Book Review: Keeping the Lights on for Ike by Rebecca Daniels

Keeping the Lights On for Ike by Rebecca Daniels

Publisher:  Sunbury Press, February 2019
Category: Memoir, History, Military, WWII, and Biography

ISBN:  978-1620061145
Available in Print and ebook, 284 pages

Daily Life of a Utilities Engineer at AFHQ in Europe During WWII; or, What to Say in Letters Home When You’re Not Allowed to Write about the War

Most people don’t realize that during the war in Europe in the 1940s, it took an average of six support soldiers to make the work of four combat soldiers possible. Most of what’s available in the literature tends toward combat narratives, and yet the support soldiers had complex and unique experiences as well. This book is based on personal correspondence, and it is primarily a memoir that creates a picture of the day-to-day realities of an individual soldier told in his own words [as much as he could tell under the wartime rules of censorship, that is] as well as giving insight into what it was actually like to be an American soldier during WWII.

It explores the experiences of a non-combat Army utilities engineer working in a combat zone during the war in Europe and takes the protagonist from basic training through various overseas assignments—in this case to England, North Africa, and Italy as a support soldier under Eisenhower and his successors at Allied Force Headquarters. It also includes some reflections about his life after returning to Oregon when the war was over.

The soldier involved is Captain Harold Alec Daniels [OSU, Class of 1939, ROTC] and most of the letters were written to his wife, Mary Daniels [attended U of O in the late 1930s]. They are the author’s parents, and she inherited the letter collection, photos, and all other primary source materials after her mother’s death in 2006.

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Guest Review by Laura Lee

The author of this book, Rebecca Daniels dedicated it to both of her parents and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to two people who led such extraordinary lives.
In the 1930’s, two people, a man and a woman lived in the same town and attended the same high school without ever meeting each other. The two did not meet until college, when Alec, a reserved and quiet engineering student and Mary, a journalism major who longed to be a mother one day, were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend.

But, of course, every good story has to have a little heartbreak, and shortly after the pair were married, the United States entered World War II. Like so many men during that time, Alec was drafted into the war. But, rather than being sent to the front lines, he was sent to a position in a support troop. Being an electrical engineer and a member of the ROTC meant that Alec had a special set of skills that were best used in one of the many troops that provided support to the combat soldiers on the front lines of the war.

These troops covered things like administrative, logistical and infrastructure duties that made it so the soldiers in the trenches had an easier time staying alive. It’s a seldom talked about aspect of the war effort, and one that Rebecca Daniels covers beautifully not just from the perspective of a daughter but, through the usage of letters and cards between her parents from that time, from the perspective of Alec himself. Though Alec was not able to discuss much about his whereabouts or his work in the letters that he sent home to his new wife, his love for Mary was clear and it is through these letters that the narrative gains a very sweet and humanizing element.

I highly recommend this incredibly touching read! You can’t go wrong with this one! I give it 5 stars, more if I could.

Praise for Keeping the Lights on for Ike

“The book moves swiftly along, while at the same time capturing the frustration of their prolonged separation. The historical timeline provides just the right bit of historical context to these war years behind at the tail of the army. This is not the typical WWII combat book.”- The Montague Reporter

“The lack of military detail — the focus on everyday life and on the relationship between Alec and Mary — ends up being one of the book’s greatest assets. Many works of history detail the story of great battles. Fewer dwell on individual wartime experiences.  The book is also strengthened by the affection expressed in Alec’s relatively inarticulate yet moving letters to his wife on the home front.”- Tinky Weisblat, Greenfield Recorder, author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook,” “Pulling Taffy,” and “Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb”

“Carefully researched history and a beautiful remembrance of one soldier’s letters home. A poignant and personal look into the lives of two very private people and an extraordinary first hand example of why it’s called the Greatest Generation. In detail and in truly first class research one is left with the sense that they know these two people very well. Not only is this a well written historical account of World War II, it is a touching and gentle love story from a remarkable author with a most deft touch and turn. Got five stars from me. So worth it.”-W. Richards, Amazon

“This book made me feel almost like I was right there with Alec and Mary as they experienced that time of their lives. My parents, being the same age, also had a similar experience and I thought of them as I read every word. The author cleverly brought to life their story and for that I shall be forever grateful.”- Sunbury Press Reader Review

About the Author

Rebecca Daniels has been a university professor for many years who has also simultaneously had a vital creative career in the theatre. Throughout her career, her work has always been a mix of performance, teaching, and her own writing.

