Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment: Fluff

Before there were blogs there was Ladies Home Journal, where witty lady writers published witty little essays about their domestic troubles.  Today's assignment, The Snake has all the Lines, by Jean Kerr brings to mind many of the blogs I read.  Who among us knew that when we set out to document our lives in the latest high tech medium, we were emulating the style of a woman of our grandmother's generation?

Jean Kerr was a mid-century playwright and humorist whose book Please don't Eat the Daisies was made into a Doris Day movie.  The Snake has all the Lines is a collection of funny little essays, mainly about middle class married life.  Yes, it's dated, but some of these essays are strong enough to transcend the time and style barrier.  My favorite is "When I was Queen of the May" in which she recounts a particularly mortifying May Crowning ceremony.  I'm Catholic and a graduate of traditional Catholic schools that celebrated May Crowning and I had a mother who refused to cooperate with the edicts of the nuns, so this story really appealed to me, but I'm pretty sure that non-Catholics would find it funny as well.

This is one of those books that takes little time to read and doesn't tax the brain.  Sometimes we need that.

10 comments:

  1. I ADORE JEAN KERR! If you haven't yet, make sure to find a copy of Penny Candy. It's another collection of her essays that is delightful. Thanks for the heads up - I wasn't aware of The Snake Has All the Lines.

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  2. Darn - it's not an ebook. So much for instant gratification...

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  3. SC, I will look for Penny Candy. I'm pretty sure my mom had a copy of it when I was growing up.

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  4. I would bring you mine (when I visit JenontheEdge), but I think a friend has it. If you can't find one, I'll see if I can get mine back.

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  5. I really liked 'Please Don't Eat the Daisies." Very clever little pastiches.

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  6. As one who both blogs AND writes for LHJ, I daresay the quality of the latter has (sadly) declined since the good old days of Jean Kerr....

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  7. I grew up reading (and re-reading) Jean Kerr. Keep an eye out for Betty MacDonald, who wrote not only The Egg and I but a handful of others, and is my favorite author of all time. She made me want to write! I almost always have one of her books on the nightstand to cheer myself up, even though I've practically memorized them all.

    The race to Amazon for old Jean Kerr titles is now officially on!

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  8. I read her as a kid, also! The Egg and I is wonderful, too.

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  9. I READ the Daisies book! Kerr and Bombeck were the bomb!

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