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1. The Egg and I
2. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm
3. Onions in the Stew
4. Anybody Can Do Anything
5. Nancy and Plum
6. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Won't-Take-a-Bath
7. Onions in the Stew
8. The Plague and I
9. The Egg and I
10. The Plague And I (Common Reader
11. Much Laughter, a Few Tears: Memoirs
12. The Egg and I By Betty mcDonald
13. Nancy & Plum
14. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Turtleback
15. Nancy and Plum
16. Onions in the Stew
17. Who, me!: The autobiography of
18. Who, Me? The Autobiography by
20. the Egg and I

1. The Egg and I
by Betty Macdonald
Paperback: 288 Pages (1987-09-16)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060914289
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Reissue of this immortal, hilarious, and heartwarming classic about working a chicken farm in the Northwest. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars Farm livin' is the life for meeee....
"Green Acres" it ain't.I've read this book several times and each time was left limp as a rag from laughing.Betty MacDonald's saving grace was her self-deprecating, wicked sense of humor.She seemed to have a unique talent for lurching from one mess to the next while managing to laugh at herself. And her semi-real characters, the Hicks, the Kettles et.al. are priceless.(My personal favorite was Mary MacGregor who scooped a dead polecat out of the cream vat, squeezed every last drop of cream out of its fur, and sold the cream to the cheese factory while observing that "Just between us skunks, cream is cream.") Moving from a warm, chaotic family headed by a grandmother who wore her corsets upside down to a lonely outpost in the Pacific Northwest with a cold, unfeeling, emotionally detached husband who evidently wanted a maid instead of a wife must have been a wrench, but MacDonald managed to emerge more or less unbowed after four years.(We feel a lot better after learning -- although not in this book -- that she ultimately said enough is enough, took the kids and left the louse.)

There is one glaring hitch that makes me give this book four stars instead of five.MacDonald's sense of humor is delicious, but her blatant racism about native Americans verges on nauseating.Never mind that she formed close friendships with a black woman and an Asian woman in the TB sanatorium several years later; Strom Thurmond used to protest that "some of my best friends are colored". Racism is negative stereotypical attitudes directed toward an entire group, and MacDonald pulled no punches in describing her attitudes toward American Indians, especially those in the Pacific Northwest.This is MacDonald talking: "The Coast Indian is squat, bowlegged, swarthy, flat-faced, broad-nosed, dirty, diseased, ignorant, and tricky. There were few exceptions among the many we knew."She also said flat-out that she didn't like Indians (wow, who would have guessed?) and that the more she saw of them, the more she thought what an excellent thing it was that their country had been taken away from them.You can rationalize this any way you want, but there is no escaping the obvious: this is racism, pure and simple and ugly, and it runs like a poisoned creek through an otherwise hilariously entertaining book.

So the reader is warned.If you can get past the racist comments without retching, the book is one of the funniest you will ever read.I'm still cracking up visualizing Ma Kettle spitefully hanging up her rich sister's photograph in the outhouse.

Judy Lind

5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny!
One of my very favorite books. Laugh out loud funny. An honest and humorous look for of a couple who traded in the city life for one in the country. A true gem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still hilarious after all these decades!
It's amazing that the events detailed in "The Egg and I" happened about three-quarters of a century ago.Betty MacDonald's writing is still hilariously fresh and funny housewife-humor, written with the same dry sarcastic wit that Erma Bombeck used to deal with similar subjects during the 1960s and 70s.As a young girl fresh out of high school, Betty falls in love with an "older man", Bob, whose dream is to move to the country outside Seattle and operate a chicken ranch.In short order, Betty finds herself married to Bob and living on an isolated farm coping with herds of messy, annoying chickens, primitive kitchen appliances such as old-fashioned stoves and "sad irons" that barely work, and a host of colorful neighbors straight out of the old "Green Acres" TV show.Betty invented the mooching, lazy hillbilly characters of Ma and Pa Kettle and their family for this book and they became American archetypes with their own movie series.

Although the author based this book on her own experiences, this book is best enjoyed as what it's meant to be - ribald satirical fiction based on truth, rather than the absolute literal truth of what happened to Betty. It seems clear that there's an element of truth to the book, especially given that a number of her former neighbors claimed to recognize themselves and others in the portrayals and several of them even sued Betty after the book was originally published. However, Betty's writing style in this and her other books portrays most characters very flatly, as caricatures for entertainment value rather than as serious actors in a memoir.Also, as most people know by now, Betty did not have a great marriage with her husband Bob (this is only very subtly hinted at in the book) and she was also not as isolated as portrayed because her family had a farm nearby for at least part of the time covered by the book.Many of the experiences Betty recounts suggest that her life was probably in reality pretty lonely, boring and difficult and that laughing at it or making a joke out of it was a good way of coping with it.Betty herself is interesting because on the one hand, she seems to be constantly belittling herself for her lack of skills at cooking, cleaning and "fancywork" that the other farm wives perform with ease, and on the other hand she seems to consider herself a cut above all these country people because she is more educated and would prefer some more sophisticated entertainments than the local country dance (involving drunks, brawls and a hyperactive senior citizen lady determined to prove she's still young).The end of the book kind of peters out but I believe is meant to suggest to the reader, without actually stating, that Betty did decide to leave Bob and the farm life, a fact which is confirmed in her later books as well as by biographical information now available online.

