Title: The Egg and I
Series: Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #1
Author: Betty MacDonald
Publisher: George Mann Books
Release Date: 1945
Format: Audiobook (narrated by Heather Henderson)
Pages: 288, or 9 hours of audio
Source: Received from The Audiobookworm in exchange for my honest review
An immortal, hilarious and heartwarming classic about working a chicken farm in the Northwest, a part of which appeared in a condensed serialization in the Atlantic monthly.
I’ve wanted to read The Egg & I for several years, ever since I found out that my grandmother and grandfather had a small farm in Port Orchard, around the same time Betty MacDonald had the chicken ranch in Port Townsend (they would have been 60 miles apart, but experiencing similar challenges and beauty). My grandparents (all of them) died before I reached age 13, so I ever had a chance to know them as adults. It felt like reading this book would give me a better understanding, in some way, of who my grandmother was.
So when Audiobookworm Promotions advertised the release of it in audiobook format for the first time ever, I jumped at the chance. This is the kind of story very well-suited to an audiobook. The wry humor falls in the same storytelling vein as authors like Garrison Keillor, so listening to it was breezy and fun.
It’s always interesting to experience an actual historic novel- that is, written by someone living in that era, with all the ideals of the era and no consideration that these values may be incorrect. Historical fiction is fun, but always written from a modern perspective, so it lacks the raw punch of true historic accounts. Listening to Betty’s understanding (aka society’s expectation) of what it means to be a wife, her offhand racist comments toward First Nations, and her exasperation with the “current fad” of chicken ranching was both awkward and honest. Knowing this could have easily been my grandmother, I wanted to show her that she, too, could have wants and needs apart from catering to her husband. But, of course, that was the era.
Slight cringe-worthy moments aside, the dry wit applied to this memoir makes it fun. And it doesn’t romanticize the self-suficient country life or the area. It seems an apt read, given the rise of homesteading. And of course, listening to it fortified my resolve to never homestead.
I recommend it for fans of memoirs, the 1940s, homesteading and country/ranch life, western Washington, and dry humor. And I definitely recommend it in audiobook format.
Interested in listening to The Egg & I? Win a copy below: