Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Roast Beef Medium: The Business Adventures of Emma McChesney” as Want to Read:
Roast Beef Medium: The Business Adventures of Emma McChesney
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

Roast Beef Medium: The Business Adventures of Emma McChesney (Emma McChesney Series #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  180 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
"I think I ought to tell you," she began, "that I never was a minister's daughter, and I don't remember ever havin' been deserted by my sweetheart when I was young and trusting. If I was to draw a picture of my life it would look like one of those charts that the weather bureau gets out-one of those high and low barometer things, all uphill and downhill like a chain of mou ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1913)
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 Roast Beef Medium, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Roast Beef Medium

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A four-and-a-HALF-star road trip with 30-something divorced mother-of-one "Emma McChesney, Mrs. (I place it in the background because she generally did)" (Loc. 179), proud 10-year-road-vet representative of T.A. Buck's Featherloom Petticoats, "and her favorite pastime was studying men and women. The two things went well together" (Loc. 352):

"'Call 'em weasels. That covers their style, occupation, and character'" (Emma describing a certain desirable element hanging around a department store at Lo
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Savvy, straight-talking, and self-reliant, Emma McChesney, is as witty and entertaining as the “fast-talking dames” found in old movies, but it’s closer to 1910 than 1930 or 40. Emma’s an early career woman, working as the Midwest sales representative for T.A. Buck’s Featherloom skirts and petticoats, and most of her life is spent on the road--traveling by train, sleeping in hotels, meeting the most interesting people, and outsmarting the male sales reps who are her competition. She’s still styl ...more
Apr 05, 2017 marked it as dnf
Dnf. Too boring
Debbie Zapata
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
I love Edna Ferber. Maybe old-fashioned sometimes, but funny, witty and fast-moving always. These stories follow Emma McChesney through a period in her life as a divorced mother making a career for herself as a traveling sales rep of a petticoat company, back in the day when traveling was a career for men only. I've read other stories about Emma McChesney, so I was familiar with her and the other characters, and I know how their lives will eventually unfold. But that did not take away the fun of ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a treat! I will be searching for more Edna Ferber's stories of Mrs. McChesney. What an amazing woman.
"When Emma McChesney aimed to get things out of the way she did not use a shovel; she used a road-drag."
So sad that I should be the first one to review this reprint of what was, in its day (1911), a very successful book, and justly so. Emma McChesney, a wise and feisty Yankee if there ever was one, is an immensely endearing heroine. Forced to earn a living after a bitter divorce, Emma has become a traveling saleswoman. The book starts when she is 36, with a son about to graduate high school. Emma makes a good living, but at what price! Not only does she have to put up with the discomforts of exhau ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
I wish I could have given this one 3.5 stars, but it was a fun read overall, so I'll err on the side of generosity. Interesting to read these early "strong woman" stories that frequently walk a fine line between emerging feminist thought and adherence to (or perhaps nostalgia for) traditional male/female roles.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: Shakesville QOTD posting about strong women in literature
Shelves: fiction
Decent fiction work. Traveling petticoat saleswoman, single mother. Fascinating look at what it means to be a single woman traveling throughout America on business, dealing with bosses and society. Kind of a sell-out at the end, but a great look at a strong woman.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Emma McChesney, traveling saleswoman for a company that manufactures petticoats, is a remarkably modern character. Introduced by Ferber in a story sold to a magazine in 1911, McChesney became an instant hit, with the public clamoring for more about her. Imagine: writing before World War I, the popularity of a female character who was divorced and glad of it, seemingly left her son to be raised at boarding schools, and traveled endlessly with heavy sample bags, making a good living in a man's fie ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book by the quirky title and after reading a few reviews I expected to fall in love with it instantly. I was sadly disappointed. On the upside - the storyline was very different to anything else I've read, the author paints some really wonderful word pictures and the issues tackled were obviously leagues ahead of their time. But it just felt like the author was trying too hard. I was being TOLD a story rather than having the pleasure of discovering it myself. The writing styl ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3 stars (liked it)