Although parts of the book (such as the descriptions of the local Native Americans) would not be considered "politically correct" today, this is still one funny read and Betty MacDonald was one heckuva good writer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funny farm-life fodder
Even though my family members are fans of Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, we had no idea that she'd authored anything other than that fabulous character with her marvelous cures for what ails (mainly badly behaving) children. Only after trying to learn more about Mrs. MacDonald after chancing upon the supposed latest in the series (written almost entirely by a daughter), did I learn about this biography and several other stories about her life. Although Mrs. MacDonald was born in Colorado in 1908, her family lived in several different states due to her father's occupation as a mining engineer. After she and her first husband, Robert "Bob" Hesket, married, they moved to a farm in the Olympic Peninsula without plumbing or electricity. The Egg and I covers about a year in the life of the newly wed chicken-farming couple: visits from friends (rare), nutty neighbors (prevalent), lots of hard work and a huge amount of humor. Considering what the couple had to go through to keep the farm running in pretty primitive conditions, the fact that her sense of humor held strong is amazing and admirable. The best is her self-deprecating humor; the worst, her racism against local Indians. She died of cancer at age 49. Also good: the ORIGINAL four Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, all by Betty MacDonald; The Horizontal World by Debra Marquat; and The Good Rain by Timothy Egan.

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts funny, but quickly becomes uncomfortable.
I don't know if people reading the book when it was first published knew the full story, but having read the introduction by Betty's daughter gave the book a different feel. Betty's first husband was an alcoholic and abusive. She left the marraige after 4 years. She never directly discusses these issues, but her unhappiness comes through in her observationabout those around her. When her idealized view of what she imagined country life to be doesn't materialize she becomes bitter. I wondered if the people she knew read the book and were surprised at what Betty really thought of them. She obviously feels herself superior to all the local women since she is interested in reading more than doing handwork such as quilting and embroidery. Her descriptions of the people she meets are humerous until you realize that she is critical of every person she comes in contact with and she generalizes her low opinions to all members of the group. Mrs Kettle is fat and lazy and sloppy and Mrs Hicks is too prim and clean and efficient, so all of the local women are either stupid and lazy or obsessed with housework and drudgery. She meets a few Native Americans who drink too much, so all Native Americans are dirty alcoholics. No one ever meets with her approval and as the book goes on you feel that her humerous observations have become relentless mockery. Even when people are showing her kindness and generosity she can only find fault and mock them. I keep waiting for her to find the good in these people and find some kind of joy in her situation, but it doesn't happen. It may be the result of being isolated and coming to the realization that she had married too young to a man she really didn't know, apparently out of fear that no one would ever marry her which was a great concern for a teenager in the 1930's. She was out on a ranch in the mountains of Washington State with no electricity, no running water, no other comforts and expected to do the manual labor that women were expected to do. She hates chickens, which is not good for an egg rancher, hates canning, hates Nature, hates everything. The descriptions of the local scenery is vivid and stunning, but even then she feels intimidated and threatened by the mountains that surround her. Fortunately she had the courage to leave and find a life more suitable for her and her children and happiness in another marriage, but this book is the work of an unhappy woman who cannot take joy in anything around her. ... Read more

2. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm
by Betty MacDonald
Paperback: 128 Pages (1985-08-09)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$2.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0064401502
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Ms. Piggle-Wiggle's left her upside-down town house and has moved to a farm in the country. With the help of her cows and pigs and horses, she's still curing girls and boys of their bad habits. So whatever the problem-from pet forgetter-itis to fraidycat-ness-the parents all exclaim, "Better call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!"

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars I liked this less than the others.
I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series growing up.Very funny, and various interesting cures to children's faulty habits.Throughout it all Mrs. Piggle Wiggle showed her immense love for children and never broke a frown in their direction.

That is the problem I have with this book.Mrs. Piggle Wiggle acting uncharacteristically Mrs. Piggle-wiggleish.She gets impatient with the children or downright rude.Nothing in the other books ever broke her placid composure and her real love for the kids.In this book she commits that sin several times, and the results always dimmed my enjoyment of the stories.(Such as the can't find it cure boy where she gets upset and sends him to his room.)

I realize that even Mrs. Piggle Wiggle can be pushed to certain limits, but considering how well those children tested or ran over those limits in earlier novels without her so much as frowning....she was created for a good reason and it just doesn't do for her to break that pattern.

As an aside, this book was written by a shadow writer, I believe.

1-0 out of 5 stars Old book without a cover bought for .25, sold it for over $4.00
This reviewer bought this from a library book sale for .25 and sold it to us for over $4.00.I wouldn't have minded if it were in good condition, but it was not.The book was missing a cover and was in very poor condition when we received it.I won't be buying from this buyer again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books are by far some of the best stories for kids in any decade.What a fun way to learn acceptable behavior and manners from a very quirky lady who delights children and parents at the same time.I enjoyed Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as a child, have read them to my children and I am now collecting the hardcover books to read with my grandchildren.
Jacqueline Young, Author of "The Tail of Squabbit".

