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Life Among the Savages / Raising Demons

(Jacksons #1-2)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Although now better known for her haunting fiction, in the 1950s Shirley Jackson charmed millions with her best-selling domestic reminiscences, Life Among the Savages (1953) and Raising Demons (1957), affectionate, hilarious, and sophisticated tales of dubious parental equilibrium in the face of four children, their friends both real and imaginary, assorted dogs and cats, ...more
Hardcover, Omnibus, 380 pages
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1953)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to tee by: Oriana
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 children, looking after a house, husband and pets - as frustrating. She seemed to find it great fun and not te ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: no-longer-owned
NOTE: My copy = omnibus of Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.

I can't recall if this was a pass-along from Mom or something I chose on my own out of the QPB catalog; either way, I'm thankful that I found & read it.

Shirley Jackson is probably best known for her suspense/horror writing - the short story "The Lottery" and the novel The Haunting of Hill House- she brings those same exquisite writing skills to her own world, with essays on 1950's small town domesticity.

I don't think she
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2016
Interesting glimpse into Americana years ago. The author is very droll and the stories she tells are interesting and imaginative. And if this what her children were doing and saying, then the woman deserves more credit than I can give her here.

Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I had read Jackson's domestic tales many years ago; they are even more enjoyable now after having raised my own family. Good domestic portrait of the 1950s, and funny.
Lisa Lewton
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this author is my soul mate. She describes the wildness of my home in her stories! A very fun read.
P.S. Winn
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read these books separately, but love this double collection of fun. If you have read Shirley Jackson's short horror story, then you will find these books a bit different.Dealing with kids, their friends, cats,dogs and a crazy life is a humorous journey.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Dated but enjoyable.
Snow Ford
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up this tome (published as "The Magic of Shirley Jackson")the first time around, in high school, it was because of my interest in Shirley Jackson's classic thrilling stories like "The Lottery" and "The Haunting of Hill House". I recall skimming over the last two books in this edition "Life Among the Savages" and "Raising Demons", wondering where the scary stuff was. Though I recall the children did seem slightly diabolical, there were little thrills to capture the attention of a te ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star, ghost-stories
So. Jackson is a horror-writer, by trade, and yet she wrote these two books that deal almost* entirely with her life as a mother to two (three; four) young children. They're considered to be brilliant and hilarious commentaries on blah blah blah - but what struck me was the overwhelming sameness of her life. She spends chapters entirely on minutia. Supposedly this is the hilarious part - that someone sat down and actually wrote what happens when the entire household comes down with the flu. But ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half, really.

Once upon a time, there was a nice couple who had four children. They all tried their best, had picturesque problems that all got worked out, and they all were quirky and amusing (tres amusante, really). They lived in a beautiful, ramshackle house, had a pile of animals and toys, and in general got along very well.

I enjoyed this glimpse into daily life in Jackson's house, if she is to be believed. The stories all run together, as daily life often does, and I get the impr
Catherine Egan
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, funny, fictionalized memoir of Shirley Jackson's family life. Knowing some of her biography gives it a bit of a darker edge, but the writing itself is light and witty. She makes no mention of her writing life (though she was writing and publishing her amazing fiction all through the same period) and deals only with her life as a homemaker, wife and mother. She writes about the chaos of taking care of her four children and I would love to know when on earth she found time to write fict ...more
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I did not expect this from Shirley Jackson. What it most reminded me of was Erma Bombeck. She writes these long, run-on sentences in a dry deadpan tone - and the level of sheer mundane detail is what makes it so precise and funny.

The best part is seeing the changes between the 50s and today - the smoking in particular, or when her young daughter brings home a note from school that all the girls are expected to wear dresses, not pants or jeans. These little glimpses of social history were fascin
Renee Wallace
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Delightful! The woman author about domesticity BEFORE any of us had ever heard of Erma Bombeck, Jackson is hilarious, erudite, and down-to-solid-earth unstuffy. Incredible that from this genius at describing the humor of home life came that dark brilliance, THE LOTTERY! I
Laughed out loud many times as I read this collection of two works, and found myself to be deeply saddened that her lif ended so young. What a bright gift she was to all of us!
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I reread this book while recovering from foot surgery. I had read it as a child. I wanted to see if it was as funny as a parent. The book details the experiences of Shirley Jackson raising her children. Things were different back then--I miss the days of kids getting sent out to play unsupervised for hours--but her comments on family dynamics were funny and I really enjoyed reading the book.
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very funny, quirky look at the life of an unusual family in the 1940's. Can't be taken as absolute truth, however, because Shirley Jackson used considerable creative license to sell these stories to women's magazines. That aside, I laughed in many parts until I cried and I have read this entire volume twice.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
UPDATE: Read together, both works are tedious. I would have enjoyed them with some breathing room in between. Are my own connections to Jackson's fiction a stretch?

After reading LAS: Just finished Life among the Savages. A quick read, and it was entertaining for sure. The children have some truly notable quirks. Time to read Raising Demons.
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, to-re-read
These books seemed along the lines of Erma Bombeck and (more so) Betty MacDonald. I very much enjoyed them, and somewhat resented that I had to interrupt my reading to go take care of a life which is turning into this kind of thing.
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I knew that Shirley Jackson wrote chilling American horror but didn't know she had also written amusing magazine for women's magazines in the 1950s. Her children are almost exactly the ages of me and my siblings, so the stories and ambiance were wonderfully familiar.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I adore Shirley Jackson. This autobiographical take on her domestic laugh had me laughing out loud. It's been awhile since I've done that. My family kept asking me what was so funny. Interestingly enough, this read reminded me of Gosginny's Nicholas books (translated from French to English).
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
It was ok and there where a lot of normal family life situations that where pretty amusing. I did not like the husband and I think he was a lazy man. But that might be how it was in reality but it is new times now and some of the things he did is not ok.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
Just ok. This is Shirley Jackson writing about her family in rural New Hampshire. The most interesting facets of this is the kind of social history lesson you get from reading the day to day running of a house, raising of children, etc. Especially interesting after you've read her other books.
Moon Stumpp
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
A sort of chicken soup or vacation sort of read...cute, pleasant, and at times, funny.
J. Lardizabal
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable. Except for the smoking, this could have been written by any mommy blogger today, and I mean that nicely.
Frances Levy
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
re-read an old favorite and laughed out loud all over again
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
These are two books Shirley Jackson wrote about her children. Quite amusing, sometimes hilarious. From the author of The Lottery, this is quite a change of mood.
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Autobiographical domestic comedy set in the 1950s is a hilarious departure from her earlier publication "The Lottery".
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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Jun 25, 2010
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Feb 25, 2018
Jennifer Stidham
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Feb 21, 2012
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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 (3 books)
  • Life Among the Savages
  • Raising Demons