So funny it scares ne to even consider raising kids, yet makes one want to give it a shot just to find how close to the t ...more
Jenn Estepp
I've been doling little bits of this out to myself each night, savoring it. As expressed elsewhere, my joy on finding that it was finally in print again was sort of unparalleled. As a follow-up to Life Among the Savages, it doesn't quite live up to it's predecessor, but that is maybe because it wasn't such a joyful surprise as that one had been? (i.e. I knew what to expect this time around). And also, there were a few moments when her kids (exaggerated, I'm sure) made me a little bonkers. That s ...more
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Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, "The Lottery" (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri

Other books in the series

Jacksons (2 books)
  • Life Among the Savages

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