5-0 out of 5 stars Family Favorite
When I was a young girl I read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and I loved it! I kept the book, read it to my three daughters, and now have bought it for my grand-daughters. I'm sure they'll love it and get as much pleasure out of it that I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Favorite from when I was a kid!
This is one of the few books that I remember having read to me as a child.I think I was in about 3rd grade.My 6 year old is enjoying it now.I was so excited to find it here when I searched for it.I thought it would be out of print.It's a small paperback book - nothing fancy but entertaining! ... Read more

3. Onions in the Stew
by Betty MacDonald
Paperback: 256 Pages (2000-08)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$89.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1888173300
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
You know how sometimes friendship blossoms in the Þrst few moments of meeting? “Something clicked,” we say. Well, that’s what discovering Betty MacDonald was like for me: I happened to read a couple of pages of one of her books and — click — knew right away that here was a vivacious writer whose friendly, funny, and Þery company I was really going to enjoy. Although MacDonald’s Þrst and most popular book, The Egg and I, has remained in print since its original publication, her three other volumes have been unavailable for decades. The Plague and I recounts MacDonald’s experiences in a Seattle sanitarium, where the author spent almost a year (1938-39) battling tuberculosis. The White Plague was no laughing matter, but MacDonald nonetheless makes a sprightly tale of her brush with something deadly. Anybody Can Do Anything is a high-spirited, hilarious celebration of how “the warmth and loyalty and laughter of a big family” brightened their weathering of The Great Depression. In Onions in the Stew, MacDonald is in unbuttonedly frolicsome form as she describes how, with husband and daughters, she set to work making a life on a rough-and-tumble island in Puget Sound, a ferry-ride from Seattle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars A very tasty "Stew"
This was actually the first of Betty MacDonald's "adult" books that I read, many years ago.Following WWII, Betty went to live year-round on Vashon Island in Puget Sound with her second husband, Don, and her two teenage daughters from her first marriage. At that time the island was pretty undeveloped, making living there year-round a bit of an adventure to say the least.Even getting from one's house to catch the ferry to go to work or school in the city can be complicated (and funny).

This is a much happier and softer-edged read than Betty's first book, "The Egg and I", with much of the humor coming from Betty's interactions with her teen daughters and the forces of nature such as weather and wildlife that permeate Vashon Island.As in "Egg", Betty finds Nature to be sometimes beautiful, sometimes oppressive, but she's older, calmer, has a supportive family and therefore seems better able to deal with it in "Onions."

I like all of Betty Macdonald's books and would recommend them all as being very fun and funny to read.But I have to say I think "Egg" was the better book just because it was the first and most original.You get the impression that by the time Betty wrote "Onions" she was well-established and had her formula down pat, so you see some of the same devices being reused.For example, some sections of "Onions" skewering (supposedly fictionalized) neighbors and acquaintances who Betty didn't like or didn't get along with seem like a bit of a rehash of similar chapters from "Egg".Also, Betty's new husband Don is very flatly portrayed (maybe he had a calm "flat" personality in real life too?) with the upshot being that he and Bob from "Egg" could almost be interchangeable. You get little sense of the actual men behind the characters.However, given that Don is largely a bit player in the I-Love-Lucy-in-the-wilderness scenarios here, his lack of a defined personality doesn't detract too much from the story.

This book is also very clearly set in a bygone era given that everybody drinks and smokes to excess and there is an entire chapter involving one of Don's old buddies who comes to visit, gets drunk, climbs up on the Macdonalds' roof and proceeds to stay there for a day or two drinking until he finally falls off.I doubt very much this would be considered humorous behavior today.It's still funny though.

5-0 out of 5 stars a treasure
This book was given to me when I was about 10 yrs old.I still have it and I still read it over and over again.As testimony to Betty MacDonald's ability to make you laugh, I read Onions In the Stew every time I was sick and staying home from school.Though suffering from strep throat with 103 degree fever,I would read it and laugh uproariously!


5-0 out of 5 stars Any high school teacher or parent of adolescents. . . .
. . . should read this.Unless your kids are actually juvenile delinquents there is no way they can be more difficult than Annie and Joan, and both of them grew up to be perfectly charming and well-adjusted women.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best of her books
I first met Betty McDonald when I read The Egg and I, back in high school in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1960s, and I was completely enthralled.First of all: she writes extremely well.Her sentences are terse and well-formed, and she has a knack for shaping quips of all kinds: the quick laugh, the sudden surprise laugh line, and the careful set-up gag.Most of all, though, I find myself laughing aloud (she's one of the few authors who makes me laugh aloud while reading) at the perfection of a sentence which is at the same time witty, perfectly balanced, completely appropriate, and completely unexpected.

You will find all this - in spades - in Onions in the Stew.It is a mellower book than the others, for many reasons; she was older when she wrote it - and, I think, happier in her second marriage; also, her already considerable skill at writing had grown.Her descriptions of Vashon Island in the 1940s are utterly perfect: beautiful, clever, and bittersweet all at once.Her descriptions of her husband and daughters - and others in her family - are full of warmth, and are at the same time completely clear-eyed and unsentimental.

Frankly, comparing Betty to Erma Bombeck is like comparing Julia Child to Rachael Ray.They can both cook - but, oh boy, I know whose house I'd like to visit for lunch . . . ... Read more

4. Anybody Can Do Anything
by Betty Macdonald
 Hardcover: Pages (1950-01-01)

Asin: B001PCO5F8
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars funny read
This is an old book on how many survived during the depression. Betty was the master of the odd job many short lived.IT is a funnyquick read. Sister Mary is the best character in the book. Read andenjoy.Buy it from Amazon as you will never find it else where.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book to read during this recession!
This book seems to be the hardest to find of Betty's adult books (although I noted that someone else said it is now being republished).I had read "The Egg and I", "The Plague and I" and "Onions in the Stew" years before after finding copies at rummage sales or in old Readers Digest condensed editions, but I didn't happen across a copy of this one for many years.What a shame, because it's not only funny and enjoyable like Betty's other writings, but the subject matter relates to Betty and her sisters seeking and holding a variety of office jobs during the Great Depression, when Betty was raising her two daughters as a single parent and her entire extended family in Seattle were trying to make ends meet.The indomitable stamina and confidence that Betty's brash and outgoing sister Mary shows in job-seeking during the depression (and advises Betty about) are exactly what you need to survive, if not succeed, in a tough job environment.Mary manages to keep both of the sisters employed even while they engage in such hijinks as commandeering their boss's office to dress for dinner dates while Boss is out of town, only to have Boss return unexpectedly in a farcical scene straight out of "The Lucy Show" with Mr. Mooney.When not working or looking for work, the sisters have to keep their work and interviewing wardrobes refreshed, clean and mended on a tight budget, and incidentally find time for fun.On top of having a good laugh, I have actually learned lessons from Betty's and Mary's depression adventures that I can apply in the workplace today.As a consequence, this is one of my favorite Betty books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anybody Can Do Anything
So pleased with the product, the company I purchased it from,the prompt delivery everything was first rate.

5-0 out of 5 stars After she dumped the bum. . . .
we get the story of what she and the children did with themselves.

Her father had been a mining engineer, and although he died fairly young he had been able to save quite a bit; her mother had come from a 'good' East Coast family--not REALLY rich, but apparently quite well off.Betty and her siblings had grown up in large houses with music and dance lessons.However, the Great Depression reduced the family's portfolio to wastepaper.The children had never been taught to actually *do* anything, and actually going out to work for a living was something that they (especially the daughters) had never thought that they would have to do.

The story of how they scrambled to make ends meet during the 1930s would have been grim, but the Bard family despises self-pity above all other faults, and Betty is able to find humor in any situation.

After women having to work to survive during the 1930s, and having to work in the 1940s when all the men were off to war, is it any wonder that the women of this generation and their daughters wanted to retreat into domesticity during the 1950s?

5-0 out of 5 stars Treasure Worth Digging For
This book is hard to find, so if you get the chance, snap it up!
This is a hilarious account of the author's life post-"Egg & I."
Betty moves from the chicken ranch back to her family's home in Seattle.
Sister Mary, undaunted by the fact that Betty has no experience, eagerly launches Betty's business career and social life.
The mishaps that ensue are absolutely hilarious.
Skillfully written, this book makes the Depression a laugh riot.
I only wish that Betty had written more books. ... Read more

5. Nancy and Plum
by Betty Macdonald
Kindle Edition: 240 Pages (2010-10-19)
list price: US$15.99
Asin: B003F3PLX0
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Editorial Review

Product Description
It was Christmas Eve. Big snowflakes fluttered slowly through the air like white feathers
and made all of Heavenly Valley smooth and white and quiet and beautiful.

So begins the story of two orphaned sisters at Mrs. Monday’s Boarding School. But nothing is heavenly for Nancy and Pamela (aka Plum): their parents died in a tragic accident years ago, they’re constantly punished by the cruel Mrs. Monday, and they’re all alone for the holidays.

Luckily, Nancy and Plum have each other, and though their prospects may be bleak, they’re determined to change their lot for the better. If their plan works, the spirited sisters will never spend Christmas at the cold, dark boarding school again. But what will they find on the other side of Mrs. Monday’s gate?

Adventure, warmth, unforgettable characters, and unexpected kindness abound in this classic story by Betty MacDonald, which was originally published in 1952. With illustrations by the acclaimed Mary GrandPré and an introduction by Jeanne Birdsall, National Book Award–winning author of The Penderwicks, this edition introduces the spunky, beloved heroines to a new generation of fans.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

6. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Won't-Take-a-Bath Cure
by Betty, Illustrated By Bruce Whatley MacDonald
 Paperback: 32 Pages (1999)
-- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 059051041X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this book as a child - my girls love it, too!
This book and all of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books are hilarious!!!Reminds me a little bit of the modern day Nanny McPhee.Perfectly wonderful solutions for all of those not-so-great things that ALL kids do.Shows that parents were faced with the same silly kid problems.

My personal favorite and the one I remember 35+ years later... the kid that didn't want to take a bath.Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle advises the parents to ignore the layers of dirt on their child who refuses to take a bath.Instead, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle tells the parent to let the dirt build-up on the child until it's thick and then plant radish seeds when the child is sleeping at night.Radishes grow, child gets itchy/uncomfortable, bath is taken.Problem solved!Kids love these books!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wash that review away this is a great book
This was a great book for my daughter who began to protest baths.Getting so dirty plants start sprouting on you was a great way for her to understand she needs to take a bath.I don't know who in their right mind would use "stern reprimands" to get a young child to take a bath as suggested by the prior reviewer.This book is a great way to get a child to understand about baths in a fun way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kids LOVE this!
I read this to my first grade class and they loved it!

5-0 out of 5 stars GOOD BOOK FOR BATH TIME
[...]I must give this book 5 stars. It's intended to get your stubborn child to take a bath all the while using a little HUMOR.It was my husbands aunt, Betty McDonald who wrote this book, so perhaps I am partial, but I still don't think anyone since has been able to write books like Betty did. [...]

1-0 out of 5 stars Dirty Story
Nasty Patsy won't take a bath. Instead of doing the normal thing with stern reprimands; reasoning and that age old method involving soap and water, the stupid thing's parents call in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. She suggests planting seeds in the dirt that has accumulated on the nasty girl. Before long, Nasty Patsy is sprouting all flora and vegetables and this is far from being a palatable story. This has been one of my least favorites since childhood. It is the worst Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story. Ugh!
... Read more

7. Onions in the Stew
by Betty MacDonald
Hardcover: Pages (1955)

Asin: B00137OE8S
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

8. The Plague and I
by Betty MacDonald
Hardcover: Pages (1948)

Asin: B002E5B9OU
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9. The Egg and I
by Betty MacDonald
 Hardcover: 287 Pages (1946)

Asin: B001QOCO58
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

10. The Plague And I (Common Reader Editions)
by Betty Bard MacDonald
Paperback: 254 Pages (2000-07)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$103.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1888173297
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
You know how sometimes friendship blossoms in the Þrst few moments of meeting? “Something clicked,” we say. Well, that’s what discovering Betty MacDonald was like for me: I happened to read a couple of pages of one of her books and — click — knew right away that here was a vivacious writer whose friendly, funny, and Þery company I was really going to enjoy. Although MacDonald’s Þrst and most popular book, The Egg and I, has remained in print since its original publication, her three other volumes have been unavailable for decades. The Plague and I recounts MacDonald’s experiences in a Seattle sanitarium, where the author spent almost a year (1938-39) battling tuberculosis. The White Plague was no laughing matter, but MacDonald nonetheless makes a sprightly tale of her brush with something deadly. Anybody Can Do Anything is a high-spirited, hilarious celebration of how “the warmth and loyalty and laughter of a big family” brightened their weathering of The Great Depression. In Onions in the Stew, MacDonald is in unbuttonedly frolicsome form as she describes how, with husband and daughters, she set to work making a life on a rough-and-tumble island in Puget Sound, a ferry-ride from Seattle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Funny, insightful look into a treatment that no longer exists
In this book, Betty McDonald writes about her experience with t.b. and being in a sanatorium for 9 months -- at the time the only way they had to cure a patient, and hardly a guaranteed one.

Like The Egg and I, I started out really into this book, and by the time it was over I was as ready as Betty was for her to go home. However, the look into life in a sanatorium in the 1930s, when there was no known cure for tb and doctors barely even understood what it was, is certainly an interesting slice of life.

Also: I read my uni library version of this book, which was personally inscribed by Betty herself, to "Bernice, who has been through this in all its phases -- Love, Betty McDonald" The two doctors who the book is dedicated to have also signed the book. And glued to the inside cover is Betty McDonald's obituary. So apparently the original owner of this book knew her. (This is why library books are so much cooler than store-bought ones)

Sixty years ago, a sullen fourteen-year old, I curled up in a big armchair and read THE PLAGUE AND I. My laughter got louder and louder, closer to shrieks, and finally my father stormed into the room and yelled, "Quit that! No book is that funny!"He grabbed the book from me and said, "Go do your homework!" I stormed outside and flopped huffily into the hammock.

When, huffed out, I finally came back in, my mother said, "Well, I hope you're satisfied! Your father's teeth are broken!"I was used to getting blamed for small crises in the household, but was really mystified by this accusation. Mom turned her back to me, but I could hear an amused snort escape.

"He was reading that book of yours in the bathroom.Laughed so hard his teeth fell out and broke on the floor tiles."

I have just now finished another reading of THE PLAGUE AND I. It's even more fun than it was all those years ago.Just keep your teeth in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only Betty could make a stay in a TB sanitarium seem funny.
This book differs from Betty's other humorous memoirs because the subject matter is unavoidably dark.In the late 1930s Betty contracted tuberculosis (TB) from a coworker and, because the disease was highly contagious with the only possible cure being bed rest and various other operating procedures - no "wonder drugs" available yet - she had to be sent to a sanatorium for a protracted stay.While this, like all of Betty's books, is very funny, there's an undercurrent of darkness as some of the characters do get sicker and even die. Betty herself worries that she might not recover and is lonely and separated from her two children during the time she's in hospital.Aside from all that, believe it or not, it is hilarious.Only Betty could make the description of a patient in the next bed suddenly vomiting during everyone's dinner hour funny by dryly observing that maybe the lady got sick because she'd just read her "Beautiful Thought", a sickly-sweet positive-thinking bon mot (such as "If you must be blue, be a bright blue") provided with every meal tray.

Fortunately, there's a reasonably happy ending for Betty and her friend Kimi, as both get well, leave the sanitarium and live to joke about it and reminisce about the cameraderie that most people who have never been in a sanitarium will never experience.

If you've ever been hospitalized for a long time or had a family member who was, you'll probably find things to relate to and laugh about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book but slightly smelly
I have loved this book for years and purchased this copy so I could loan it to friends without fear of not having it returned. The copy I received was as described, slight yellowing of pages but a tight, sound binding with library markings. The one thing that wasn't mentioned was the smell which leant an "air" of Northwestern authenticity to the story. While there was no sign of mold, the scent of mildew was very present.
Still, read this book. It is wonderful.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Plague and I
I read The Plague and I when I was a child.This book was so engaging and so hilarious, I wanted (with apologies to all) to get TB and go to a sanitarium!!!It sounded like a really fun thing to do.That is the power of Betty MacDonald's writing. ... Read more

11. Much Laughter, a Few Tears: Memoirs of a Woman's Friendship With Betty Macdonald and Her Family
by Blanche Caffiere
 Paperback: 159 Pages (1992-06)
list price: US$15.95
Isbn: 0963378805
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wounderful Memories
Blanche, Betty, Allison and Cleve were my friends on Vashon Island. This book is like setting down for coffee and talking with them again on Vashon Island. Always enjoyed hearing the stories of life, and the funny times they had during the early days with Betty MacDonald.

No longer living on the island, but enjoy reading the stories again and again.

