Rebecca's Reviews > The Egg and I

The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald
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really liked it
bookshelves: memoirs, laugh-out-loud, farming, obscure-classics

I bought this on a whim from a local charity shop, based on the title, cover and blurb. MacDonald and her husband started a rural Washington State chicken farm in the 1940s. Her account of her failure to become the perfect farm wife is rather hilarious. The voice reminds me of Doreen Tovey’s: mild exasperation at the drama caused by household animals, neighbors, and inanimate objects (“Stove” is her nemesis). The only unfortunately dated element is her terrible snobbishness towards rednecks and “Indians.” [Note: the sequel, The Plague and I, is about MacDonald’s time in a sanatorium recovering from tuberculosis!]

Favorite passages:

“Gathering eggs would be like one continual Easter morning if the hens would just be obliging and get off the nests. Co-operation, however, is not a chickenly characteristic and so at egg-gathering time every nest was overflowing with hen, feet planted, and a shoot-if-you-must-this-old-grey-head look in her eye.”

“In the country Sunday is the day on which you do exactly as much work as you do on other days but feel guilty all of the time you are doing it because Sunday is a day of rest.”

“I really tried to like chickens. But I couldn’t get close to the hen either physically or spiritually, and by the end of the second spring I hated everything about the chicken but the egg.”
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Reading Progress

March 8, 2018 – Started Reading
March 8, 2018 – Shelved
March 8, 2018 – Shelved as: memoirs
March 20, 2018 – Shelved as: on-hold
March 27, 2018 – Shelved as: laugh-out-loud
March 27, 2018 – Shelved as: farming
March 31, 2018 –
page 91
32.85% "“Gathering eggs would be like one continual Easter morning if the hens would just be obliging and get off the nests. Co-operation, however, is not a chickenly characteristic and so at egg-gathering time every nest was overflowing with hen, feet planted, and a shoot-if-you-must-this-old-grey-head look in her eye.”"
April 19, 2018 – Shelved as: occasional-reading
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: set-aside-temporarily
June 22, 2018 – Shelved as: obscure-classics
July 2, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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MB (What she read) I love these books. They are vintage goodies.

Her children's "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" series, are amazingly fun too.


Rebecca MB (What she read) wrote: "I love these books. They are vintage goodies.

Her children's "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" series, are amazingly fun too."


I had no idea she was the author of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books! I remember those from my childhood.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim Puskas To appreciate this old chestnut, you have to place yourself into a 1950's mindset. Humor was different then, certainly a lot less "politically correct" than today. If one is able to make that adjustment comfortably, there's a lot of enjoyable material in a similar style -- writers like Harry Golden,Leo Rosten, Patrick Dennis and others who enjoyed sending up everyday human foolishness. It wasn't mean-spirited, even though some of their views don't sit well with some of us today.


Rebecca There's no denying the racism. Thankfully, we've moved on since then!


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