The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald
Not only is Betty smart, hardworking, and hilarious, she’s also an amazing writer. You can tell she loves the written word as much as trees love sun and rain. She gets married to Bob and lovingly follows him on his quest. He wants to be a chicken farmer. That includes so much more than I ever thought it would.
The book is sectioned off in seasons, but Betty quickly describes her early childhood, and the important things she learned from her mother, father, and grandmother. But, no one warned her about how hard it would be to live on a working farm.
She and Bob buy a 40 acre plot with house, barn, etc. for only $450. That was a lot of money back then. They slowly added on to the property, which included chicken houses, and massive gardening. You can almost feel her aching muscles as she learns how to become self-sufficient.
The winter is a horrible time to be a farmer, and in Betty’s case, it’s even worse because she’s pregnant. In the spring things are no easier because she learns to hate even baby chickens. See chapter 9. She describes in verbose details weather, quirky people, gardening, pressure cookers, children, and wild animals. The 1930’s and 40’s were hard, and Betty is brutally honest in painting a picture of her life.
We have it so easy these days, with running water, toilets, heating, electricity, grocery stores, phones, and computers. We should never take these things for granted. If there is anything I learned from Betty it is definitely her work ethic and the ability to find the humor in any situation. She manages to look past the flaws in others and get down to business too. Keep everyone clean and fed. Read a few books. And don’t forget to take care of the chickens.
Read this book if you think your life is hard. It could be so much worse.