Her groundbreaking book on women directors and the effects of gender on their work is currently still in print [Women Stage Directors Speak: Exploring the Effects of Gender on Their Work, McFarland, 1996], and she has been published in several theatre-related professional journals over the years as well. After her retirement in the summer of 2015, she was finally able to focus all her energies on this book.

Website:  https://rebecca-daniels.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.daniels.9

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 1 print copy open to Canada and the U.S. only. There are also 2 pdf copies open worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 12 Kick off & Excerpt

Miller Amazon June 15 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 16 Review & Guest Post

Dino Goodreads June 17 Review

Bee Book Pleasures June 18 Review

Waqas  Goodreads June 19 Review

Am Goodreads June 22 Reviewe

Betty Toots Book Reviews June 23 Review & Interview

Linda Lu Goodreads June 24 Review

Jas International Book Promotion June 25 Review

Bookgirl Goodreads June 26 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads June 29 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books June 30 Review & Excerpt

Michelle Reading Authors Network July 6

Dawn Bound 4 Escape July 10 Guest Review

Dee Donadees Corner July 15 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus July 17 Review

Kathleen Celticlady’s Reviews July 20 Guest Review  & Excerpt

Amber Imaginative Mama’s Dragonfly July 28 Review & Excerpt

Mindy Room Without Books is Empty July 29 Review

Danielle Urban Book Reviews July 31 Review & Guest Post

Book Review: The Story of Alexander Hamilton by Christine Platt

Discover the life of Alexander Hamilton—a story about working hard, blazing trails, and fighting for freedom

Alexander Hamilton became one of the most important Founding Fathers in American history. He helped win the Revolutionary War against England and invented our nation’s first banking system. Before that, he was a playful kid who loved to write and believed in hard work. Born on a Caribbean island, Alexander overcame many hardships to come to America and earn a name for himself.

Explore how Alexander Hamilton went from being a young immigrant boy with strong values to a celebrated American leader and icon.

This Alexander Hamilton chapter book for kids ages 6-8 includes:

Helpful definitions—Discover a glossary with easy-to-understand definitions for the more advanced words and ideas in the book.
His lasting legacy—Learn how Alexander shaped the world for future generations—including you!
Test your knowledge—Take a quick quiz at the end of the book to make sure you understand the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Alexander’s life.
How will Alexander Hamilton’s remarkable story inspire you?

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Alexander Hamilton was one of our Founding Fathers. He was a very smart man who started life poor and was an orphan by the time he was around 10 years old. It’s amazing what he made out of his life, but, sadly, he’s best known for dying in a duel with Aaron Burr, an enemy who had once been his friend.

This biography is written for young readers, and it not only teaches about Alexander Hamilton but about some of the history of our country. There are some extras included in The Story of Alexander Hamilton that will encourage children to learn. Some of the words are bold which means they are in the glossary in the back. There are also maps, time lines, and graphics called “Myths vs. Facts.” Occasionally, there’s an arrow with “Jump in the Think Tank” suggestions, which encourage children to express how they might feel in the same situation. There’s a quiz at the end as well as additional Think Tank questions.

It’s important to teach youngsters about Alexander Hamilton and other historical figures like him. He proved that no matter what life has dealt you, you can come out on top. This is definitely a book that should be in every child’s library.