1-0 out of 5 stars I'm so terribly disapointed
I hoped to receive some more info about the life of Betty MacDonald. I found nothing. The pictures are very bad.
Only a few of Betty. No picsof Betty's mother, father, sisters and brother. Why? I don't understand this.
And the stories are rather boring. I found no details about Betty's life? And I know she had a very exciting and fascinating life. A good advice for Betty Fans all over the world. There is a Betty Fan Club and a wonderful surprise for me was that Betty's best friend Kimi is still alive and she is a real story
teller. A brilliant writer indeed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Promises but does not deliver.
I was very pleased to discover this book having been a fan of Betty Macdonald for many years. I hoped this book would provide background information and answers to many unanswered questions about Betty's life - her family, marraiges, her early death etc. However, with the exception of the first chapter, this book was very disappointing. Titles to chapters promise all eg. "Betty tells chicken ranch stories" but scant information is confined to a few lines on the final page and this pattern is repeated throughout the book. Not to be recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Huge Betty Fan
I was somewhat suprised to read the poor review of this book.I am always glad to learn any new information on Betty and was thrilled when I discovered this book last year.It was interesting to get an outsiders view of this fascinating family and I quite enjoyed Blanche Caffiere's writing style.It's a must read for the true Betty MacDonald fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reliving my Past
This book is wonderful.Both Betty MacDonald and Blanche Caffiere were the same age as my parents and actually my folks were friends with both of them.It was like sitting at our dinner table at night and my Mom telling my Dad stories about her day with the "girls".I loved the story, the facts were very accurate, nice memories of places in Seattle such as Frederick & Nelson, Laurelhurst, The Athletic Club, Vashon (Burton), etc.For someone who is from the Seattle area, I think they would love this story and Mrs. Caffiere told her story like you were sitting across from her at the kitchen table with a cup of tea.I highly recommend. ... Read more

12. The Egg and I By Betty mcDonald
by Betty MacDonald
Hardcover: Pages (1946)

Asin: B003USZK0E
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Editorial Review

Product Description
June 1946, seventeenth impressionprinted in USAJ.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, New York287 pages ... Read more

13. Nancy & Plum
by Betty MacDonald
 Audio Cassette: Pages (2000)
-- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0788747258
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Editorial Review

Product Description
4 cassettes/5.5 hours. From the back cover: Ten-year-old Nancy and eight-year-old Plum live in Mrs. Monday's Boarding Home for Children. Uncle John sent them there six years ago, right after their parents died. He thinks they are enjoying delicious home-cooked food and tender loving care. Instead, Mrs. Monday serves burnt oatmeal -- if she hasn't already sent the sisters to bed without supper.Uncle John never sends letters or new clothes. Nancy and Plum must wear ragged dresses and stuff their worn out shoes with cardboard. But one Christmas they find a large empty box with their names on it. Do they dare confront cruel Mrs. Monday with their discovery? ... Read more

14. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
by Betty MacDonald
School & Library Binding: 144 Pages (1976-09-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$12.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881037931
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. From her upside down house, the eccentric Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cures such common children's diseases as won't-put-away-toys-itis, answerbackism, and fighter-quarrelitis.Amazon.com Review
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has been wildly popular with children and adults forover 50 years. Children adore her because she understands them--andbecause her upside-down house is always filled with the smell of freshlybaked cookies, and her backyard with buried treasure. Grownups love herbecause her magical common sense solutions to children's problemssucceed when their own cajoling and yelling don't.For the child who refuses to bathe, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle recommends lettingher be. Wait until the dirt on her body has accumulated to half an inch,then scatter radish seeds on her arms and head. When the plants startsprouting, the nonbather is guaranteed to change her mind about that bath.

Hilary Knight's (Eloise, Sunday Morning) delightfulpictures provide lively, droll accompaniment to Betty MacDonald'srefreshing stories. Whether Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is curing Answer-Backers orSlow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Takers, her remedies always work like a charm. Morethan one parent over the years has surreptitiously turned to Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle when Dr. Spock failed to come through. (Ages 8 to 12)--Emilie Coulter ... Read more

Customer Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book
The book is one is a series and is timeless for any parent or child.Its a book I reccomend you read with your child. Its a fun guidebook to the speedbumps we encounter as we grow up but the lessons are universal amd ageless.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great books for ages 6 and up
This book and the others in the "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" series all focus on gently humorous tales of a lovable old widow who specializes in helping parents resolve their kids' minor "behavior problems."When a child doesn't want to take a bath, do the dishes or some other thing that his or her parents have quite reasonably asked, and then not-so-reasonably ordered, that child to do, the harassed parents call upon Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, who always finds a way to make the chore fun or show the child the awful consequences of not doing what she's supposed to do.Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is very wise and persuasive and has the answers to every dilemma.The chapters are short and all follow the same pattern so these are fun books for digesting chapter-by-chapter.My friends and I loved these books when we were in the primary grades at school and we just adored Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

I would caution that these books are probably not for very young children.The misbehavior of the kids in the stories is pretty graphically depicted and you want to be sure the child is old enough to grasp the lesson involved rather than just act out the bad behavior.I would recommend the books for age 6 and up.

I am also giving this edition only 4 stars because while I think the books are 5-star books, the new jacket designs pictured on Amazon do not appear to have been done by Hilary Knight and Maurice Sendak, who did the original illustrations that I really loved as a kid (and that hopefully are still used inside the book).I'm not a fan of tarting classic books up with new illustrations and I think the new covers are frankly ugly.If you'd like the "classic" Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, buy the box set with the dust jackets I remember from childhood.I gave the box set 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still enjoyable
I remember Mrs Piggle-Wiggle when I was a kid.I was pleased when my daughter asked me to buy this for her.Mrs Piggle-Wiggle is still as much fun as I remember.My daughter enjoys the stories and thinks Mrs Piggle-Wiggle's cures are funny.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
I just finished reading this book to my niece (4) and nephew (6).There are so many things I loved about it, I think I'll just list them out here.