A witty 1913 novel, and the first in a trilogy, chronicling the trials and tribulations of the traveling saleswoman, Emma McChesney, as she navigates her way in a world dominated by men while staying connected with her son as a single mother. I found her no-nonsense attitude as the main appeal of the story and wished that, once the novelty of introducing her personality had waned, there had been a bit more interest to the plot.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Ferber, and this is quite funny and charming. It's covering a fairly serious topic of discrimination, in a lighthearted way, which doesn't quite resonate in today's world, but still worth a read.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
End Ferber's "Roast Beef, Medium" is a series of short stories that provide a somewhat humorous view into the life of a female traveling salesperson in the US in the early 1900's. The stories provide some insight into society at the time. The book is a pleasure.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ferber had the smarts to both please her readers, mostly female, but also to push for fairer treatment for women in life. This book, first in the trilogy, really draws readers in. Some of the style may seem stilted, but the joy of reading a 100 year old book that still speaks to today's lives and values IS important.
Emma's bravery in getting a job as sales rep and traveling a large area back then makes her a real model of self confidence and her ability to also pay for good schooling for her s
Wendy Bertsch
This book, written in 1913, was way ahead of its time. It’s a loosely connected series of chapters about Emma McChesney, not a sweet young thing, but rather an attractive 35-year-old divorcee with a grown so,n who makes a good living as a travelling saleswoman, outperforming the men in her field. Tough, competent and fast-talking, with an earthy sense of humour, Emma was an icon of feminism, at the time. Be prepared to make allowance for a heavy dose of early twentieth century slang, because Emm ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book puts starch in your spine! Absolutely a wonderful read, I found myself turning page after page no matter the hour of day or night. And when I was done, I found the sequel book, which I have only about 3 pages left. My first Edna Ferber book I read was called Dawn O'Hara, and I haven't even finished it. But I finished this one! I like how Emma McChesney doesn't let anyone, child included, get the best of her and how she does it with such style and grace that people are left scratching t ...more
Laura McDonald
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Emma McChesney has a clear head on her shoulders. She has a straightforwardness that I find lacking in popular fiction/movies these days. Speaking of movies, while reading this I couldn't help being reminded of a movie I saw recently, Up In the Air with George Clooney. His experiences of living airports and hotel rooms--loving the life but at the same time longing for the kind of normalcy that stationary people live-reminded me a lot Emma's experiences 100 years ago.
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My parents got me a Kindle for my birtday, and so far, I've just been using it to explore the free-range public domain pickings out there. This one caught my eye because of its unique perspective of a traveling saleswoman at the turn of the last century. Pretty glib stuff, but full of snappy patter and moxie.
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
A book written in the early 1900 about a woman who works as a travelling salesman.

I can imagine that the issues she mentions were quite relevant at the time: she's a working mother, who left her son at home to pursue a career as the only woman among men and manages to earn a "man's salary"!
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, but I get the feeling it's a bit like chocolate - too much and it might get a bit sickly. I'm glad I've discovered the author, though, with quite a few to go at.
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
Aug 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
I would have given this three stars, but that the completely gratuitous of the word 'kike' gave me a disgust for it.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is nothing NOT to love in this book! And the ending--Perfection!
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
way ahead of its time, description of an autonomous woman without any theatrics to make a point
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult

Anthing written by Edna Ferber is time well spent. I would suggest reading some of her later novels first, but "Roast Beef" is still worth your time.
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
The dialogue was a little too snappy but a great story of a traveling saleswoman at the turn of the century.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I always wish Edna's characters well, but I still love reading her stuff
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
breezy and delightful - often of its time in ways that can be frustrating to the reader of today and sometimes wonderfully progressive (and proto-feminist, even)
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I like the Sister Carrie type setting
Helaine Davis
rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Seven Keys to Baldpate
  • You Know Me Al
  • The Man Upstairs and Other Stories (Golf Stories, #0.5)
  • The Assassination Bureau, Ltd
  • Anything for Jane
  • The Medusa Frequency
  • Democracy: An American Novel
  • The Vanished Child
  • South Wind
  • R. Crumb's America
  • Are Women People? a Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times
  • The Stories of J.F. Powers
  • Truth and Consequences
  • Nana / Germinal
  • Reporting at Wit's End: Tales from the New Yorker
  • Between
  • The Writer's Chapbook A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers
  • The Victorian Age in Literature
Edna Ferber was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels were popular in her lifetime and included the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the celebrated 1927 musical), Cimarron (1929; made into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and Giant (1952; made into the 1956 Hollywood movie).
Ferber was born August 15, 1885, in
More about Edna Ferber...

Other Books in the Series

Emma McChesney Series (3 books)
  • Personality Plus: Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock (1914)
  • Emma McChesney and Co.

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The High Mountains of Portugal
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Cat's Pajamas: Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Thistle and the Rose (Tudor Saga, #8)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Burgess Boys
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Waterfalls (Glenbrooke, #6)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Classics)
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Skinny Legs and All
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • July, July
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Clock Without Hands
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Paris Wife
    $11.99 $2.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“I'm tired of hearing you men say that this and that and the other isn't woman's work. Any work is woman's work that a woman can do well.” 2 likes
More quotes…