About the Author

Christine A. Platt is a historian and storyteller of the African diaspora. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida, M.A. in African Studies from The Ohio State University and received her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Her debut novel, The Truth About Awiti, was published under the penname CP Patrick and won the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for Multicultural Fiction. The Truth About Awiti is currently used in high schools, colleges and universities to teach the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Christine’s highly anticipated children series, Ana & Andrew, will be published on December 15, 2018 (ABDO Books/Calico Kids).

Christine currently serves as the Managing Director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University under the leadership of National Book Award-winning author, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. She is a proud member of the Association of Black Women Historians and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She is also an Ambassador for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Additionally, Christine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

You can follow Christine on Instagram via @theafrominimalist, where she interacts with thousands of friends and fans on minimalism and, of course, books.

Book Review: Anna & Evan meet Charles Darwin by Tanya Hutter & Lina Daniel

Title: Anna & Evan meet Charles Darwin
Author: Tanya Hutter and Lina Daniel
Illustrator: Karin Eklund
Release Date: 28th February 2019
Genre: Picture Book
Page Count: 30
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

 

Join Anna and Evan on a magical adventure to the Galapagos Islands where they meet Charles Darwin, discover unusual animals and learn some interesting scientific facts.

This engaging and educational book is ideal for young children to encourage curiosity and interest in the natural world and science.

The project was supported by L’Oréal UK and Ireland For Women In Science Fellowship.

The Department of Chemistry at Cambridge tweeted: https://twitter.com/ChemCambridge/status/1095236077911187456

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44016125-anna-evan-meet-charles-darwin

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anna-Evan-Meet-Charles-Darwin-ebook/dp/B07NJGGB5C

 

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Anna & Evan meet Charles Darwin is a great children’s book that I enjoyed reading and even learned a few things myself. I didn’t realize that the same type of animal can be different in order to adapt to their environment, although it does make sense. For example, “African elephants have large ears to help them cool down because Africa is so hot…Asian elephants live in a cool jungle and have small ears.” There’s also information about Charles Darwin and at the end is a short biography of his plus a short dictionary of some of the words.

The illustrations are colorful but what I like the most is that there are quite a few animals illustrated and they are labeled.  Anna & Evan meet Charles Darwin also encourages the use of imagination. When Anna and Evan are at the zoo, they whisper a spell which takes them back in time and to the Galapagos Islands. 

This is a book that would be a good addition to any child’s library. It’s educational, encourages creativity, and will keep the attention of children.

 

 

About the Authors

As a young girl, Dr. Tanya Hutter couldn’t imagine that she would end up being a leading scientist in nanotechnology and chemical sensing, and a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Currently, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two curious children that inspired the book.

 

Lina Daniel has been always interested in science and medicine, eventually becoming a chemist and a pharmacist, and currently working in the pharmaceutical industry. With her husband, she is raising three enthusiastic boys. They all share a passion for scientific experiences, engineering novelties, fun historical facts, travels and adventures.

 

Tanya and Lina have been close friends for over two decades. The fact that they are both raising young children enhanced their desire to encourage kids to learn about science, and finally, drew them to write their first illustration book for small children. Hopefully, this will be the first one in a series of books about notable scientists and engineers.  

 

Website: https://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/outreach/anna-evan-meet-charles-darwin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HutterTanya

Twitter for L’Oréal UK: http://twitter.com/LOreal_UKI

 

 

Librarians on Horseback in the Thirties

“President Franklin Roosevelt was trying to figure out a way to resolve the Great Depression of the 1930s. His Works Progress Administration created the Pack Horse Library Initiative to help Americans become more literate so that they’d have a better chance of finding employment…The horseback librarians were mostly made up of women…” Unfortunately, the horseback delivery program ended with the beginning of World War II and was never resumed.

From Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, ca. 1930s, HistoryDaily.org

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Evidence is Lacking. Yet I Still Hope. by Joan Enders

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Joshua Henry Bates, a young teacher of a country school, wonders if there will be more to his life. Yes, there are summers away from the farm, attending the University of Utah, dancing at Saltair, watching pictures shows, and eating ice cream on bone dry days. In his journal he questions his future. He finds a young woman to love, but she is an ever-mutating mystery. His job seems to be a dead-end. His parents need his help more all the time. Josh tries to change his life: cooling the relationship with his girlfriend, teaching in a new school, and registering for service in the American Expeditionary Forces. Still, Joshua is filled with self-doubt. Will Josh marry the girl? Will he find a dazzling life mission? Will he be victorious in war? Each chapter contains one to thirty primary sources from the life of this young man drafted as a doughboy in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.
 Praise for the book:

If you have ever searched for your own history, or a way to bring history to life, this book is a masterpiece.”

Kelly Milner Halls, author of Saving the Baghdad Zoo

 

 

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ 

Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~

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Joan Enders lives in Washington State with her husband Jerry, and loves the Pacific Northwest! For 28 years she taught literature and research skills in school libraries to middle and high school students, and advocated for full-time school librarians in every school. She was a recipient of the American Library Association’s Frances Henne Award for library leadership. 
 
She loved her jobs, often to distraction. Once Joan stayed so late at the school library that the  custodians waxed the floors, unaware that she was  still upstairs. She crept out the least sticky exit. Joan now teaches librarians on webinars. When not teaching she administers the local Family History Center for FamilySearch International. She enjoys peeling back the research onion for students and adults. That was the motivation for her first book, which replicates her most popular inquiry lesson for U.S. History students and teachers. Joan speaks in her community, for professional organizations and at genealogy conferences.
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Connect with the Author here: 
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I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Evidence is Lacking. Yet I Still Hope. is an interesting true story about Joshua Henry Bates told through his journal and other documents from his life. Along with the documents are questions and prompts to look for important information (what the author found is listed in the back of the book). It basically teaches you how to be a genealogy detective.

I’ve always been interested in my family history and gathered a lot of information about it years ago. There is a form in Evidence is Lacking. Yet I Still Hope. that is “friendlier” than the form I was using. Also, QR codes are listed throughout the book to resources. I’m hoping that reading this book will help get me motivated to getting back to working on my family history.

This is a great resource for anyone who is interested in researching their family history and I plan on continuing to use it.

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander

 

Historical Fiction

Date Published: March 15, 2017

Publisher: Oppenlander Enterprises LLC

***An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel***

***Winner 2017 National Indie Excellence Award***

“This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as “Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It is truly that amazing!” InD’taleMagazine

“This family saga is wonderfully written and, aside from the emotional ramifications, very easy to read. I stayed up too late a couple of nights reading it…I highly recommend this book!” Long and Short Reviews

Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, author Annette Oppenlander’s SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children’s war.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children. 

When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also loses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family’s ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.

As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter’s lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father’s last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal–always just one step away from execution.

When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother’s severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor’s grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.

Purchase Links

 Amazon     B&N     Kobo

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Based on the true story of two children growing up in Nazi Germany, Surviving the Fatherland is historical fiction at its best. To see the effects of this war from a German child’s view is a perspective I haven’t read before.

It’s difficult to read parts of this book knowing that these things actually happened. The innocent Germans who just tried to survive are usually forgotten when talking about World War II. What German families had to endure under Hitler’s regime and afterward is unthinkable and it’s hard to think about the fact that it wasn’t that long ago. 

Annette Oppenlander does such a good job at describing what Lilly and Günter go through that I felt like I was sitting there listening to their stories first-hand.

Surviving the Fatherland is a story of courage, love, and hope during a time of war and rebuilding. Knowing that it’s based on the lives of the author’s parents makes it even more compelling.

 

About the Author

Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was elected to IWIC’s Hall of Fame and won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha, in Bloomington, Ind.

