Author: Betty MacDonald
Narrator: Heather Henderson
Length: 8 hours 30 minutes
Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press⎮2016
Genre: Humor, Memoir
“The best thing about the Depression was the way it reunited our family and gave my sister Mary a real opportunity to prove that anybody can do anything, especially Betty.”
After surviving both the failed chicken farm – and marriage – immortalized in The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald returns to live with her mother and desperately searches to find a job to support her two young daughters. With the help of her older sister Mary, Anybody Can Do Anything recounts her failed, and often hilarious, attempts to find work during the Great Depression.
Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and The Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald’s Ma and Pa Kettle characters.
MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).
Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.
Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts. Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire; and Sharon Creech’s The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children’s Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine. She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of AudioEloquence.com, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry. In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I.
I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free copy from Audiobookworm Promotions. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
I had listened to The Egg and I and The Plague and I and enjoyed both so I was looking forward to listening to this one. Betty MacDonald’s storytelling is delightful as is the narration.
This is my favorite book by Betty MacDonald so far. It’s mostly about her family life, both as a child and after she left her husband on the chicken farm and returned home. Since it was during the Depression, Betty, her daughters, her mom, and her siblings all lived under one roof and tried to survive the best they could.
Betty’s sister, Mary, was a force to be reckoned with. She could talk Betty into doing just about anything both when they were children and when they were adults. She got Betty into some scary situations but Betty is always able to put a spin on it and makes most things funny, anywhere from a chuckle to laugh out loud funny.
The narrator, Heather Henderson, has a pleasant voice and I enjoyed listening to her. She did a great job of using different voices for different characters. She has narrated all of the books by Betty MacDonald that I’ve listened to and it was nice to associate her voice with Betty’s stories.
I definitely recommend Anybody Can Do Anything if you enjoy a good story and I am looking forward to listening to Onions in the Stew by Betty MacDonald in the near future.
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