1. Everything was so simple - simple enough for me to laugh and enjoy reading, and simple enough that the children could understand what I was reading about.As much as I love reading descriptions aloud to them, it's more fun for THEM to hear dialog and funny cures.

2. The symptoms are VERY real ones.Never wanting to go to bed, fighting all the time, never wanting to take a bath.While it's somewhat ridiculous to think the parents were so at wits end it's also not all that ridiculous.After all, how many times were you in that very place?

3. The cures are creative, fun and really get the kids laughing.I can't count the number of nightly belly-laughs I heard from my niece, or the number of tears I saw escaping from my nephews eyes because he was laughing so hard.

4. This is the first book that both children couldn't wait to have me read to them.They'd sit completely still, eagerly wanting to hear about whatever the night's cure would be.We'd speculate before we began reading the chapters and sometimes we were spot on.. and others.. well, the Radish Cure wasn't what I was expecting!

Most importantly, this book gives children someone to love within the book.Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the perfect "adult".She doesn't mind messes, she lets girls dress-up in her clothes, she plays make-believe, lets children dig holes in her backyard and experiment with planting flowers in her front yard.Oh, and did I mention? Her house is.. UPSIDE-DOWN.

I loved this book and plan on reading all of its sequels to my niece and nephew.They can't wait and made sure the last time I was at the library that I had the next one in hand, ready to be checked out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Piggle Wiggle at her best
I have loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle since grade school and searched for this book to give as a gift this Christmas.It might seem silly and simplistic to some; but the entertainment and joy the book brings is worth the read.It can also give some insight into alternate disciplining of children!Watch out kids!

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle take a different approach to helping parents with children in need of direction...she let's the kids realize that what they are doing is wrong and has consequences - all without causing them harm..maybe just a bit of discomfort! ... Read more

15. Nancy and Plum
by Betty MacDonald
Hardcover: 160 Pages (1999-01-07)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$84.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0704102927
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Nancy and Plum" is a children's book written by the world famous author Betty McDonald, who wrote four popular "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" children's books, and also the adult books, "The Egg & I", "Anybody Can Do Anything" and "Onion in the Stew".

"Nancy and Plum" was first published in 1952.It is a story Betty told her daughters, Joan and Anne, each night at bedtime, making it up as she went along.It is a delightful old fashioned Christmas story about two sisters, Nancy, 10 and Plum, 8, whose parents died in an accident.Their surviving relative is Uncle John, a wealthy bachelor with little patience or time for children.He puts the girls in Mrs. Monday's Boarding School in Heavenly Valley, persuaded by Mrs. Monday's promises and unctuous manner.

But Mrs. Monday is an ogre who pampers her niece, Maribelle, and persecutes the other girls in her custody.

Of the two sisters, Plum is the spunky one, leading Nancy on forays for food and initiating their running away.Plum like that more famous orphan, ,Annie, is brave, innovative and energetic.

There are lovely characters who are sympathetic and help the girls: Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, who find the girls on their farm and rescue them; Miss Waverly, the school teacher; Miss Appleby, the librarianl and Old Tom, the caretaker at the orphanage.For contrast their is Miss Gronk the Sunday school teacher, who shares the role of villianess with Mrs. Monday.

"Nancy and Plum" and "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" were made into plays by the Seattle Children's Theater which were done exactly the way Betty would have wanted.They appealed to adults as well as children and are now being performed by other children's theaters throughout the United States. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars My teacher read it to us in 3rd grade, too.
I am going to buy it for my grandchildren. I remember loving listening while our sweet teacher read this to us. She would read it in the mid-afternoon. She would have us all put our heads down on our desks and relax. Then she would read a chapter or 2. Even the boys enjoyed it. Plum was just rambuctious enough to keep them interested. The fact that a book has stayed with me (with all of us, obviously) to 50 years now, certainly says something. I didn't realize it was still in print or I would have read it to my daughter. I did share books like Mrs. Mike and A Wrinkle in Time with her, so she wasn't completely deprived. Maybe I'll let her listen as I read Nancy and Plum to the grandchildren. LOL.

5-0 out of 5 stars Favorite Childhood Book
I found this book at the local library when I was a child.It touched me deeply as a child, and I am sure it molded me into who I am today in some ways.I was so surprised many, many years later to read it via a new copy and see how the vocabulary and all seemed so advanced from what I remembered!Yet, what a delight!I was thrilled to be able to obtain a copy of this book (some years ago now) since my search was long and wide for this one for sometime!(I wanted to share it.)
I highly recommend this to children and even adults, for I think it touches compassionate heart strings and is an exciting story for a child and anyone who loves stories about orphans!The book that I own is thinner and taller than the original; perhaps, the library one was made like those other children books of the day...a bit chubbier with those heavier book covers and larger print fonts.Just the same, this smaller thinner size might be just as appealing to kids.
God bless you in Jesus' Name.

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific, hard-to-find book
My daughter's 3rd Grade teacher introduced her to Nancy and Plum.It has become one of my daughter's favorite books over the years, but it's very difficult to find because it's been out of print for years.I was happy to find a hardcover edition since it holds up better to repeat use.My daughter was thrilled to get her very own copy--no more need to borrow from the library several times a year.

5-0 out of 5 stars My beloved second grade teacher in Juneau, Alaska, Mrs. Gwyther, read this book to our class
also; I was enchanted, and when it was done, asked her if I could borrow it.It was her personal copy, and very old (to me), and I loved the smooth, thin pages and the illustrations....She let me take it home to read, and I felt so special.I still feel special when I remember how much she trusted a second grader to keep her own book safe.I loved it and wanted to find it for my second grade daughter.Too bad there are no copies available here that are under $100 :-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fond Memories
I never had anyone read this to me.I stumbled upon it during library time at good old Woodmore Elementary in Bowie MD.I bet it's still there.I loved this book from the moment I opened it.I loved the story, the hard cover, the size of the book, the way the old brittle pages felt as I turned the pages, and even the way the old pages smelled in 1974 (the book had been out for about 20 years by then I guess).I checked it out over and over again and now I hope to read it to my 7 year old.I know she'll love it too.I'm thrilled to see it available on Amazon because you can't get it in our local library and even the used book store in town has given me the shrug.Yay Amazon. ... Read more

16. Onions in the Stew
by Betty Macdonald
Hardcover: Pages (1955-01-01)

Asin: B000LBFBZC
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ
Betty MacDonald is a wonderful writer, local to the Seattle area, and surprisingly unknown by many. Although some of her books are out of print, some are not. The most famous are the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series for kids, and the Egg and I. My favorite, however, is Onions in the Stew. It takes place on Vashon Island in the 1950s, and has Betty raising her teenage daughters with her 2nd husband. As always, she is very, very funny and at the same time aware of nature as well as human nature. This is one of my favorite books.

5-0 out of 5 stars The only way to make it though this tough life is to laugh through the tears....Betty sure did.
The above write has obvious not read Betty MacDonald's other books that would explain why she feels the way she doses aboutsuch issues as why she dislikes Indians and why she like the Japanese family. Just like anyone it was based on her own experiences in life. (The Egg and I explains her feelings toward the Indians and the Plague and I explains why she gave the Japanese the benefit of the doubt.) All of us have our own prejudices even if we don't want to admit it. Why read a book if you don't want to see things from the point of view of the author? After all "this" book does not claim to be the autobiography of Betty MacDonald so there are likely some embellishments here and there but that does not take away from the charm and humor that this book has to offer.

If you like to read the Little House Books when you were little. (Also much of which was embellished by the way but still a wonderful series giving an idea of what it was like to grow up as a pioneer) Then I promise you that as an adult you will love this book.

Reading Betty MacDonald's books has taught me much in the way of tolerance and friendship even as an adult in my late 20's . Instead of being annoyed with someone and just disliking them because they are different I try to sit back and view it as entreating is instead of annoying. If we were all the same it would be a boring world. I not only recommend this book but all of Betty's books. (the only one I have not read is her auto-biography but I look forward to reading that as well.)

The only way to make it though this tough life is to laugh through the tears....Betty sure did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Slick Little 50s Bestseller About 40s Middle-Class Puget Bohemians
When I was little I thought this book was fabulous, a true-to-life account of homelife dysfunction as seen through the gimlet eyes of a hard-drinkin', hard-smokin' working mom in the Seattle area. I had no idea Betty MacDonald was mostly famous for the Egg book, and I didn't know what the Egg book was.

Now I read it again many years later and am bowled over by how tame it was. Not only that, but by how offensively slick and salable MacDonald's prose style was. Well of course it was; writing was a business, and she knew how to pander to her editors and readers. I doubt anyone ever nailed the sassy-hausfrau idiom as well as Betty MacDonald, though her example certainly inspired lots of imitators (Jean Kerr, possibly Erma Bombeck).

This sort of slick commercial writing preserves, like a fly in amber, the accepted prejudices and sanctioned attitudes of the era. Not necessarily what the author or the readers think, but what the author and editors assume the readers think they ought to think. A second-guessing political correctness that continues today but with very different results.

In Betty's day it was thought to be very bright and sassy to say you just didn't like Indians and they were a nuisance (The Egg and I) or to be whimsical about a Japanese family in the U-District that gets sent to an internment camp. It didn't matter whether this reflects Betty's own point of view, it was just something that was expected make her readers purr with delight.

I get the idea that popular writers today--I am speaking mostly of TV and movies, since books are no longer mainstream--accomplish the same thing by making lighthearted banter about those cruel people who refuse to sign on to the idea of "same-sex marriage", or who think that negroes are not merely funny-looking white people. These "witticisms" don't necessarily speak to the actual assumptions of the average person, but they do try to anticipate what the bien-pensant bromide in the street thinks he ought to think.

Another point entirely... Funny how your mental images of the characters are determined by your own state in life. The two daughters in the book were old, sophisticated teenagers when I read by the book in my own pre-teen years. Now they're just little kids, barely out of rompers. ... Read more

17. Who, me!: The autobiography of Betty MacDonald
by Betty (Bard) MacDonald
 Hardcover: 352 Pages (1959)

Asin: B0006AW4QC
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars If you only have one MacDonald...
If "Anybody Can Do Anything," then everyone should have some Betty MacDonald books on the shelf. My super-modern grandson,m in second grade at the time, got a great kick out of the "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" book I got him for Christmas.
The adult books are gems of humorous American writing. Every word should be savored. "Who Me?" was pulled together from Betty's four adult books. All the writing was hers, however. It was recommended to librarians at the time (around 1959 or 1960) that if they had the complete books, this abridgement wasn't necessary for the collection.
I would agree. ...Most of Betty's other stuff is available, however, which should be good news for fans new and old. ... Read more

18. Who, Me? The Autobiography by Betty MacDonald
by Betty MacDonald
 Unknown Binding: Pages (2010)

Asin: B0041H3MR6
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

by Betty MacDonald
 Hardcover: Pages (1945)

Asin: B002J9R0DU
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20. the Egg and I
by Macdonald Betty
 Hardcover: Pages (1945)

Asin: B000NVC0WM
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