 

Contact Information

Website: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor

Twitter: https://twitter/aoppenlander

Blog: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com/blog

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annoppenlander/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34388334-surviving-the-fatherland?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Giveaway

Two autographed copies of ‘Surviving the Fatherland’

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The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Book Review & Giveaway: More Than a Soldier by D.M Annechino

Book Title: More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger’s Daring Escape From the Nazis
Author: D.M. Annechino
Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages
Genre: Historical Biography, WWII
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: April 2017
Tour dates: May 29 to June 16 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

 

Description

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old Angelo J. DiMarco enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read several books by DM Annechino, all murder mysteries, all very good. Since I already knew that I like his writing and I like historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading More Than a Soldier.

This story is about Angelo J. DiMarco, an actual soldier in World War II who started out working behind a desk but he didn’t feel like he was contributing to his country as much as he could so he became an Army Ranger. So he went from behind desk to the front lines voluntarily. Talk about a patriot!

More Than a Soldier was difficult to put down. Angelo faced so much in just a couple years, it proves that truth is stranger than fiction. Not only did he have to face the Germans on the front lines but he had malaria, was captured by the Germans, escaped and survived behind enemy lines for several months. He went through so much and still when he came home, all he wanted was a word from his father that he was proud of him. How sad is it that it took a war and near death for Angelo to finally hear the words he craved?

“You enter the Army with honor and a strong feeling of patriotism. You’re an indestructible force and nothing and nobody can stop you. But then you learn just how naive you are, that war is much more than a word that defines a conflict between nations. It’s a living, breathing predator, and its only goal is to devour your mind, body, and spirit.”

I definitely recommend More Than a Soldier. It’s full of war, death, heartbreak, survival, and history. 

 

Buy the Book: 




Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
Kirkus Reviews

Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.
The iRead Review

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Meet the Author

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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BOOK REVIEW TOUR:

May 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / giveaway
May 30 – Gabriel’s Wharf – review
May 30 – Books, Dreams, Life – review / giveaway
May 31 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
June 1   – Il Mio Tesoro – review
June 2   – NorthernMsw – review
June 5   – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
June 6   – Man of la Book – review / giveaway
June 6   – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway
June 7   – What Cathy Read Next – review / giveaway
June 8   – Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
June 9   – Olio by Marilyn – review / giveaway
June 12 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
June 13 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
June 14 – Leels Loves Books – review
June 15 – Nighttime Reading Center – review / giveaway
June 16 – The World As I See It – review / giveaway

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 Ends June 24

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Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald

Author: Betty MacDonald

Narrator: Heather Henderson

Length: 9 hours

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press⎮2015

Genre: Humor, Memoir

synopsis

When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall – through chaos and catastrophe – this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor.

A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on the American frontier.

buy-links

Buy on AudibleAmazon

author-bio

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, andThe 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.

narrator-bio

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.

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review

I chose to listen to the audiobook after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Egg and I is a delightful memoir about the first couple of years of Betty MacDonald’s marriage. Despite her misgivings, they bought a remote ranch on a mountain and started a chicken farm.

Even though the work was grueling and it was lonely, Betty kept her sense of humor and her husband loved the life they were living.

Readers nowadays may be offended by the way she talks about Indians but they need to keep in mind that this book was written in the 1940’s, and her view was accepted back then. She actually wrote that she hated the Indians. I’m not sure why she wrote that since she talked nicely about a couple of them later in the book. But I suggest not reading or listening to The Egg and I if you can’t get past that. It did rub me the wrong way but I know people talked like that 70 years ago and it was considered “okay,” so I looked past those comments and was still able to enjoy the book.

Another thing that stuck out as something that wouldn’t be accepted today was when they went to the fair and she put her baby in the truck to sleep and left her there to look at some things at the fair. Or when she left the baby lying with the dog when she went to care for the farm animals. Times sure have changed!

Betty MacDonald’s description of her neighbors, the Kettles tickled me. We lived in northeast Tennessee when I was a teenager and we often drove in the mountains and saw farms that looked like she described the Kettle’s home. My dad always commented how funny it was that there’d be a farm like that next to one that was really nice.

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. I especially liked Pa Kettle’s voice.

I enjoyed listening to the Egg and I and I hope to see the movie sometime.  Continue reading