I stumbled upon this book blog while looking for something else: Lynne Murray’s “30 Years Ago Today: I had an orange notebook.” Here’s part of her article about “Motherhood: humor, sadness, artistry, magic & grace“:
Shirley Jackson is arguably a better writer than my favorite domestic goddess essayist, Betty MacDonald who wrote: The Egg and I, The Plague and I, Onions in the Stew, Anybody Can Do Anything, and um, a bunch of children’s books…
MacDonald was more of a comic genius. (She created the unforgettable Ma and Pa Kettle, based on farming neighbors in Washington state.)
Jackson and MacDonald both address what someone has called “the visceral shock of motherhood” and the disillusionment of the drudgery of family life from a woman’s point of view. I lent out my copy of The Egg and I, so I can’t quote you the passage where McDonald describes the shock of her swift descent from bride to wife. She made it funny, but you could see why her first marriage ended in divorce as she detailed her transition between being a sought-after bride to living with a husband who considered her a “bad sport” or inept because she didn’t share his knack for and joy in the drudgery of farm life. I remember reading it at 12 or so, and thinking, hmmm . . . men, marriage, maybe there’s something there that the romantic stories don’t mention.